An interesting presentation by moral philosopher Peter Singer on the rise of the effective altruism movement. He chronicles the stories of a number of participants who engage both the heart and the head (empathy and intellect), who make a difference by channeling their giving efforts in a direction that makes the greatest positive impact.
Are you an Effective Altruist? What are you doing to make sure that your giving best serves the most people? Is this important to you? It’s a complex issue but keep in mind that this doesn’t just simply mean giving money to charity – ‘most people’ may be best served if your company is super profitable, especially if you’ve embedded philanthropic activity into your business strategy.
…the most significant people in effective altruism have been people who have had backgrounds in philosophy or economics or math. [Peter Singer]
Singer references the efforts of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet as the most effective altruists in history with estimates being that they’ve already saved 5.8 million lives, not to mention those who have avoided illness and incapacity altogether due to the preventative measures taken.
To further illustrate the point, Singer tells the story of Will MacAskill, a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford. Will, amongst other things, encourages aspiring effective altruists to pursue a career in banking, in order to earn significant money and, as a result, do the most good in the world. (Note: there are parallels here to a point made by Dan Palotta in our previous post)
If you spend your money wisely, you can do much more good by taking a lucrative career such as banking than by pursuing a conventional ‘ethical’ career such as charity work. [Will MacAskill]
As far as Change Giving is concerned, you’ll note that there are touches of effective altruism in our mission and core values. We believe that we can make the greatest positive impact by focusing on our strengths: making world class digital experiences and engineer them to best serve businesses, consumers and the planet.
How does your business currently give? What is the impact of your giving? Is it enough? I invite you to reflect on how improvement may not mean giving more, simply giving better.