Advantages Of Effective Altruism

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Word Count: 1500-1600
Assignment 2
• How would you characterize effective altruism? Are there good reasons to support this view?
I characterize effective altruism as planning and strategizing on how to do good for the world. This can be done through a career, political advocacy, or charitable giving. This contrasts with how people usually do good acts for the world, which, according to Matthews, is donating to a charity whenever we feel like it, many times on a whim to make ourselves feel good, but not doing it as a calculated measure to move towards solving a problem. They do not take the time to research the data and develop a strategy to solve the problem.
There are good reasons to support effective altruism. It is a very strong viewpoint that can save lives because of how strategic and focused it is. For example, GiveWell is a charity that is considered the origin of effective altruism. It uses evidence with philanthropy instead of just donating to feel good. They have been “forward-thinking on factory farming” which means that they were serious about animal suffering without doing sappy, emotional guilty “PETA-style” work (Matthews). As a result, their thinking has helped to save lives. Nick Cooney, who is the director of education for Mercy for Animals, said that “corporate campaigns for better treatment of farm animals” could be effective (Matthews). The Humane League managed to convince corporate food service companies, which are the ones that source cafeterias, food courts, and other similar places, to never use eggs from chickens that were in tortured in cages. This effective altruistic move helped to save 5 million animal lives in a year and it only cost less than 2 cents per animal.
This also helped Walmart and Starbucks to stop using pigs from farms that use gestation crates. This makes it very difficult for pregnant pigs to walk around, and this only cost 5 cents for each animal spared-the total was 18 million. In total, the Humane Society of the United States saved 40 million animals at 40 cents each.
Effective altruism is a very powerful movement that can change philanthropy and be a model for rigorous, organized advocacy.
• According to “existential risk obsessives,” why should
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