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Effective Altruism

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Will be going off to my dacha this week so probably not much poasting.

bannon-purged

Bannonade

This week’s events have been dominated by the Charlotteville clashes, and the resulting cyberpurge of the Alt Right and mass felling of Confederate monuments.

Now comes news of the resignation of Steve Bannon.

It will certainly be fun to see the 666D chess theorizing on this one. T he man himself, at any rate, isn’t bothering: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over.”

This just leaves Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka as representatives of the populist wave that brought Trump to power. All the others have been purged.

Meanwhile, power has drifted towards Wall Street/Goldman Sachs globalists, the Kushner-Trumps, and a triumvirate of warhawk generals (Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly; NatSec Advisor Gen. McMaster; Secretary of Defence Gen. Mattis).

In foreign policy terms, I suppose the main saving grace of this administration – as opposed to an alternate history Hillary Clinton’s – is that Trump has alienated much of the rest of the world. Acording to a recent PEW poll, most countries trust Trump even less than Putin, who needless to say has some major PR problems of his own.

pew-poll-trump-putin

This was, perhaps, unfortunate back when America First was the order of the day, but now that the US is ruled by a nepotistic junta guided by Kushner’s vision, the world’s skepticism towards Trump might become a blessing in disguise, limiting the damage that the people around him can do in the next three years.

Main

ea_qualia

* Scott Alexander covers Effective Altruism Global 2017:

I got to talk to people from the Qualia Research Institute, who point out that everyone else is missing something big: the hedonic treadmill. People have a certain baseline amount of happiness. Fix their problems, and they’ll be happy for a while, then go back to baseline. The only solution is to hack consciousness directly, to figure out what exactly happiness is – unpack what we’re looking for when we describe some mental states as having higher positive valence than others – and then add that on to every other mental state directly. This isn’t quite the dreaded wireheading, the widely-feared technology that will make everyone so doped up on techno-super-heroin (or direct electrical stimulation of the brain’s pleasure centers) that they never do anything else. It’s a rewiring of the brain that creates a “perpetual but varied bliss” that “reengineers the network of transition probabilities between emotions” while retaining the capability to do economically useful work. Partly this last criteria is to prevent society from collapsing, but the ultimate goal is:

…the possibility of a full-fledged qualia economy: when people have spare resources and are interested in new states of consciousness, anyone good at mining the state-space for precious gems will have an economic advantage. In principle the whole economy may eventually be entirely based on exploring the state-space of consciousness and trading information about the most valuable contents discovered doing so.

If you’re wondering whether these people’s research involves taking huge amounts of drugs – well, read their blog. My particular favorites are this essay on psychedelic cryptography ie creating messages that only people on certain drugs can read, and this essay on hyperbolic geometry in DMT experiences.

* Wired: Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA.

So this is how Tyranids beat Necrons.

wongupparaj-memory-tests

* Wongupparaj, Peera – 2017 – The Flynn effect for verbal and visuospatial short-term and working memory: A cross-temporal meta-analysis

Based on the findings from a cross-temporal meta-analysis using 1754 independent samples (n = 139,677), the Flynn effect was observed across a 43-year period, with changes here expressed in terms of correlations (coefficients) between year of publication and mean memory test scores. Specifically, the Flynn effect was found for forward digit span (r = 0.12, p < 0.01) and forward Corsi block span (r = 0.10, p < 0.01). Moreover, an anti-Flynn effect was found for backward digit span (r = − 0.06, p < 0.01) and for backward Corsi block span (r = − 0.17, p < 0.01). Overall, the results support co-occurrence theories that predict simultaneous secular gains in specialized abilities and declines in g.

James Thompson review: Working memory bombshell

* Davies, Gill – 2017 – Ninety-nine independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function include genes associated with brain health and structure (N = 280,360)

We found 9,714 genome-wide significant SNPs (P<5 x 10-8) in 99 independent loci… Genetic association results predicted up to 4% of general cognitive function variance in independent samples. There was significant genetic overlap between general cognitive function and information processing speed, as well as many health variables including longevity.

The pace of progress in this sphere is blistering, with major papers published nigh near every month.

* Rabbit reacts to Trump’s Alt Left smear.

(The traditional Alt Left considers itself to be a subset of the Alt Right that but with less thot hate and more rocket ships and radical life extension).

* Noah Carl – 2017 – Cognitive ability and socio-political beliefs and attitudes.

This thesis looks like a very solid, comprehensive overview of the subject.

Russia

* New York Times: The engines in North Korea’s newest ICBM’s have been pinpointed to the Yuzhmash missile factory in the Ukraine.

/r/worldnews comment:

After doing some of my own investigation (thank you Google), I am of the opinion that this story is well-supported by multiple sources of evidence. The engine that NK has been using since Sept 2016 is definitely related to the Soviet engine that this factory built until the 1990′s. This factory still has these engines, and officially continued maintaining them until mid-2015. North Korean spies/officials were detained by Russia in 2011-2012 when they attempted to enter Ukraine to head to this factory. Ukraine fell apart economically and politically in the 2013-2016 period, and this factory announced it would go bankrupt in early 2015, but then somehow managed to survive. Ukraine has a long history of substantial black market arms trading, some of their rockets have ended up in Iran, Syria, and Pakistan. The best Soviet engineers were stationed in Eastern Ukraine during the Cold War for mainly political reasons (most Soviet leaders were ethnically Ukrainian). As for the engine/missile itself, the trajectory of the launches are similar to tests in the Soviet Union during the 70′s-80′s. The design is very similar in the photos that NK has shown. The dimension of the rocket body and the stages are almost a mirror image of the 1980′s examples. US intelligence officials, and the former CIA head, hinted that the US intelligence community was “caught offguard” by the “unlikely pace of the NK missile program” because of “certain factors”. That seems to indicate that the CIA believed (as of late 2016) that NK had somehow received foreign help that substantially boosted the program. Finally, NK has utilized similar tactics to gain a hold of short and medium range missile technology in the 1990′s. They worked closely with Central Asia, Pakistan, and Ukraine to boost their Ulan missile program. Let’s not forget that NK is well-known for its very savvy black market program and unofficial spy network. There were even NK officials found in Syria back in 2015, most likely eyeing the S-300 missiles that Russia brought there.

piketty-russia-inequality

* Thomas Piketty et al. – 2017 – From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia, 1905-2016

Uses his methods from Capital in the 21st Century to calculate historical inequality in Russia, one of his conclusions is that the welfare of the median Russia hasn’t budged relative to 1989.

There is a point to Bershidsky’s critique that inequality in the USSR was primarily expressed in terms of access, not income differentials, so making direct comparisons with capitalist countries are questionable.

* Latest Navalny investigation: The son of Putin’s spokesman Peskov, Nikolay Chole, lived as hoodlum chav in the UK, with convictions and prison time for stealing cell phones with his Black and Pakistani gangmates; gets luxury car collection, horses on returning to Russia.

* Apart from all his other faults, Alexey Navalny is also a console peasant. Sad!

* Kirill Nesterov, my partner on the ROGPR podcast, has produced two (Russian-language) videos:

Misc

* Steve Sailer: Is India the world’s most reactionary civilization?

* Nicholas Nassim Taleb: The insidious racism of Mary Beard and the “diversity” operators

* Some baizuo: Beyond the pale: China’s cheerful racists

To many Chinese, ideas about racial hierarchies are not outdated anathema but unquestioned belief.

In Britain, a politician who uses a defunct idiom like ‘nigger in the woodpile’ loses the whip. In China, racism is a standard undercurrent of public debate. A few months ago, Pan Qinglin, a Tianjin politician, announced to reporters that he had found out how to ‘solve the problem of the black population in Guangdong’ — a province with a small amount of African migration. Warning that the new arrivals brought drugs, sexual assault and infectious diseases, he urged local policy-makers to tighten controls to prevent China turning ‘from a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country’. …

If China wants to realise its aspiration of replacing America as the country the world looks up to, it will need to sort out its race problem. It is an issue which fuels unrest at home, and damages the country’s reputation abroad. Xi Jinping has talked about a ‘Chinese dream’ — let’s hope it exports tolerance, not racism.

map-europe-trust

* % Europeans that say that generally most people can be trusted. Belorussia can into Hajnal Line!

* Nature: China’s embrace of embryo selection raises thorny questions. (Can anyone spell them out to me?).

* James Thompson: Google Culture Wars (if anyone is still interested in the James Damore affair)

USA

This is really just about the continuing fallout from Charlottesville.

faceberg-future

* NYT: Amateur Sleuths Aim to Identify Charlottesville Marchers, but Sometimes Misfire.

The intensity of the meltdowns is something to behold. I have seen people disowning their children/parents/siblings just for supporting the racist/fascist Trump. Really hard to understand this mindset.

sjws-never-relent For instance, the father of Peter Tefft, a participant in the Unite the Right rally, went so far as to write a public letter denouncing and disowning his son. Not that this saved him from the SJW horde, which began to ask questions about the family’s responsibility for the son’s racism.

His sister, BTW, is a pot-smoking lesbian anarchist. One can perhaps imagine why he radicalized.

sjws-report-pharmacist It’s hard to be surprised after this, but perhaps the most striking case of Charlottesville Derangement Sundrome I found is a man with self-evident mental problems thinking about reporting his pharmacist for Nazism at /r/politics.

The patient’s reasons for suspicion? Because his pharmacist has a “1776 tattoo and I think maybe an 88 one too, he’s pale and blue eyed and has shaved his head.”

This was apparently an open and shut case according to the denizens of /r/politics: “Get his ass fired!”

The irony that they were singling out someone for persecution on the basis of his skin color flew right over their heads.

No wonder more and more people are writing about the potential of US Civil War II.

But keep things in perspective – the US doesn’t have the ethno-religious fragmentation of Syria or sharp ideological gradient of the Ukraine, and casualties to date have been far lower even than in the 1970/80s terror campaigns of fringe Communist groups in Europe and Japan.

* Audacious Epigone suggests the Alt Right adopt the Maltese Cross of the Crusaders instead of the Nazi swastika.

american-soldiers-support-separation* In response to Jeffrey Goldberg’s strange claim that Saving Private Ryan was about “a group of very aggressive alt-left protesters invading a beach without a permit,” Timofey Pnin points out that American GI’s were hardcore Alt Right by today’s standards.

More on the Cyberpurge

* Matt Forney: Night Of The Digital Knives: Silicon Valley Launches Biggest Internet Censorship Purge In History

* Jason Reza Jorjani, one of the three main people behind AltRight.com (the other two are Richard Spencer and Daniel Friberg), is resigning from the Alt Right to focus on creating an Iranian nationalist party in exile:

What this also means is that from this moment onward my responsibilities to the cause of liberating Iran from the Islamic Republic have dramatically increased. As I see it, we have several years to form the nucleus of a new regime, before rootless globalists and their Islamist pawns succeed in steering the collapse of the Islamic Republic in a direction that further erodes Iran’s territorial integrity and aborts its cultural rebirth.

* Greg Johnson has compiled the most comprehensive list of shuttenings I have seen to date:

  • Counter-Currents has been booted by PayPal and our Facebook page has been deleted.
  • Both Red Ice servers were hacked, as were the site owners’ Twitter accounts, and still have not recovered.
  • VDare, AltRight.com, and AmRen were bounced from PayPal.
  • VDare’s conference next April has been shut down by the venue.
  • TRS was taken down by their webhosting company, but got a new host and were back online in 3 hours.
  • Mike Enoch was banned for the fourth time from Twitter.
  • KickStarter, GoFundMe, and IndieGoGo have all vowed to shut down campaigns related to White Nationalist concerns.
  • Pax Dickinson’s Twitter has been shut down.
  • Hatreon is offline.
  • PolNewsForever’s Twitter has been shut down.
  • The Daily Stormer has been targeted with massive DDOS attacks.
  • The Daily Stormer domain registration was dropped by GoDaddy, transferred to Google, and then seized by Google.
  • The Daily Stormer discord server has been shut down.
  • The Altright.com discord server has been shut down.
  • Vanguard America’s WordPress and Facebook accounts have been shut down.
  • Spotify has removed 27 “hate” bands as defined by the SPLC.
  • GoFundMe has taken down campaigns to help James Fields.
  • RootBocks has been taken down by its hosting company, but is back online.
  • Xurious has been removed from Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
  • Daniel Friberg and Christopher Dulny, both Swedes, have been barred from entering the United States because of their presence at Unite the Right.
  • Lauren Southern’s Patreon account has been taken down.
  • Lauren Southern’s Instagram has been taken down, but is now back up.
  • NPI’s Paypal account has been shut down.
  • Two upcoming speeches by Richard Spencer have been canceled.
  • Identity Europa’s PayPal has been shut down.
  • Christopher Cantwell’s Facebook, PayPal, and website are gone.
  • Weev’s LinkedIn account has been shut down.
  • The Paranormies and other podcasts have been kicked off of Soundcloud.
  • YouTube had demonitized controversial videos, making it impossible for dissident video bloggers to make a living from their work.
  • Airbnb combed through the social media of people with Charlottesville-area registrations on Unite the Right weekend, and canceled the reservations and accounts of Unite the Right attendees
  • Uber has cancelled Baked Alaska’s and James Allsup’s accounts.
  • Squarespace is dropping multiple Right-wing sites.
  • A Toronto free speech event with Faith Goldy, Jordan Peterson, and Gad Saad has been cancelled.
  • Christopher Cantwell’s OKCupid account has been closed.
  • Expedia cancelled flights of people they suspected were attending Unite the Right.
  • Google removes Gab app from Android store.
  • Alternative Right, ed. Andy Nowicki and Colon Liddell, removed by Blogger
  • Mailchimp drops accounts from American Renaissance and Identity Europa.

.

 
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Protesters shut down UVic Effective Altruism club screening of a TED Talk by Peter Singer, the utilitarian philosopher and animal rights activist who has argued that carnivorous animals should be holocausted for the greater good*.

However, it wasn’t Singer’s opposition to Predator Lives Matter that raised SJW ire:

The event, which featured a screening of a TED Talk on effective altruism by Princeton professor and ethicist Peter Singer followed by a Skype Q&A, was met with protest on the grounds of Singer’s past defense of the right of parents to euthanize severely disabled infants.

Protesters argued that giving Singer a platform was implicitly supporting the murder of disabled people, and that his views supported eugenics. Those in support of the event, meanwhile, argued protesters were infringing on people’s right to free speech.

McOuat said the event was intended to discuss “practical ways we can end global poverty, promote animal welfare, and reduce existential risks like climate change.”

“For me, it just goes back to the fact that we’re not promoting his views on [euthanasia] at all,” McOuat said. “It’s just all about solving climate change and all the stuff that we can all agree on.” …

All the while, Singer’s TED Talk and Q&A continued, and the room grew cacophonous. Shouts of support for Singer’s free speech were met with chants of “eugenics is hate” and “disabled lives matter,” and neither side showed any signs of backing down.

Here’s the thing. As a subset of Silicon Valley’s rationality/transhumanism-sphere, the EA movement is highly intelligent, highly Jewish, highly autistic – and, of course, overwhelmingly liberal (this is meant to swiftly characterize, not to imply that any of these is a bad thing).

I was at EA Global 2016 and my impression was that a good 90% of them supported Clinton over Trump; most of the rest were libertarians, neoreactionaries, Thiel’s boys, or some conjunction thereof. I made a temporary alliance with a libertarian proponent of seasteading to defend Trump at Alexander Kustov’s stand devoted to immigration, where we gathered a small throng at the same time curious and bewildered by our political unorthodoxy. The ensuing debate, however, was very civil and pleasant.

