What is effective altruism? 7 facts about Sam Bankman-Fried’s favorite activity

The collapse of crypto exchange FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who amassed an estimated fortune of $26.5 billion, put the spotlight on philanthropy called “effective altruism.”

That money appears to have evaporated along with FTX’s customer deposits, effectively eroding altruism. At once he lost his big financiers and lost his reputation. Some observers have suggested that Banman-Fried’s embrace of an effective benevolence was partly responsible for the FTX implosion. (FTX, now led by new CEO John Ray III, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

So what is effective altruism? Here are seven key facts — and one big question.

What is ‘effective altruism’.

Some media coverage of FTX’s failure described effective philanthropy as “income for giving”—the belief, espoused by Bankman-Fried, that the best way to make a difference is to raise and donate as much money as possible. Charity. But this is only one aspect of the broader effective altruism movement.

At its core, effective altruism is the idea that people should use their resources in ways that benefit humanity. Followers try to look at their philanthropic donations and sometimes career choices through an independent, pragmatic lens and seek the best evidence-based solutions to the world’s pressing problems.

His guiding principles include trying to find the best ways to help humanity. making informed decisions about which solutions are most effective; And treating everyone’s well-being equally, even if that means prioritizing people and causes you’ve never and never will see for yourself. In other words, an effective ultrasonologist would probably recommend donating insecticide-treated bed nets to a non-profit to contribute to your local food pantry to prevent malaria in Sierra Leone, because bed nets are a cost-effective way to save more lives.

“It’s the idea that we should use our resources to do the best we can, and we should use science, evidence and the best research and analysis to do the best we can,” Josh Green, a psychology professor at Harvard University, told MarketWatch in a 2021 interview about the so-called “giving multiplier.” He said the Effective Altruism Project.

Effective almsgiving is not just a framework for charitable giving. It’s also a field of study, a social community whose members call themselves “EAs” and, for some, a lifestyle choice that guides career decisions and personal financial choices.

Where effective altruism comes from

The short answer is Oxford University, where a group of philosophy students coined the term effective altruism in 2011.

The movement is based on the philosophy of utilitarianism, that the best course of action is that which produces the greatest good, and considers the well-being of each person equally. The Oxford Philosophers created effective charity in the Australian philosopher Peter Singer. In his 1972 essay “Famine, Prosperity and Morality,” he argued that people in rich countries have a moral obligation to use their money to save lives. Less safe countries. (Singer later helped bring effective kindness into the mainstream in a 2013 TED Talk.)

The singer’s work took Oxford philosophy student Will MacAskill on a “moral journey”, he said in a BBC podcast interview. This led him to found two early EA groups with other Oxford philosophers: Giving What We Can, a group that encourages people to donate at least 10% of their income to effective charities, and 80,000 Hours, a non-profit organization for people who want to pursue high-impact careers that help solve the world’s most pressing problems. Both groups are now under the umbrella of the Center for Effective Altruism, which has offices in the UK and the US.

(The Center for Effective Altruism and Will McCaskill did not respond to requests for comment.)

Big names in effective altruism

Mac Askill, 35, has garnered the movement’s media attention and has become its true public face. In the year In 2015, he authored two books, “Doing Well,” which introduced the philosophy of effective altruism to a wider audience, and “Doing it Well,” which was published earlier this year and spawned a new iteration of “Long Lasting.” EA’s focus was on solving existential threats such as uncontrolled AI, pandemics, and nuclear war. The book was a bestseller, and Elon Musk Plug it in He called it a “close match to my philosophy” on Twitter.

MacAskill has personally advised Bankman-Fried (often referred to as SBF) since 2012 and is on the leadership team of SBF’s philanthropic group, The FTX Foundation’s Future Fund. The fund has given aid to most long-term causes, which is Bankman-Fried’s preferred branch of EA, he told The New Yorker in a lengthy profile of MacAskill three months before the FTX collapse.

MacAskill and other Future Fund executives resigned when FTX collapsed in November, saying “we have fundamental questions about the legality and integrity of the business that has been funding the FTX Foundation and the Future Fund.”

Effective altruism’s largest funders, Bankman-Fried and Facebook META;
Co-founder Dustin Moskowitz was a major supporter of the movement until FTX’s bankruptcy. Moskowitz and his wife, Carrie Tuna, gave more than $14 million to the Center for Effective Altruism this year, and reportedly donated $13.9 million to the FTX Foundation’s Future Fund.

Besides money, SBF’s rising popularity as a young crypto-billionaire has given him a new cache for effective positivism. His business and philanthropy are presented as one and the same: he founded FTX with the intention of donating to the world’s most effective charities, he says.

