This article from The Washington Post looks at the rise of effective altruism, which seeks to pair philosopher Peter Singer's argument about our moral duty to engage in a level of giving some may consider extreme with data about charitable efficacy:
"Oxford professor William MacAskill, who helped found the movement, estimates that if you’re a one-person U.S. household earning more than $58,000, you’re in the top 1 percent in the world, even accounting for global cost differences. Since a dollar means far more to the less fortunate than to those living in such comfort, effective altruists donate a large percentage of their income. And to further harness that dollar, they seek out causes that most efficiently save lives. They land on ones that many of us haven’t considered before, especially since those lives tend to be on the other side of the world, or nonhuman — or yet to be lived. The movement isn’t just about donations. It’s a worldview and a way of life that aims to bring rationality to what people choose to care about and how they spend their time. ... In an influential 1972 article, Singer posed an argument that is now the movement’s equivalent of a biblical story: Pretend that you’re walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning, with no one else around. Most people would agree that you should save the child, even it if means ruining your clothes. Children, he points out, are “drowning in ponds” all over the world — 5.3 million people younger than 5 died in 2018, most from preventable causes. ... Think someone who donates $40,000 to train a guide dog for a blind person is generous? Sure, but, as Singer has noted, for that amount you could help several hundred blind people in a developing country get trachoma surgery, an inexpensive procedure that allows them to see. ... Amid the coronavirus pandemic, for instance, many have found it charitable to order from local restaurants to keep them in business. 'Wouldn’t it be better if they took that and donated it to an effective charity?' Singer argues. 'Because there are still people dying of malaria....' Critics ask, how do you possibly measure the greatest good? Doesn’t it require valuing strangers as much as one’s family? Doesn’t it treat mankind as one impersonal mass and ignore the individual? ... Isn’t it better if an art-loving rich person gives to a local museum rather than buying a yacht? But an EA might argue that society is paying for that contribution, in the form of a tax deduction. And can’t wealthy nonprofits find other means of making up the difference — like a museum selling a lesser-known work that it doesn’t display anyway? The arguments can go on and on."
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