This, perhaps, hints at the root of the problem. Whereas EA supports many “social justice” ideals, perhaps naively – as I pointed out, they tend to be avid pronents of open borders, even though its very doubtful that #WelcomeRefugees is ideal even from a strictly utilitarian, anti-national position – at heart they are high IQ liberals who tend to understand nuance and respect freedom of speech, whereas SJWs are average IQ authoritarian leftists who have no time for “freeze peach” or the smallest acts of deviationism.

As such, further collisions – or coalescence – are inevitable.

* EDIT: Was jst pointed out to me that the argument against the existence of predatory animals has been associated with some of Singer’s more radical fans, and not so much Singer himself: “Philosopher Peter Singer has argued that intervention in nature would be justified if one could be reasonably confident that this would greatly reduce wild animal suffering and death in the long run. In practice, however, Singer cautions against interfering with ecosystems because he fears that doing so would cause more harm than good.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Effective Altruism, SJWs 
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ea-global-bio

 

Online version with hyperlinks: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ea-and-intelligence-theory/

I am a blogger and independent researcher who is interested in the intersections of intelligence theory, futurism, economics, and geopolitics.

Here is a summary of my ideas relevant to Effective Altruism:

Intelligence is central to explaining the wealth and poverty of nations, so a good understanding of it is central to formulating good EA-based policies.

  • Near universal agreement amongst psychologists on validity of general factor of intelligence (Gottfredson 1994; Jensen 1998). No replication crisis in psychometrics unlike the rest of psychology!
  • Solid positive correlations with incomes, job prestige, and virtually all measures of worldly success.
  • Excellent correlation between national IQ and GDP per capita (0.9!!) once you adjust for resource windfalls and Communist legacy (Karlin 2012). The economist Garett Jones calls this the “hive mind” thesis, and has shown that the causation is mostly from the former to the latter (Jones 2015). There is an approximately 3x increase in GDP per capita for every S.D. gain in average national IQ.
  • Despite popular but usually mistaken anecdotes, such as that of Feynman’s mediocre IQ, the elite scientists who drive scientific and technological progress are around 4 S.D. above the Western population mean (Roe 1952).
  • There is a case to be made – what I call the Apollo’s Ascent theory – that rising intelligence is indispensable for scientific and technological progress, since problems tend to get harder over time (Karlin 2015).

Important implications for EA follow from this, some obvious – some less so, and some outright controversial.

Obvious: The necessity of IQ-ameliorating interventions, especially in the developing world. There have already been resounding successes on this front historically (salt iodization). Work on micronutrient supplementation and deworming is extremely effective and should continue, as the EA community has long recognized.

Less Obvious: Improving IQ in the developed world, since it is so strongly associated with greater prosperity and performance across all metrics of civilization (which also results in less need for charity in the first place). Unfortunately, all schooling interventions tried to date have been shown to be inefficacious, so we need to be more ambitious. We need to throw more money and brainpower at the genetics of IQ; CRISPR/Cas9 and other gene editing techniques; and more speculatively, neural augs. There are many “intersectionalities” between EA and machine intelligence safety research; more intelligent humans will find it easier to understand the case for caution and help decrease the likelihood of a malevolent “breakout.”

Controversial: It is time to look more critically at the Open Borders orthodoxy within the EA community (Karlin 2015):

