Introduction

“A conversation on poverty” is my public attempt to develop an educated view on the most effective ways of helping the poorest people in the world to improve their living conditions.

Note: yes, there is already A LOT of research —in fact, good research— on the topic, but I will explain in another post why I still have many questions about it. More on that soon…

The search for effectiveness is inspired by the effective altruism movement: if you want to do good, you should try to determine how you can do the most good with the resources available to you.

Possible outcomes

I can think of the following possible outcomes for this project:

a) I am convinced that a certain approach —or “intervention” in development jargon— is the most effective¹.

b) I conclude that we need to do more research on other alternatives and try to make that happen.

c) I am overwhelmed by the amount of existing research or the complexity of the subject and I fail to come to a conclusion.

The plan

I will create and maintain two lists: (1) questions I think I have a good answer for and (2) questions for which I still have not found a satisfactory answer. I will write and link to my current thinking on each of the questions and I will update list 2 as I make progress with my research, conversations, etc.

Why make this public

I could just keep this investigation to myself but that would create very little value. By making it public, there is a chance that the output will be helpful to others.

How you can help

This is a public personal project. It is limited by my current knowledge on the subject of poverty and my insufficient experience as an effective altruist. It is also probably affected by several of my cognitive biases. What all this means is that I can use all the help I can get:

  • You can point me towards research or arguments I may not be aware of.
  • You can question my reasoning whenever it seems to be flawed.
  • You can share additional arguments that can complement or change my views.

The best way to contribute to a post is to respond, either inline or at the end of the post. Typo and grammar alerts are welcome too!

Note on editing

The goal of this project is not to keep a record of all I have written but to reflect my current understanding in the best possible way. I will therefore edit liberally to improve the content whenever possible.


¹ The conclusion would have to be periodically reviewed, since there is always the possibility of new research or new arguments changing my views. I will be satisfied if I have taken into account most of the high quality research and arguments available at any given moment.