Non-zero-sum James

Writer / Editor @ Non-Zero-Sum Games
14 karmaJoined Feb 2024Working (15+ years)Auckland, New Zealand


Documentary filmmaker who has spent over 20 years researching, interviewing and building stories around the world - everything from the war in Afghanistan, to life in inner-city Los Angeles, to an Aussie bloke with 34 dogs. I'm a life long student, with passion for creating a better world.

I'm a strong believer in effective altruism and have taken the giving pledge. My weekly blog at is a world-help site of sorts - focussing on win-win games as essential to facing global issues. I explore game-theoretical approaches to real world issues in an accessible way, using illustrations, simulations and badly drawn graphs.

How others can help me

I am interested in sharing good ideas, discussion, even argument - if you find my work interesting please share it with those you think would be interested. I realise EA is a niche interest, finding those special people requires casting the net wide.

How I can help others

If you would like to write an article to be featured and illustrated on the site I'm open to proposals that are in line with the ethos of the site. Otherwise I hope to help the world by contributing to positive, productive and pro-social solutions to an information-sphere that can otherwise be dominated by negativity and conflict. Please feel free to use any resources on the site, or request I cover a particular topic.


Hey Matt, I thought this was really interesting. I think the mistake people make is seeing saving lives as a very isolated (subjective) good, which is at odds with collective goods (zero-sum thinking), when actually saving lives has a load of other cumulative benefits also. For instance lowering infant mortality lowers the birth rate, mitigating overpopulation, not having family members die is better for people's mental health and productivity, and not being starving also means people can reach their potential, contributing more to the world as a whole.

Those people who don't die, and aren't starving might very well be those that solve the asteroid crisis. I've always been a Karl Popper fan for this very reason, that quantifiable goods in the here and now don't necessarily contradict distant unquantifiable goods, in fact, as you lock in piecemeal rights and well-being factors for people, that layer of security can be built upon, making future benefits more likely.