Angus Deaton – CFR

A wide-ranging and insightful conversation/podcast with recent Nobel Laureate – Angus Deaton is worth listening to for so many reasons. A brief snippet of his views on Philantrocapitalism and their impact on development which is very very hard

It’s complicated. I think one of the things that billionaire philanthropists are discovering is it’s actually very hard to give money away in an effective way—in a way that you really believe is improving the world. And actually, that it’s hard is the right answer, right? And the worst thing, I think, about the effective altruism movement is it pretends it’s not hard. It says we have a magic solution which will really help you do this. And the trouble with magic is, it only exists in Harry Potter novels. You really can’t use magic to make the poor of the world less poor.

which he also weaves in his thoughts on RCTs (which were skeptical at best)

And, you know, evidence accumulation is really hard. It requires serious scientific effort. We’ve got to connect up all the things we know. There is no magic bullet. And so the effective altruism, which is—you know, there are sites like GiveWell and others that are listing, if you’re a philanthropist, you know, here’s where you should give your money, and they’re all things like that. They’re things that have been shown to work in one place, often under disputatious circumstances. But, you know, the idea somehow that if you did a randomized control trial and it’s true in one place it must automatically be true somewhere else is nonsense, and I think they’ve just walked into that trap.



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