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Often when we contemplate investments and returns, it is in regards to personal savings and financial gain. However,  what if this same logic of optimal gains was applied to philanthropy. Which may seem like an oblique revelation, however, was formulated in part by Will Macaskill. Macaskill heavily influenced  by ,Peter Singer, applied the same paradigm to financial investments to charity, via his theory of Effective Altruism.

The 30 year old Associate professor at Licoln College, formulated the idea of utilizing logic and analysis to determine the best method of devoting time and money into giving back. Why donate monetarily to any charity, when some are proven to be more legitimate or effective than others?  Which is really an intriguing way to approach charity. We oftentimes put a plethora of research into selecting which commercial goods or investments we purchase. However, we often throughly research how we could best contribute back to society to help our fellow people [1].



Effective Altruism can be best defined as the application of logic and evidence to ascertain the most effective means to help other people. Macaskill believes that this approach and paradigm for helping others is effective due to three core reasons. First, this approach is versatile enough to be applied to a myriad of different moral paradigms. Second, it has been already actively applied and proven to be effective. E.G.)  The organization GiveWell one of several that have applied this theory to their approach gave $100 million to the most effective charities in 2016. Macaskill has also mentioned that due to the positive results of this philosophy, people have founded new organizations to further proliferate this method of charity. The final core supporting factor for this paradigm is that if we have established evidence one means is more effective than others, we can maximize positive change with certainty [2].



As with any theory in science or manifesto in art, you will always have followers and detractors. Here are some of the counterpoints. Berger and Penna argue that the strong application of empiricism to charity not only may take away choice from the donor and relinquish the significance but does create a hierarchy of charitable causes [3].


Another critic Pascal Emmanuel Gobry, States that effective altruism with its strong fixation on monetary quantification does minimize the effects that cannot be easily measured. For example, the effect of assisting a developing country with institutional reforms [4].

The third and final main counterpoint against effective altruism is had too strong of an emphasis on capitalistic means of assistance. Writer Matt Snow asserts in his article  AGAINST CHARITY, which is an excellent point should we view monetary charity as being more efficient all because we can easily quantify it. When there is a myriad of means to give back, that are non-monetary nor material [5].


I have to say on the case of Effective Altruism, both proponents and opponents make some truly compelling arguments.  Can the worth of charity be applied to the rigors of scientific analysis to prove effectiveness?  However, while such thinking is coming from good intentions, it does seem to s alienate some non-monetary forms of charity. Although,  donating to an organization who spends 75% of its proceeds on overhead, certainly would be a piss poor way to give back to humanity. So my take is that effective altruism is great for analyzing the effect of monetary donations, however, it is not applicable to donations not involving the direct contributions of money. For example, an individual donating their time to a big brother program. Overall, it is a really solid and unique approach to charity, however, it does have some potential flaws.










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