About this talk
All plausible moral theories agree increasing the happiness of currently existing people during their lifetimes is intrinsically good. Despite, or perhaps because of, this agreement, surprisingly little work has been done to find out what the most effective ways to improve world happiness are. In this short talk, I share my current conclusions and identify where more research is needed. I claim that, contrary to the apparent consensus within EA, poverty and physical health should not be the top priorities. I suggest we focus directly on mental health, pain, and what I call ‘ordinary human unhappiness’ instead. I set out some of the ways we might do that. Two promising options are (1) funding mental health charities in the developing world and (2) reforming drug laws to make it easier for doctors to use opiates to treat pain (in the developing world) and psychedelics, such as LSD and psilocybin, to treat mental health (worldwide).