  • Hive Mind: Unfiltered immigrants from the developing world almost inevitably have lower average IQs than the recipient country (Rindermann 2014). Nor is there any evidence of long-term convergence. As such, the quality of the “hive mind” decreases, resulting in long-term decrease of the “equilibrium” level of GDP per capita relative to what it would otherwise be.
  • Cognitive Colonialism: You can have a “cognitively elitist” immigration policy, like Singapore or Australia, but it imposes a heavy burden upon the developing world by scouring it of the “smart fractions” they need for their own development (Karlin 2015).
  • Skills misallocations: The First World has no shortage of specialists. A doctor from Syria or D.R. Congo is more likely to end up as a taxi driver (or Uber now?) as to make relevant use of whatever professional qualifications he might have.
  • Loss of global arbitrage opportunities: George Soros, an outspoken proponent of open borders, has called the EU to spend almost $20,000 per immigrant during just their first year. But $1 of spending in Africa goes a lot further than $1 in Austria or America. For instance, a Syrian refugee doctor and his family can buy an oceanfront suite for $2,500 in the capital of Tanzania (a poor country which gets a useful specialist and economic investment at a fraction of the cost of hosting said doctor in Europe).
  • Other costs: Cultural incompatibility, decrease in social cohesion, and rise in xenophobic sentiments (cross out as per your ideological tilt).

Did you find any of this interesting, intriguing, or at least not completely bonkers?

If so please feel free to check out my blog (http://www.unz.com/akarlin/) and website (http://akarlin.com/).

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Effective Altruism, Futurism, Immigration 
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Effective altruism (EA) is the fairly simple idea that in charitable giving as in financial investment, you should aim to put your money where it would do the most good – be it earning the highest returns, or helping the maximum number of people. It is a laudable enough goal, though the ideas behind it are hardly new or revolutionary – I recall Jeffrey Sachs touting the superiority of anti-malarial nets over other higher-profile forms of development aid on cost-effectiveness merits back in the mid-2000s, well before “effective altruism” was on anyone’s radar. And I agree with the approach in principle. How could anyone not? Because the core of EA is just helping people live better, richer, healthier lives in clever and cost-effective ways, e.g. anti-malarial nets over dams, $40 trichiasis operations over $40,000 guide-dogs for the blind, machine intelligence research to ensure our future robot overlords don’t kill us all, and – open borders.

Wait, what? Here is where we come to some “problematic” aspects of EA. On paper, it is all about being rationalist. In practice, it is composed of people. What kind of people? EA demographics overlap a lot with that of LessWrong, which has carried out detailed censuses of its members – only 2% of them describe themselves as conservatives, while another 2% describe themselves as neoreactionary (where else would you get that kind of breakdown?), while the other 95% are mostly liberals, libertarians, social democrats, and anarchists of various stripes. They are composed primarily of upper-middle class Americans more compelled to engage in passive aggressive status signalling than to reliably carry rationalism through to its logical conclusions, no matter how unpalatable they might be liberal sensibilities. A few are just outright sperglord level autists.

effective-altruism-immigration A good litmus test for this hypothesis would be to see their attitudes on the current immigration engulfing Europe. The LessWrong boards are almost dead, and as far as I can see all the most intensive discussions are occuring on Facebook. A Sailerite Ctrl-F on EA’s biggest Facebook group shows 33 results for “refugee” and 22 results for “migra” just this past September.

Even if we were not all evil racists who don’t want any filthy foreigners aroun… or, merely accept the validity of discounting the welfare of outside groups relative to that of our own countrymen, there would still be some very legitimate arguments against open borders fundamentalism even from a pure EA perspective.

Here are some of the obvious ones:

  • As anyone with eyes to see has noticed, and as even the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has admitted in a recent report, the overwhelming majority of the current migrant wave into European is composed of young adult males. Not women or children, who are typically the biggest war victims.
  • Of which only half are from Syria.
  • Will in general be people who can afford the ~$10,000 needed for the Mediteranean route in the first place, or the ~$5,000 route to Norway via Murmansk so it’s not clear how much in the way of cash and other material aid they really need in the first place.
  • So we are really talking about maximizing utility, so wouldn’t it be more logical to make this more targetted and efficient by importing a few million of the most destitute people in say the D.R. Congo as opposed to Syria or Iraq, which however wartorn they might be are still far more prosperous than most of Sub-Saharan Africa?
  • But where precisely do you stop? 640 million people want to emigrate around the world, most of them from the Third World to the First.
  • Will First World countries composed overwhelmingly of Third Worlders continue to remain First World? More importantly from an EA perspective, would they retain the ability to substantively help the teeming multitudes of the Third World, or even hold conferences on topics such as “effective altruism”? The answer to this question might seem obvious to Unz Review readers, but will likely only confuse and bewilder many self-styled rationalists and EA’ers, many of whom are cognitive and racial blank slatists (this includes their high prophet Eliezer Yudkowsky if his magnum opus HPMOR is anything to go by).

