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Gondolinian comments on Cash transfers are not necessarily wealth transfers - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Gondolinian 02 December 2017 03:00:12PM 2 points [-]

Hmm. I wonder how to reconcile this post with this TED talk:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C30bJBcM_0c

Basically, the TED talk argues that more bureaucracy is very important for economic development because it allows people to invest in various ways with higher confidence that they will actually see the returns. However, as this post describes, bureaucracy can also fall into various rent-seeking traps that waste resources without any real benefit.

Perhaps one way of reconciling is holding that meta-bureaucracy is important, such as standardized testing, performance evaluations, etc.?

Comment author: BenHoffman 02 December 2017 09:56:36PM 1 point [-]

I think the thing to do is try to avoid thinking of "bureaucracy" as a homogeneous quantity, and instead attend to the details of institutions involved. Of course, as a foreigner with respect to every country but one's own, this is going to be difficult to evaluate when giving abroad. This is one of the many reasons why giving effectively on a global scale is hard, and why it's so important to have information feedback of the kind GiveDirectly is working on. Long-term follow-up seems really important too, and even then there's going to be some substantial justified uncertainty.