Until recently, I thought donations to charities should be made anonymously, that I should hide my giving, not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. I thought that I should not announce or ‘advertise’ my giving, that this was ego-based, self-serving, less than altruistic. Even donation plaques in auditoriums bothered me: “This seat was donated by William A. & Susan R. Jones.” But I’ve changed my view on this. Continue reading
When it comes to creating wealth and thereby improving people’s material conditions, capitalism is without doubt effective, but capitalism is clearly inadequate as any kind of social ideal, since it is only motivated by profit, without any ethical principle guiding it.
One of the most significant truths brought to light by the present political crisis in the US is the overwhelming depth and pervasiveness of greed in our society. The propensity to spend and accumulate is so imbedded in the fabric of our nation that it has become nearly invisible to us; it pervades every dimension of our lives; it is the way we live. With a kind of breezy nonchalance, we spend ‘our’ money with little, if any, regard for the extreme suffering of others. Continue reading
“If I can have a benefit for myself or give the same size benefit to 1000 other people — I think that is a no-brainer.”
“Some people ask me, in response to all of this, has it been difficult? It was about four years ago that I made this pledge to give all of my income above £20,000 per annum (about $27,000 USD). And my answer is, no. I was a grad student when I decided to do this. I had less than that amount of money. I have more now than I ever had before. And so, actually, I’m living pretty well.”
“The main difference is that there are some issues that I previously thought I was running away from, and now I feel like I’m tackling them head-on and making the most of my life and really trying to help people directly and effectively.” Continue reading
In his book The Most Good You Can Do, Peter Singer says, “Effective altruists do things like the following: living modestly and donating a large part of their income—often much more than the traditional tenth, or tithe—to the most effective charities; researching and discussing with others which charities are the most effective or drawing on research done by other independent evaluators; choosing a career in which they can earn most, not in order to be able to live affluently but so that they can do more good; talking to others, in person or online, about giving, so that the idea of effective altruism will spread; giving part of their body—blood, bone marrow, or even a kidney—to a stranger (p.4).”
It seems to me that the above list might be somewhat off-putting to many people. Looking at the first activity, donating a large part of one’s income, I immediately feel that Continue reading