Jul 23, 2019
In episode 54, we take a look at Effective Altruism. Why has this approach to philanthropy based on utilitarian philosophy gained so many admirers - and so many critics - over the last few years? Including:
-What is Effective Altruism (EA)?
-How is it informing new approaches to philanthropy?
-Why are so many tech philanthropists EA advocates?
-Could the emergence of data-driven, AI approaches to philanthropy put EA in the driving seat?
-What is the historical lineage of Utilitarian thinking?
-What role did religion play in giving birth to the idea that philanthropy needs to be effective?
-How did the Charity Organization Society and the Scientific Philanthropy movements take this idea forward, and are they the intellectual forebears of EA?
-What, if anything, is genuinely new about EA?
-Is EA merely theoretical because it doesn't reflect how philanthropy actually works or what motivates donors?
-Does the focus on outcomes come at the expense of other considerations such as justice, democracy or individual agency?
-Do EA metrics favour short-term, tangible interventions over longer-term campaigns for social change?
-Does EA dictate working within existing structures and systems, rather than driving the reforms to those structures and systems that many believe are needed for real change?
-Does EA lead to a bias against local giving in favour of giving overseas? And can this have unintended consequences in terms of how other perceive us?
-Existential threats and "Pascal's Mugging"
The History of Utilitarianism & Rationality in Philanthropy
Criticism of Effective Altruism