Evan_Gaensbauer comments on Optimal level of hierarchy for effective altruism - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 28 March 2018 07:57:51AM 2 points [-]

It seems to me the organically occurring hierarchy of EA is with organizations representing a language, then regional/national organizations below that, and then the local groups. This model makes sense as more EA movement organizations professionalize in countries around the world. Switzerland and Austria have EA organizations running things in each of those countries subordinate to the EAF for the whole German-speaking world. There is an EA Australia organization, Rethink Charity in Canada, and EA London and other British organizations which run lots of stuff in England while CEA is looking at things on a global scale.

Of course, CEA could be the top-level organization, the first to span multiple languages, as its sponsoring the development of EA in China. Of course in countries like France, the Czech Republic, India, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway, there has been much independent development of national organization lately. So it doesn't seem like one organization would fill some unoccupied 'global organization' slot yet.

I've tried thinking of models of EA as a network like this. A difficult thing is accounting for all the EA organizations which work on particular causes, or have a particular background, and are correlated with geography, but not in a way you could tell by just looking at the map at the EA Hub. You'd have to know the history and culture of EA as well. We have that, but it doesn't mesh well with the model thinking we're so fond of these days.

I think EA is on the precipice of some major changes to it as a network. Maybe they're already taking place, and we haven't tracked them yet. Because it's still such a young and dynamic community, EA changes so fast our models of how and why it's changing become outdated quickly. I've been thinking that strategically growing and developing EA depends on a better, common group-level self-awareness. We don't have a good enough map of the current trajectories the movement is on. None of us may be steering this ship as much as we think, and if we don't know where we are, we won't know how to orient ourselves toward our destination.