Have you heard about the new “effective cars” movement? Passionate young philosophy students from top universities have invented a revolutionary new idea, now sweeping the intellectual world: cars that get you from home to the office or store and back again as reliably, comfortably, and fast as possible. As opposed to using cars used as shrub removers, pots for plants, conversation pits, or paperweights. While effective car activists cannot design, repair, or even operate cars, they are pioneering ways to prioritize car topics.
I'm not an EA and I tend to cause more harm than good to my fellow men.
But I'm still surprised how you treat poverty here. It's not a binary thing that is either "fixed" or "not fixed"; poverty comes in degrees. You have provided no evidence that private charity can't shift the degrees.
Also government can't solve poverty either without causing other costs and harms.
Also governments aren't singletons unless you have one world government that is robust against rebellion. You have got the term wrong.
Poverty is a political problem
I'm inclined to think (although I lack any familiarity with EA beyond what's readily encountered online) that EA will become a political movement. Just as the rather apolitical ("nonideological") 60s youth movement rapidly became subordinated to organizations run by middle-aged Stalinists--adulating the geriatric Mao--I would bet that EA will become subordinated to some established political tendency--likely of a neoliberal variety. Pure speculation: after all, the real importance of EA scarcely compares with that of the old Students for a Democratic Society.
[Arch supporters of EA (say Robert Wiblin) are known to consistently take the side of the corporations and to preach open borders.]
Again, this is no flat denial of the value of "applying evidence and careful reasoning to figure out how to do better at charity." It is a question of the kind of evidence that's germane. It is an ignoramus position, but it isn't nearly as ignoranus as would be contradicting the indicted vacuous standard.
[That is to say, Alyssa and company are the ones "moving the goalposts."]
the CEO of Charity Navigator qualifies as an example of "substantial people worthy of respect"
That's of course true. What is actually false, however, is that the CEO of Charity Navigator "opposes applying evidence and careful reasoning to figure out how to do better at charity." Alyssa ignored his preference for using the head as well as the heart--the head being, I assume, hard evidence and careful reasoning.
The Effective Altruists' difference with this CEO is might be that they advocate using the head exclusively. That seems what the CEO is charging. But that wasn't the claim under Robin's discussion. I don't even know whether EAs really go that far and, certainly, doing so isn't feasible.
I learned about many previous youth movements in Strauss & Howe's book Generations.
And their core position is close to the usual one for young groups throughout history: old codgers have run things badly, and so a new generation deserves to take over.
Have there really been youth movements throughout history? They seem to require a certain idealization of youth that developed in the 20th century. (Autonomous youth movements should be distinguished from efforts of old people to organize youth, e.g. Boy Scouts.)
I agree that EA has the earmarks of a youth movement, but the only prototype I can think of is sixties radicalism. [If the sixties are an indication, character as a youth movement is transitory, a blip really.]
The urge to moneyball could, at least in theory, be applied profitably beyond baseball.
Social categories like "youth movement" are defined by prototypes and correlates. Such movements do not usually try to change ALL social habits, they usually point to older thinkers in support of their claims, and they need not be "liberal" as opposed to "conservative." I don't mean to suggest that youth movements are generally bad, but I do mean to suggest that a simple theory of their nature helps to predict when they tend to be good at what.
I think some of the psychology described by Robin Hansondoesn't match EAs very well.
We are idealistic and young. But it's not true that we are throwing out all the old stuff. What 'old codgers' are we enthusiastic about and building on?
* JPAL, Copenhagen Consensus and RCTs* Cost effectiveness focussed economists, econometrics and health economics* Behavioural and moral psychology* Some parts of analytic moral philosophy dating back to the 18th century* Old physicists/science fiction authors/futurists.
The speakers at EAG this year were notably older and more experienced than ever before as we get more credibility and access to such people. There are many existing groups and academics we like.
What are some of the concrete suggestions 80,000 Hours makes?
* Go into management consulting to gain relevant skills for your long term future career;* Think about gaining career capital and skills earlier on, expecting to have most direct impact late in your career;* Work to get into a foundation and somewhat improve their grant-making;* Go into politics and focus on important/neglected/tractable policy areas;* Do an economics PhD and go work at the World Bank or an aid agency;* Go into high earning careers and give money to good causes.
In some ways these are *conservative* incrementalist approaches and we are often hit from the angle that we are not nearly revolutionary enough.
Compared to other young idealists EAs are less enthusiastic about 'remaking things from scratch'. Most of us are pretty content to let market capitalism run and improve people's wellbeing to a great extent, and then use a minority of highly-altruistic and effectiveness focussed people and donors to fill in the worst gaps that it leaves (the stuff that's left out on the tail of effectiveness by the current 'system').
Maybe that's a huge mistake, but we can't very well be both revolutionaries and reactionaries at the same time.
To an outsider unfamiliar with charity, I'd say the statement does come across as vacuous at first. It's reasonable to assume that if millions of people are working on a problem, that they're doing so in a mostly productive fashion.
I wouldn't consider it unusual that non-profit entities aren't as responsive to the demands of the market as for-profit entities. I would consider it quite predictable.
Why would you start your post off with the "white and wealthy" calumny? If you are interested in making contributions make them. Don't discount the contributions of others based on some arbitrary and artificial concept of their "otherness".
"While old people have more power, wealth, grit, experience, task-specific knowledge, and crystalized intelligence, young people have more fluid intelligence, potential, passion, idealism, and a clean slate." See what he did there...he complimented us old farts so he could drop in a bald faced assertion as if it was an undisputed truth. Very sneaky...
I'm liking this EA stuff...rather than see this as a young-old dichotomy I would suggest an engineer-liberal arts spectrum or a Myers Briggs "thinking" - "judging" axis.
There are definitely some people who actively oppose "applying evidence and careful reasoning to figure out how to do better at charity" but a bigger problem is probably people just not caring much about it. Even if most people wouldn't argue that it's wrong to weigh charitable opportunities against each other and figure out which ones do more good, they generally don't actually bother to do it. Arguing that it's very important to apply evidence and careful reasoning to charity isn't vacuous at all if most people are acting as though it isn't true.
Generally- what's the percentage of "movements" that are not also "youth movements"
CC was targeted towards governments (recommending interventions not charities), and governments have made use of cost-benefit analysis in a wide range of circumstances.
Consumer-focused charity evaluation based on impact is rather new.