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How accurately does anyone know the global distribution of income?

Cross posted from the 80,000 Hours blog .   How much should you believe the numbers in charts like this? People in the effective altruism community often refer to the global income distribution to make various points: The richest people in the world are many times richer than the poor. People... Read More
8

In some cases, if a problem is harder humanity should invest more in it, but you should be less inclined to work on it

One criteria in the 80,000 Hours problem framework is 'solvability'. All else equal, it is more effective to dedicate yourself to a problem if a larger percentage of the problem will be solved by each additional person working on it. So far so good. However, this can lead to something counterintuitive. Here is an... Read More
27

Philosophical Critiques of Effective Altruism by Prof Jeff McMahan

Prof Jeff MacMahan  is White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University - this article of his will soon appear in The Philosopher's Magazine. I think it's both insightful and entertaining, and appreciate McMahan taking the time to write it. In light of the fact that Prof McMahan recently made the... Read More
11

Why don't many effective altruists work on natural resource scarcity?

If you ask a random sample of young educated people what they are most concerned about, future 'resource scarcity' - especially natural resources - often rates highly. About 10% of the people I have coached for 80,000 Hours have expressed strong interest in this cause. In this survey of EU... Read More
11

Let's conduct a survey on the quality of MIRI's implementation

Many people here, myself included, are very concerned about the risks from rapidly improving artificial general intelligence (AGI). A significant fraction of people in that camp give to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute , or recommend others do so. Unfortunately, for those who lack the necessary technical expertise, this is... Read More
14

The most persuasive writing neutrally surveys both sides of an argument

A piece of advice for people posting here and elsewhere: what you write will be more convincing and higher quality if you set out to survey the considerations on both sides of a disagreement. This is because readers will be able to weigh the arguments on either side against one... Read More
13

How you can contribute to the broader EA research project

A common request I get working at 80,000 Hours asks how people can contribute to effective altruist related research while students, or working in another career. I often find this hard to answer because I don't have an suitable project to hand. All of the research groups have found that... Read More
20

If tech progress might be bad, what should we tell people about it?

I want to draw attention to a tension effective altruists have not dealt with: Almost all of our written output takes as a strong assumption that economic growth and technological advancement are good things. Many intellectuals think this is actually unclear. Why might economic growth or technological advancement be neutral,... Read More
7

Should effective altruists work on taxation of the very rich?

A criticism effective altruism has faced is that, by encouraging individual donations, we weaken support for obligatory taxation on the rich to fund alleviation of poverty, public goods, and other valuable projects. I think the criticism is misguided. While we encourage individual donations, the vast majority of us would also... Read More
13

The Important/Neglected/Tractable framework needs to be applied with care

The Important/Neglected/Tractable (INT) framework has become quite popular over the last two years. I believe it was first used by GiveWell for their cause and intervention investigations. Since then Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours have adopted it with the addition of 'personal fit' as a further criterion, and... Read More

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