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    Effective Altrusim

    Are any of you familiar with effective altruism (EA)?

    I'm somewhat involved with EA, which is a social movement/philosophy that uses evidence and reasoning to determine how to do the most good. This can range anywhere from studying the best and most effective ways to volunteer your time to where to donate your money or what type of career to get in to to maximize your benefit.

    They use almost a scientific approach to determining how to do the right thing, rather than doing what "feels right."

    For example, they investigate different charities to determine which charities save the most lives (the best thing you can donate some money to is anti-mosquito bed nets which protect from malaria in poor countries). An effective altruist would argue that donating to specific causes-such as the victims of a small tragedy, would be relatively useless because you would only help a few people. They would say that your money would be MUCH better spent on a global or national scale.

    Here are some common things espoused by EA:

    Effective altruists tend to do, and to encourage others to do, things such as:

    •Donating money to charitable organizations recommended by effective altruist charity evaluators such as GiveWell and Animal Charity Evaluators.

    •Living a modest lifestyle so as to limit one’s negative impact on the world and increase the amount of one’s resources directed to improving the world (Singer 2015, chap. 3).

    Choosing a career on the basis of the capacity of the work itself and/or the earnings from the work to contribute to improving the worldin morally important respects (Singer 2015, chap. 4-5; MacAskill 2014; MacAskill 2015, chap. 9).

    •Contributing to efforts to determine what is achieved by different approaches to improving the world, so as to increase our ability to make informed choices about where to direct our time and money.

    •Making decisions about where to direct the resources and time that one allocates to trying to improve the world on the basis of the best available evidence about what is achieved

    Effective altruists are, on the other hand, critical of behavior such as:

    •Spending significant amounts of money on unnecessary luxury goods and services for oneself or one’s loved ones and friends.

    •Donating money to, for example, wealthy universities (Singer 2015, 10-11), one’s local opera house, or charities that are, on any plausible view, clearly much less cost effective than others with respect to improving the world.

    •Donating money to causes that one happens to care particularly about or feel a special connection to, rather than to others where the donations would, on any plausible view, do significantly more to improve the world (MacAskill 2015, 41-42).

    •Donating money to charitable organizations without looking into the available evidence about which organizations improve the world most cost effectively.

    So, this philosophy is polarizing. It made a lot of sense to me--although there are some obvious criticisms. It's actually the reason I became vegetarian over a decade ago-it was an easy way to reduce a LOT of suffering and do a lot of good for animals and the planet.

    But this is just one way you can change to do a lot of good--everyone in EA has their "thing" that they want to maximize their impact on--for example there is a whole subgroup of altruists who want to decrease the threat from AI, some who focus on animal suffering, a group who wants to reduce poverty, some who want to stop climate change, etc. etc.



    Last edited by Youfreeme; 05-21-2021, 08:20 AM.

    #2
    what's with the font?

    i've never heard of this. i like the concept, to an extent. but i think it's something that should be considered in a donor's decision making process as opposed to being the entire basis of the decision making process.

    Comment


    • Youfreeme
      Youfreeme commented
      Editing a comment
      I copy and pasted some of it from an article and the fonts didn’t match. Fixed.

    #3
    I am not familiar with Effective Altruism, it seems like a hybrid of utilitarianism and altruism.

    Comment


    • Youfreeme
      Youfreeme commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I think that might be a fair judgement.

    #4
    I have heard this term, but I wouldn't have been able to describe it.
    Much of it seems like common sense, to me. I do think it would be good if people could look critically at what will improve the world as a whole, rather than what causes they have emotional attachments to.

    Comment


      #5
      I'll have to think on this but I just wanted to say, YFM you are a woman after my own heart. The way you cite those sources speaks to the depth of my soul haha

      Comment


      • Youfreeme
        Youfreeme commented
        Editing a comment
        The bullet points were copy and pasted lol-but the papers cited are legit!!
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