Quick takes

For those voting in the EU election and general elections in Belgium, here's an overview of the party positions when it comes to animal welfare: (For more details, click this link) ✅ means more in favor    ❌ means more against Federal election (Flanders): policy proposal PVDA 🔴 GROEN ❇️ VOORUIT 🔺 Open-VLD 🔵 CD&V 🔶 N-VA 🔆 VB ⬛️ VAT rate reduction on veterinary care and pet food✅✅❌❌❌❌✅A ban on traditional fireworks✅✅✅❌❌✅✅ Federal election (Walloon): policy proposal PTB 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ PS 🔺 LE 🐬 Défi 🌸 MR 🔵 VAT rate reduction on veterinary care and pet food✅❌✅❌❌✅A ban on traditional fireworks✅❌✅❌❌✅ Flanders election: policy proposal PVDA 🔴 GROEN ❇️ VOORUIT 🔺 Open-VLD 🔵 CD&V 🔶 N-VA 🔆 VB ⬛️ Better living conditions for broiler chickens in Flanders✅✅✅❌❌✅✅A ban on live cooking and cutting lobsters in half✅✅❌❌❌❌❌A phasing out plan of Boudewijn Seapark✅✅✅❌❌✅✅A ban on the painful surgical castration of piglets✅✅✅❌❌✅❌A ban on chick killing✅✅✅✅❌✅✅Stricter legislation around the dog and cat trade✅✅✅❌❌✅✅A duty of care for horses, dogs, cats and rabbits✅✅❌❌❌✅✅The development of cultured meat in Flanders✅✅✅✅❌✅❌Animal testing: for an animal-free strategy in Flanders✅✅✅✅❌✅✅A Flemish ban on the sale of products that harm animal welfare✅✅✅❌❌✅❌Animal welfare as a criterion in environmental permit procedure✅✅❌❌❌✅❌A punishment of animal abuse through GAS fines ❌✅❌❌❌✅✅total score11/1212/128/123/120/1211/127/12Highest score ✅      Walloon election:   PTB 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ PS 🔺 LE 🐬 Défi 🌸 MR 🔵 Total score12/1311/138/1310/136/135/13Highest score✅      EU election (Flanders):   PVDA 🔴 GROEN ❇️ VOORUIT 🔺 Open-VLD 🔵 CD&V 🔶 N-VA 🔆 VB ⬛️ Total score9/1010/1010/108/100/1010/100/10Highest score ✅✅  ✅  EU election (Walloon):   PTB 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ PS 🔺 LE 🐬 Défi 🌸 MR 🔵 Total score9/109/107/109/106/107/10Highest score✅✅ ✅   Brussels election:   PVDA 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ GROEN ❇️ PS 🔺 VOORU
The Belgian senate votes to add animal welfare to the constitution. It's been a journey. I work for GAIA, a Belgian animal advocacy group that for years has tried to get animal welfare added to the constitution. Today we were present as a supermajority of the senate came out in favor of our proposed constitutional amendment. The relevant section reads: It's a very good day for Belgian animals but I do want to note that: 1. This does not mean an effective shutdown of the meat industry, merely that all future pro-animal welfare laws and lawsuits will have an easier time.  And, 2. It still needs to pass the Chamber of Representatives. If there's interest I will make a full post about it if once it passes the Chamber. EDIT: Translated the linked article on our site into English.
A lot of policy research seems to be written with an agenda in mind to shape the narrative. And this kind of destroys the point of policy research which is supposed to inform stakeholders and not actively convince or really nudge them. This might cause polarization in some topics and is in itself, probably snatching legitimacy away from the space. I have seen similar concerning parallels in the non-profit space, where some third-sector actors endorse/do things which they see as being good but destroys trust in the whole space. This gives me scary unilaterist's curse vibes..
Radar speed signs currently seem like one of the more cost effective traffic calming measures since they don't require roadwork, but they still surprisingly cost thousands of dollars. Mass producing cheaper radar speed signs seems like a tractable public health initiative
As someone predisposed to like modeling, the key takeaway I got from Justin Sandefur's Asterisk essay PEPFAR and the Costs of Cost-Benefit Analysis was this corrective reminder – emphasis mine, focusing on what changed my mind: More detail: Tangentially, I suspect this sort of attitude (Iraq invasion notwithstanding) would naturally arise out of a definite optimism mindset (that essay by Dan Wang is incidentally a great read; his follow-up is more comprehensive and clearly argued, but I prefer the original for inspiration). It seems to me that Justin has this mindset as well, cf. his analogy to climate change in comparing economists' carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes vs progressive activists pushing for green tech investment to bend the cost curve. He concludes:  Aside from his climate change example above, I'd be curious to know what other domains economists are making analytical mistakes in w.r.t. cost-benefit modeling, since I'm probably predisposed to making the same kinds of mistakes. 
The OECD are currently hiring for a few potentially high-impact roles in the tax policy space: The Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA) * Executive Assistant to the Director and Office Manager (closes 6th October) * Senior programme officer (closes 28th September) * Head of Division - Tax Administration and VAT (closes 5th October) * Head of Division - Tax Policy and Statistics (closes 5th October) * Head of Division - Cross-Border and International Tax (closes 5th October) * Team Leader - Tax Inspectors Without Borders (closes 28th September)  I know less about the impact of these other areas but these look good: Trade and Agriculture Directorate (TAD) * Head of Section, Codes and Schemes - Trade and Agriculture Directorate (closes 25th September) * Programme Co-ordinator (closes 25th September) International Energy Agency (IEA) * Clean Energy Technology Analysts (closes 24th September) * Modeller and Analyst – Clean Shipping & Aviation (closes 24th September) * Analyst & Modeller – Clean Energy Technology Trade (closes 24th September) * Data Analyst - Temporary (closes 28-09-2023) Financial Action Task Force  * Policy Analyst(s), Anti-Money Laundering & Combatting Terrorist Financing
Are you here to win or the win the race?  I've been reflecting on the various perspectives within AI governance discussions, particularly within those concerned about AI safety. One noticeable dividing line is between those concerned about the risks posed by advanced AI systems. This group advocates for regulating AI as it exists today and increasing oversight of AI labs. Their reasoning is that slowing down AI development would provide more time to address technical challenges and allow society to adapt to AI's future capabilities. They are generally cautiously optimistic about international cooperation. I think FLI falls into this camp. On the other hand, there is a group increasingly focused not only on developing safe AI but also on winning the race, often against China. This group believes that the US currently has an advantage and that maintaining this lead will provide more time to ensure AI safety. They likely think the US embodies better values compared to China, or at least prefer US leadership over Chinese leadership. Many EA organizations, possibly including OP, IAPS, and those collaborating with the US government, may belong to this group. I've found myself increasingly wary of the second group, tending to discount their views, trust them less, and question the wisdom of cooperating with them. My concern is that their primary focus on winning the AI race might overshadow the broader goal of ensuring AI safety. I am not really sure what to do about this, but I wanted to share my concern and hope to think a bit in the future about what can be done to prevent a rift emerging in the future, especially since I expect the policy stakes will get more and more important in the coming years. 
I find the Biden chip export controls a step in the right direction, and it also made me update my world model of compute governance being an impactful lever. However, I am concerned that our goals aren't aligned with theirs; US policymakers' incentive right now is to curb China's tech growth and fun trade war reasons, not pause AI. This optimization for different incentives is probably going to create some split between US policymakers and AI safety folks as time goes on. It also makes China more likely to treat this as a tech race which sets up interesting competitive race dynamics between the US and China which I don't see talked about enough. 
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