And some of the less so obvious ones:

ocean-front-suite

Ocean Front Suites for $2,500 in city center of Dar es Salaam.

  • One dollar of spending money goes about five times further in poor countries than it does in First World countries due to purchasing power differences. (And that’s without considering the “extras” in the form of extra policing, language courses, welfare spending, etc. that First World nations would have to provide in order to pay for all the new vibrant diversity). If conditions in Syria are so utterly unacceptable that young males have no choice but to emigrate, surely it would be more effectively altruistic to encourage them to settle elsewhere in the Third World – say, why not a relatively stable and Islamic but poor country, like Tanzania, Senegal, or Bangladesh? The $10,000 they pay the Italian or Greek mafias to smuggle them into Europe would probably be enough to buy a nice house there!
  • European EA’ers could even subsidize them with a few $1,000s for the first few years to help them settle in their new homelands and encourage them to stay put. A Syrian doctor or engineer would be a great boon to a typical $1,000-$2,000 GDP per capita African country, where there are very few such specialists in the first place. In a European country, there are no substantive shortages of high IQ specialists, and your Syrian doctor or engineer would be just as likely to end up as a taxi driver (or would it be Uber now?) as to make relevant use of whatever professional qualifications he might have. There are 4 physicians per 1,000 people in Germany, compared to 1.5 in Syria and just 0.4 in Bangladesh, 0.1 in Senegal, and 0.0 in Tanzania. Having a Syrian doctor be a taxi driver in Germany is a bad skills misallocation on the global level, one that easily incurs an opportunity cost in the $10,000s, and it should elicit howls of outrage from any truly rationalist EA’er.
  • Or how about at least channeling some of this money to the few million real refugees stuck in drab refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey? Those people at least won’t be throwing food away like the desperate starving illegals at Calais:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbTSdUdQeLY

  • When a Syrian migrates to Germany or Sweden, he effectively triples his carbon dioxide emissions. When he migrates to the US, he almost doubles it again. If we are talking about an Eritrean instead, the increase is more on the order of a hundredfold. Exploding populations in the First World means carbon dioxide emissions increasing much more rapidly than if it had taken place in a relatively poor country like Syria, let alone in the most destitute countries like Eritrea. More carbon dioxide emissions means more rapid global warming which in turns means even greater challenges to increasing prosperity in the countries of the Global South. AGW is a topic typically beloved of by progressives, but for some reason they don’t tend to mention it much in the context of immigration debates.
  • How about just stop funding Islamist crazies and support Assad, who according to opinion polls enjoys the most legitimacy of any political force in Syria? That would be not just the EA’iest but also literally the easiest low-effort, high-impact action of them all.
  • Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen, since the people opposing this are considerably more powerful than the Left’s anti-immigration racist bogeymen and most rationalists appear to have lapped up their propaganda as readily as most other Westerners.

Now some of the comments on immigration in the Effective Altruism Facebook discussion group are within the rationalist spirit of EA and are intelligent and relevant even if they fail to challenge the broader “open borders” dogma. (I see no reason to blank out names since this is a public group).

refugees-effective-altruism Others however are just your typical status signalling do-gooders and moralistic exhibitionists.

refugees-effective-altruism-2

Ines Ve sounds like a nice enough if naive person. Let’s hope she doesn’t get too disabused of her notions, like this fellow did:

And predictably you have the SJWs, down to the non-ironic use of “problematic” in casual conversation. I can’t even!

refugees-effective-altruism-3

Highly authoritarian and typically of only fairly modest intelligence, they are the death of any mildly interesting or intellectual movement that embraces them. I would not bet much on EA’s future.

 
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.