Giving Compass' Take:
- Davide Banis explains the players, principles, and problems of the effective altruism (EA) movement.
- Does effective altruism align with your philanthropic goals and values? How can you best engage with the EA community to advance your work?
- Learn about getting started in effective altruism.
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What if we could find a way to leverage our knowledge of all the world’s problems effectively? After all, we’ve never had so much information about the challenges we’re facing and how we could solve them.
That’s what the Effective Altruism movement is all about. Starting in the late 2000s by organizations like Giving What We Can and Givewell, Effective Altruism is a philosophy and social movement using evidence and reason to determine the most effective ways to do good and make the world a better place.
One of EA’s most intriguing – and to a certain extent, most controversial – aspects is that it doesn’t just tell you what you should do if you want to solve a certain problem. It also tells you which problems you ought to solve first in order to leave this world a little bit better than you found it. For example, banning straws is not that important.
There’s a whole area of research focusing on cause prioritization and even an EA-inspired institute at the University of Oxford dedicated to it.
In a nutshell, EA suggests that good causes that should be prioritized usually have three characteristics:
- They’re great in scale: They affect many people’s lives, by a great amount
- They’re highly neglected: Few people are working to address the problem
- They’re highly solvable: Additional resources might even solve the problem once and for all
Factoring in these aspects, EA activists usually come to the conclusion that the three most-pressing issues for humanity are: extreme poverty, animal suffering, and what they call “long-term future.”
Read the full article about the Effective Altruism movement by Davide Banis at Forbes.