—The headings will probably be removed in the final iteration.
My outline from elsewhere:
well, what do i actually have to say for the OB post about CP???
- short description of what the CP wiki is, and what ive accomplished so far
- results so far… (which are unimpressive)
- pointing to vipul’s post about his decision to continue ob. and how alexander berger found ob was one of the top causes.
- also something about what cp is, and who all the other ppl working on it are, what their approaches are, what my own approach is (well, what is my approach?)
Introduction/What is CP?
Since the beginning of October 2014, I’ve been interested in cause prioritization, the problem of trying to find what the best causes to work on are. Superficially, this sounds very similar to what organizations like GiveWell and Giving What We Can traditionally do regarding charity evaluation. However, as explained by GiveWell, traditional charity evaluation has been focused on fairly narrow areas: those that FIXME. In contrast, cause prioritization does not shy away from more speculative causes. Actually GiveWell also has its own project on cause prioritization, known as the Open Philanthropy Project (formerly GiveWell Labs). As GiveWell explains in its page on the Open Philanthropy Project:
Historically, GiveWell has sought evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded charities for individual donors to support. We’ve looked for unusually straightforward, evidence-backed value propositions such as “$X delivers Y bednets, which saves Z lives.”
More recently, we have been broadening our work via the Open Philanthropy Project (formerly GiveWell Labs), which we work on in partnership with Good Ventures. This project looks for the best ways to accomplish good with philanthropy - no matter what form and what sector. Through this project, we are open - among other things - to funding political advocacy, scientific research, startup organizations with no track record, projects with no precedent, and projects with extremely long time horizons.
It may seem fairly obvious which broad causes are the most important, but there are arguments for the case that CP is one of the most neglected and important causes:
FIXME: quote GW post about how funders practically ignore cause selection
FIXME: quote 80kH on CP
What am I doing?/What is CP Wiki?/What has it done so far?
Here, I want to
Holden Karnofsky has written that when he first began looking at the life sciences, he had to “immerse” himself in the subject:
Because this area is so different from anything GiveWell has looked at before, I’ve initially tried to “immerse” myself in it: I’ve taken opportunities to have extended and low-stakes interactions with scientists and learn a little bit of the basic knowledge underlying life sciences, without having specific questions or goals in mind.
In a sense, this is what I have been doing, except with cause prioritization as a whole, and, more generally, with effective altruism (seeing that I’m fairly new to the movement).
How does this all tie into Open Borders?
Vipul Naik, in “Why I’m sticking with open borders, or, plucking the not-so-low-hanging fruit”, quotes Alexander Berger’s back-of-the-envelope calculations, which show that labor mobility—i.e. open borders—is remarkably high in terms of returns.
Of course, the total gains of a cause isn’t the only thing to examine. In fact, it seems common to discuss causes in terms of their importance, tractability, and neglectedness
- one can make the case that as long as people on OB are committed to doing the most good in the world, they should be cognizant of how they stack up against other causes, and be vigilant to other opportunities to do good.