Has the FTX Debacle Discredited Effective Altruism?
Some observers have linked the alleged financial malpractice by the cryptocurrency magnate Sam Bankman-Fried to ideas widely held within the “effective altruism” movement, which Bankman-Fried says inspired him. But effective altruists are right: sometimes the end really does justify the means.
PRINCETON – In the wake of the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and amid reports that FTX’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, diverted billions of dollars of clients’ funds, some observers have linked the alleged financial malpractice to ideas widely held within the “effective altruism” movement, which Bankman-Fried says inspired him. More specifically, they point to the ethical view that the end justifies the means.
Effective altruism holds that one of our aims should be to do as much good as we can. In pursuing this goal, effective altruists believe, we should use reason and evidence to guide us. We should draw on research to find which charities do the most good, per dollar received.
In keeping with these ideas, I founded The Life You Can Save, a charity that encourages giving and curates a list of the most effective charities aiding people in extreme poverty. Another effective altruism website, 80,000 Hours, provides guidance on choosing a career that will enable one to do good. Included among a range of options is “earning to give” – seeking to earn well, not in order to live lavishly, but to be able to donate more to effective charities.
To continue reading, register now.
Already have an account? Log in