Peter_Hurford comments on Animal Equality showed that advocating for diet change works. But is it cost-effective? - Effective Altruism Forum

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (22)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 08 June 2018 05:18:50AM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure that these are analogous enough to directly compare them in this way.

Every time we do cost-effectiveness analysis we need to make philosophical judgment calls about what we value. I agree that these "$ per thing" measures can be crude and are meant more for illustrative purposes than as a rigorous, binding, rationally compelling comparison. People could feel free to disagree and think that pig years saved are far more important (perhaps due to preference utilitarianism, or thinking the suffering averted is far more intense, etc.).

Despite this, we are faced with a genuine choice here and need some way to navigate that choice, even if we may do that with different values and philosophical backgrounds in mind.

Especially the part where video outperforms VR possibly due to a negative multiplier on VR.

I'm not sure how seriously I would take that proposition -- it appears to largely be guesswork. This study did not find any statistically significant difference in either direction between 360 VR and 2D video and both Faunalytics and Animal Equality leave open the possibility that novelty effects not captured in this study may still make 360 VR more compelling. Given my assessment that they're roughly equal in cost per person reached, I would not try to make a case for 2D video over 360 VR.

Comment author: Lanrian 31 July 2018 08:06:04PM 0 points [-]

In this case, the text states that "Against Malaria Foundation can avert a year of human suffering from malaria for $39[4]", which is just false. Going by the footnote, the $39 is the cost of extending a human life by one year. I'd recommend writing that in the main text, instead, if you want people to be able to disagree with your judgement calls.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 June 2018 04:38:18PM *  0 points [-]

Despite this, we are faced with a genuine choice here and need some way to navigate that choice, even if we may do that with different values and philosophical backgrounds in mind.

Of course. But we're comparing two such different things here that I wouldn't claim things like, ". . . an estimate of $310 per pig year saved . . . which is worse than human-focused interventions even from a species neutral perspective" - to me, that's much worse than saying things like, "it costs $300 to provide biweekly CBT for a depressed Kenyan for a month and $50 to provide a daily hot meal for a homeless American for a month, so the former is worse than the latter even from a nationality neutral perspective", which you wouldn't say.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 11 June 2018 05:56:20PM 1 point [-]

I disagree with your analogy. I do think it's meaningful to say that I would prefer human-focused interventions at that price tradeoff and that it isn't because of speciesist attitudes. So they're at least comparable enough for people to know what I'm talking about.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 June 2018 06:32:43PM 0 points [-]

It's meaningful to have an opinion one way or the other, but it's far from clear that one is better was my point. Like, I'd imagine people in this community would disagree a lot on the value of CBT vs hot meals in my example, so I wouldn't just claim that one is worse than the other because it costs more.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 June 2018 06:44:24PM 0 points [-]

Let me try another example. GiveWell wouldn't just say "AMF saves the life of a child under 5 for ~$x. GiveDirectly doubles consumption for one person for 50 years for >$x. Therefore, AMF is a better marginal choice." Not without justifying or at least acknowledging the underlying trade-off there.