How much money is involved in effective altruism?

In the year In 2021, EA’s leadership estimates approximately $46 billion in future activity, including $16.5 billion from Bankman-Fried and FTX related sources and $22.5 billion from Moskowitz. Since then, the decline of SBF’s assets below $1 billion and the decline in Facebook’s stock price have significantly reduced Moskowitz’s wealth.

In the year In the context of total philanthropic giving in the U.S., which will reach $484.5 billion in 2021, effective altruism is a relatively small slice. Still, the fortunes seem to have been expanding rapidly until recently — so much so that MacAskill expressed concerns about how the movement’s cash flow should be handled.

“There is a big difference between thinking to do well and dreaming to make a profit,” he wrote on the 80,000 Hours website earlier this year. “If you start a company with the intention of making money, generally the worst you can do is go bankrupt; there’s a legal system that prevents you from taking on arbitrarily large debts. But, if you start a project with the intention of doing good, the amount of damage you can do is essentially limitless.”

The post has since been updated with a note: “Until recently, we featured Sam Bankman-Fried as a great example of someone to follow on our website with a highly influential career. To say the least, we no longer support this.

Which charities are supported by effective altruism?

The original focus of the effective altruism movement was on improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable, but has since expanded to include issues such as animal welfare and long-term issues. EAs often choose causes that they feel have been neglected by others because they believe they can have the greatest impact in those areas.

Examples of EA-aligned groups include the Malaria Coalition, Anti-Malaria Foundation, Helen Keller International and Give Direct, among others. One of the most well-known EA groups was founded in 2007 by two former investment bankers who wanted to be more effective with charitable giving.

Long-term research groups funded by the FTX Foundation’s Future Fund include ALLFED, which identifies new food sources to feed people after a global disaster, and the Alignment Research Center, which works to align artificial intelligence with human needs. “

How SBF is involved in effective altruism

Bankman-Fried, 30, came to Effective Envy long before he became involved in crypto trading. He discovered EA when he was a sophomore in college, and according to a Yahoo Finance profile, that was a “tipping point.” That same year, he met Mac Askill, who also first began to think about the idea of ​​”giving to receive.”

That idea was cemented in his younger years, when he was trying to decide whether to pursue a career at the Center for Effective Altruism and work on Wall Street, Yahoo Finance reported. At MacAskill’s suggestion, Bankman-Fried contacted EA-aligned charities about how he could best help them, the SBF told a BBC interviewer. He was a physics major at MIT then and could have a high-paying job after graduation. Banman-Fried has been told by nonprofits that he is not charismatic or approachable enough to be an activist for them. “Essentially they all said, ‘We prefer your money to your time,'” he told the BBC.

During a three-year post-college stint at Jane Street’s number trading firm, Banman-Fried gave more than half of his earnings to charity. Earlier this year, billionaires signed a pledge to give away most of their wealth.

Other successful altruists say that they give the most of what they get, and some say that they live very humbly. MacAskill said he lives on about $36,000 a year and donates more than half of his earnings. By doing so, he estimated that he was able to save thousands of lives. “I’m happy because of that,” he told the BBC. Because his life has a purpose.

Criticisms of effective altruism

Effective altruism’s emphasis on independence can leave some people cold. People who want to donate to research a disease that killed a loved one or to a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless in their city may feel judged when effective supporters feel that the causes are not worthy of funding.

The movement is no different. People at EA point out that its followers are mostly young, white, male and upper middle class, and come primarily from male-dominated fields, especially technology. Other EAs say the movement fails to take women into account when advising on the most productive careers.

Critics also say that effective volunteer funding does not address systemic problems such as racism and prejudice.

There has been little criticism of effective moderation following FTX’s failure. Anand Giridharadas, a frequent critic of the billionaire charity, called the EA movement a “con”. on Twitter last month. “It introduced ‘income to give’, our platocratic rule on steroids: earn as much money as you can, even in socially destructive ways, and then donate to soothe your soul,” he said.

A big question: What’s next for effective altruism?

At the very least, effective altruism has lost its biggest funders. Also, non-profit organizations that have received funding from the FTX Foundation’s Future Fund may be required to return grant funds as the disbursements expand.

The movement will have to raise its profile following a long and public relationship with Bankman-Fried, who has not been charged with any crime. An “angry” MacAskill He tweeted. Following the failure of FTX, attempting to distance effective altruism from its one-time benefactor.

I want to make it clear: If the participants cheat others and commit fraud (whether illegal or not) that could cost thousands of people their savings, they have completely abandoned the principles of an effective honest society.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *