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Re: [givewell] Re: How can I stop or prevent at least one occurrence of excessive suffering?

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  • J. S. Greenfield
    ... I don t think that developing the economy alleviates or eliminates all suffering. I do think it alleviates or eliminates the vast majority of suffering
    Message 1 of 19 , Jun 26, 2010
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      At 05:21 PM 6/25/2010, Robert Daoust wrote:

      >I agree with you that economy is part of the solution. My point is that
      >1) economy is not at all the whole solution to suffering,
      >2) economy is also a big part of the problem.

      I don't think that developing the economy alleviates or eliminates
      all suffering. I do think it alleviates or eliminates the vast
      majority of suffering (and especially if we talk about "excessive"
      suffering) -- particularly the kind of suffering typically targetted
      by philanthropy (which I believe is very heavily weighted toward
      poverty-related suffering).

      I'm very interested in understanding how you believe that the economy
      is a big part of the problem.


      At 12:28 AM 6/26/2010, anil mahajan wrote:

      >no, i haven't misunderstood ur statement. I just wanted to convey to
      >robert that economy, to me, plays and important role in making poor
      >suffer more and that is all. I could get the right massage from your
      >comment and that is it.

      Likewise, I would be interested to understand how you believe that
      developing the economy creates more suffering, rather than less.
    • Robert Daoust
      Economic activities are essential for our survival and well-being. In that sense they prevent the majority of suffering. Yet, I don t think economic
      Message 2 of 19 , Jun 26, 2010
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        Economic activities are essential for our survival and well-being. In that sense they prevent the majority of suffering. Yet, I don't think economic development can be credited for as much as you claim. Most often, economic development occurs because it is relaying a progress that occurred in another domain than economic activities, for instance from medicine, or scientific research, or morally motivated movements, etc. I would even say that the Chinese revolution was made against the economic activities of accumulative capitalism, and it was a turning point in alleviating or eliminating the vast majority of excessive suffering in the most populated country on Earth.

        Economy is a big part of the problem in countless ways. I guess you might find thousands of those ways if you browse the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential on the website of the Union of International Association.

        In what regards the primary cause or solution concerning our predicaments, there seem to be as many opinions as heads. I suggest that we begin by gathering all our opinions in a same framework, and I submit that because algonomy is oriented toward the knowledge and management of suffering in a universally open and neutral fashion, algonomy only is able to provide a framework for organizing together those opinions in a manner that is appropriate for mastering our predicaments.


        --- In givewell@yahoogroups.com, "J. S. Greenfield" <jsg@...> wrote:
        >
        > At 05:21 PM 6/25/2010, Robert Daoust wrote:
        >
        > >I agree with you that economy is part of the solution. My point is that
        > >1) economy is not at all the whole solution to suffering,
        > >2) economy is also a big part of the problem.
        >
        > I don't think that developing the economy alleviates or eliminates
        > all suffering. I do think it alleviates or eliminates the vast
        > majority of suffering (and especially if we talk about "excessive"
        > suffering) -- particularly the kind of suffering typically targetted
        > by philanthropy (which I believe is very heavily weighted toward
        > poverty-related suffering).
        >
        > I'm very interested in understanding how you believe that the economy
        > is a big part of the problem.
        >
        >
        > At 12:28 AM 6/26/2010, anil mahajan wrote:
        >
        > >no, i haven't misunderstood ur statement. I just wanted to convey to
        > >robert that economy, to me, plays and important role in making poor
        > >suffer more and that is all. I could get the right massage from your
        > >comment and that is it.
        >
        > Likewise, I would be interested to understand how you believe that
        > developing the economy creates more suffering, rather than less.
        >
      • J. S. Greenfield
        Well, thanks for clarifying. I suspected as much, but was not certain from your prior posts. Perhaps somebody else here will be interested, but I do not
        Message 3 of 19 , Jun 26, 2010
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          Well, thanks for clarifying. I suspected as much, but was not
          certain from your prior posts.

          Perhaps somebody else here will be interested, but I do not believe
          anything productive will come of what you are suggesting, so I am not
          interested. I certainly don't believe I can gather my opinions
          together with yours in a common framework, since based on the
          comments below, I cannot help but conclude that the framework you
          have chosen is completely divorced from the reality that I know.

          You suggest that the Chinese revolution was a turning point in
          alleviating or eliminating suffering. In fact, it was exactly the
          opposite. Mao Tse-tung brought untold suffering upon the Chinese
          people, a massive portion of which was precisely due to the terrible
          poverty that accompanied the imposition of communism and central
          planning. And it was precisely once Mao died, when Deng Xiaoping
          began instituting market reforms, that China began to ascend from
          desperate poverty, and began to reduce the massive suffering that
          went with such.

          Now, some 30 years later, with nearly whole-hearted adoption of
          market reforms, the standard of living in China has increased
          tremendously, and the Chinese are well on their way to escaping the
          poverty-related suffering that the Chinese revolution
          brought/continued/made worse.

          What's more, the ongoing very successful economic development in
          China will almost certainly eventually drive out the suffering in
          China related to government oppression and human rights abuses, by
          driving them towards democracy. (See my prior comments regarding the
          compelling case Fareed Zakaria has made for such.)

          If you see the situation as the opposite -- if you're seriously
          prepared to argue that the Chinese were better off experiencing
          famine (among other things) under Mao and his "Great Leap Forward"
          than they are today (or were before that, for that matter!) -- then I
          can only conclude that you are blinded by your philosophical beliefs,
          which you have apparently made axioms in your analytical framework.

          Attempting to gather and reconcile our opinions would clearly be a
          futile and incredibly unproductive effort.


          At 04:01 PM 6/26/2010, Robert Daoust wrote:
          >
          >Economic activities are essential for our survival and well-being.
          >In that sense they prevent the majority of suffering. Yet, I don't
          >think economic development can be credited for as much as you claim.
          >Most often, economic development occurs because it is relaying a
          >progress that occurred in another domain than economic activities,
          >for instance from medicine, or scientific research, or morally
          >motivated movements, etc. I would even say that the Chinese
          >revolution was made against the economic activities of accumulative
          >capitalism, and it was a turning point in alleviating or eliminating
          >the vast majority of excessive suffering in the most populated
          >country on Earth.
          >
          >Economy is a big part of the problem in countless ways. I guess you
          >might find thousands of those ways if you browse the Encyclopedia of
          >World Problems and Human Potential on the website of the Union of
          >International Association.
          >
          >In what regards the primary cause or solution concerning our
          >predicaments, there seem to be as many opinions as heads. I suggest
          >that we begin by gathering all our opinions in a same framework, and
          >I submit that because algonomy is oriented toward the knowledge and
          >management of suffering in a universally open and neutral fashion,
          >algonomy only is able to provide a framework for organizing together
          >those opinions in a manner that is appropriate for mastering our predicaments.
        • Robert Daoust
          As I said before, I am afraid I am quite misunderstood by you. I rejoice with you regarding the economic evolution that occurred in China during the last 30
          Message 4 of 19 , Jun 26, 2010
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            As I said before, I am afraid I am quite misunderstood by you.

            I rejoice with you regarding the economic evolution that occurred in China during the last 30 years, and I hope like you and Zakaria that more democracy will ensue. But as awful as the situation was in China during the fifties and sixties, I think serious independent historians will agree that it was clearly less deplorable than before the turning point of 1949.

            In my opinion, we all have different opinions and attempting to reconcile them is most often futile, but we may gather and organize them in order to aim at a common goal. If you are not interested, so be it.


            --- In givewell@yahoogroups.com, "J. S. Greenfield" <jsg@...> wrote:
            >
            > Well, thanks for clarifying. I suspected as much, but was not
            > certain from your prior posts.
            >
            > Perhaps somebody else here will be interested, but I do not believe
            > anything productive will come of what you are suggesting, so I am not
            > interested. I certainly don't believe I can gather my opinions
            > together with yours in a common framework, since based on the
            > comments below, I cannot help but conclude that the framework you
            > have chosen is completely divorced from the reality that I know.
            >
            > You suggest that the Chinese revolution was a turning point in
            > alleviating or eliminating suffering. In fact, it was exactly the
            > opposite. Mao Tse-tung brought untold suffering upon the Chinese
            > people, a massive portion of which was precisely due to the terrible
            > poverty that accompanied the imposition of communism and central
            > planning. And it was precisely once Mao died, when Deng Xiaoping
            > began instituting market reforms, that China began to ascend from
            > desperate poverty, and began to reduce the massive suffering that
            > went with such.
            >
            > Now, some 30 years later, with nearly whole-hearted adoption of
            > market reforms, the standard of living in China has increased
            > tremendously, and the Chinese are well on their way to escaping the
            > poverty-related suffering that the Chinese revolution
            > brought/continued/made worse.
            >
            > What's more, the ongoing very successful economic development in
            > China will almost certainly eventually drive out the suffering in
            > China related to government oppression and human rights abuses, by
            > driving them towards democracy. (See my prior comments regarding the
            > compelling case Fareed Zakaria has made for such.)
            >
            > If you see the situation as the opposite -- if you're seriously
            > prepared to argue that the Chinese were better off experiencing
            > famine (among other things) under Mao and his "Great Leap Forward"
            > than they are today (or were before that, for that matter!) -- then I
            > can only conclude that you are blinded by your philosophical beliefs,
            > which you have apparently made axioms in your analytical framework.
            >
            > Attempting to gather and reconcile our opinions would clearly be a
            > futile and incredibly unproductive effort.
            >
            >
            > At 04:01 PM 6/26/2010, Robert Daoust wrote:
            > >
            > >Economic activities are essential for our survival and well-being.
            > >In that sense they prevent the majority of suffering. Yet, I don't
            > >think economic development can be credited for as much as you claim.
            > >Most often, economic development occurs because it is relaying a
            > >progress that occurred in another domain than economic activities,
            > >for instance from medicine, or scientific research, or morally
            > >motivated movements, etc. I would even say that the Chinese
            > >revolution was made against the economic activities of accumulative
            > >capitalism, and it was a turning point in alleviating or eliminating
            > >the vast majority of excessive suffering in the most populated
            > >country on Earth.
            > >
            > >Economy is a big part of the problem in countless ways. I guess you
            > >might find thousands of those ways if you browse the Encyclopedia of
            > >World Problems and Human Potential on the website of the Union of
            > >International Association.
            > >
            > >In what regards the primary cause or solution concerning our
            > >predicaments, there seem to be as many opinions as heads. I suggest
            > >that we begin by gathering all our opinions in a same framework, and
            > >I submit that because algonomy is oriented toward the knowledge and
            > >management of suffering in a universally open and neutral fashion,
            > >algonomy only is able to provide a framework for organizing together
            > >those opinions in a manner that is appropriate for mastering our predicaments.
            >
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