Comment author: Katja_Grace 13 December 2017 08:51:41PM 5 points [-]

Do you have quantitative views on the effectiveness of donating these organizations, that could be compared to other actions? (Or could you point me to any of the links go to something like that?) Sorry if I missed them.

Comment author: Stefan_Schubert 27 October 2017 12:39:10AM *  12 points [-]

Katja Grace gives a related [edited - said "the same" - see Katja's comment below] argument here:

"When I was younger, I thought altruism was about the most promising way to make the world better. There were extremely cheap figures around for the cost to save a human life, and people seemed to not care. So prima facie it seemed that the highly effective giving opportunities were well worked out, and the main problem was that people tended to give $2 to such causes occasionally, rather than giving every spare cent they had, that wasn’t already earmarked for something more valuable than human lives.

These days I am much more optimistic about improving effectiveness than altruism, and not just because I’m less naive about cost-effectiveness estimates."

She goes on to list several reasons, including greater past success and greater neglect.

Comment author: Katja_Grace 27 October 2017 04:23:47AM 7 points [-]

It seems worth distinguishing 'effectiveness' in the sense of personal competence (as I guess is meant in the first case, e.g. 'reasonably sharp') and 'effectiveness' in the sense of trying to choose interventions by cost-effectiveness.

Also remember that selecting people to encourage in particular directions is a subset of selecting interventions. It may be that 'E not A' people are more likely to be helpful than 'A not E' people, but that chasing either group is less helpful than doing research on E that is helpful for whichever people already care about it. I think I have stronger feelings about E-improving interventions overall being good than about which people are more promising allies.

Comment author: arrowind 31 May 2015 05:50:07PM 0 points [-]

Isn't that a common distinction among philosophers? I recall that there's a technical name for it.

Comment author: Katja_Grace 02 June 2015 04:23:29AM 1 point [-]

Yeah, and among common intuitions I think. But I thought EAs were mostly consequentialists, so the intended role of obligations is not obvious to me.

Comment author: Katja_Grace 28 May 2015 04:22:24PM 3 points [-]

I'm curious about the implicit framework where some things are obligatory and some things are choices.


Impact Purchase: Round 2

Round 2 of the  impact purchase  is over. At the deadline, we had twelve submissions. This round, we are buying a certificate for 1/70th Ryan Carey and Brayden McLean's founding of and involvement in EA Melbourne during 2013, for $1000. The deadline for applications to round 3 is May 25th. Apply ... Read More
Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 10 April 2015 04:51:07AM 1 point [-]

You didn't explain in your post your rationale for not purchasing Joao Fabiano's work. For what reasons did you rule it out? Difficulty in evaluation?

Comment author: Katja_Grace 10 April 2015 03:30:03PM 3 points [-]

We evaluated all of the projects other than the three I specifically mentioned not evaluating. Sorry for not writing up the other evaluations - we just didn't have time. We bought the ones that gave us the most impact per dollar, according to our evaluations (and based on the prices people wanted for their work). So we didn't purchase Joao's work this round because we calculated that it was somewhat less cost-effective than the things we did purchase, given the price. We may still purchase it in a later round.


Impact purchase first round results

(Crossposted from The Impact Purchase ) The first round of the 2015 Impact Purchase had eight submissions, including research, translation, party planning, mentoring, teaching and money to GiveDirectly. We expected the evaluations would have to be rough, and would like to emphasize that they really were rough: we had to consider lots of things very quickly to get through... Read More

The economy of weirdness

It is  often   said   that  you should spend your weirdness budget wisely. You should wear a gender-appropriate suit, and follow culture-appropriate sports, and use good grammar, and be non-specifically spiritual, and support moderate policies, and not have any tattoos around either of your eyes. And then on the odd occasion, when it happens to come up,... Read More

When should an Effective Altruist be vegetarian?

Crossposted from Meteuphoric I have lately noticed several people wondering why more  Effective Altruists  are not vegetarians. I am personally not a vegetarian because I don't think it is an effective way to be altruistic. As far as I can tell the fact that many EAs are not vegetarians is surprising to some because they think 'animals... Read More
Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 17 October 2014 12:21:37PM *  0 points [-]

They care more about the people around them than those far away, or they care more about some kinds of problems than others, and they care about how things are done, not just the outcome.

It seems to me that part of effective altruism has been not just increasing the effectiveness of altruism by recommending people change their actions, or where their philanthropic dollars go, to interventions with higher leverage, but also pointing out that people would be more effective if they changed their values. For example, Peter Singer's 'expanding circle', meat-free diet advocacy, etc.

People don't like to be told they need to change their values, or that they should change their values, or that the world would be a better place if they had some values that they didn't have already. Really, one's values tend to be near the core of one's social identity, so an attack on values can be perceived as an the attack on the self. The obvious example of this is the friend you know who doesn't like vegetarians for pointing out how bad eating meat is, while that friend doesn't bring up any particular philosophical objections, but just doesn't like being called out for doing something they've always been raised to think of as normal.

Comment author: Katja_Grace 08 November 2014 10:14:09AM 2 points [-]

Changing one's values does not more effectively promote the values one has initially, so it seems one should be averse to it. I think the expanding circle case is more complicated - the advocates of a wider circle are trying to convince the others that those others are mistaken about their own existing values, and that by consistency they must care about some entities they think they don't care about. This is why the phenomenon looks like an expanding circle - points just outside a circle look a lot like points just inside it, so consistency pushes the circle outwards (this doesn't explain why the circle expands rather than contracting).

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