Rational Altruist

Adventures of a would-be do-gooder.

Month: June, 2013

Against moral advocacy

Sometimes people talk about changing long-term social values as an altruistic intervention; for example, trying to make people care more about animals, or God, or other people, or ancestors, etc., in the hopes that these changes might propagate forward (say because altruistic people work to create a more altruistic world) and eventually have a direct effect on how society uses available resources. I think this is unlikely to be a reasonable goal, not necessarily because it is not possible (though it does seem far-fetched), but because even if it were possible it would not be particularly desirable. I wanted to spend a post outlining my reasoning.

Disclaimer: this is a bit of an odd post. The impatient reader is recommended to skip it.¬† Read the rest of this entry »


The best reason to give later

I’ve written about saving vs. giving before, focusing on the issue of interest rates vs. returns on good deeds. But for now, I think there is a much more compelling reason to save: there is a very good chance that the best giving opportunities we can identify in the near future will be better than the best giving opportunities we can identify this year.

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My outlook

This will be a relatively short post, sketching my overall view of valuable altruistic endeavors. Read the rest of this entry »