Effective Altruism

Wang Yue was a 2 year old toddler who was hit by a van in China. For 7 minutes she laid on the road bleeding. 18 people passed by and did nothing. Another van ran over her again. After being helped by the 19th passer by, she taken to a hospital. Eventually she passed away due to her injuries.

I’m sure most people who read this would have helped her. The question is then, does it matter that if the person who needs your help is someone you can’t see?

Effective Altruists use their resources to do the most good they can. Each of us spends money on things that we don’t really need. Take the money that would be wasted” and protect other people around the world.

4 Common Questions About Effective Altruism
  1. How much of a difference can I make?
    • Make the impact you can. It all adds up. You don’t need to be a billionaire to make a significant difference around the world.
  2. Am I expected to abandon my career?
    • A portion of your earnings can be given to charities and you can still have enough to live a decent life.
    • The most high earning careers make you more powerful because you can give more.
  3. Isn’t charity bureaucratic and ineffective anyway?
    • Some charities are 1000x more effective than others. It’s important to find the right ones.
    • Use givewell.org to assess the impact of charities.
    • Find missions you care about and put resources into it (i.e time, money, etc…),
  4. Isn’t it a burden to give up so much?
    • Being an effective altruist helps one overcome the sisyphus problem (consumerism).
    • Being an effective altruist gives you meaning and fulfillment.

These are my notes from Peter Singer’s Talk about Effective Altruism.

March 30, 2021


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