Effective Altruism

Effective Altruism, W sometimes "EA", is both a philosophy and a social movement. It aims to use both reason and evidence to work out what ways will be most effective to help people in need, striving for an evidence-based approach to altruism.

A strong emphasis is placed upon measurement and research, where possible. However, it is acknowledged that not everything of value can be measured.

A three-factor framework for focus area selection considers:

  • Importance: What is the scale of the problem in the area? If all problems in the area were solved, how much better would the world be?
  • Tractability: How solvable is the problem in this area?
  • Neglectedness: How neglected is the area?

Effectiveness for a particular intervention or charity considers various factors including the Importance-Tractability-Neglectedness framework, above. "Low administration costs" is not considered an important criterion, by itself, in part because the administration may include very important work including monitoring and reporting.)

As a movement, there is no authoritative organization, but several prominent ones are:

  • GiveWell – assesses charities for effectiveness.
  • 80,000 Hours – guidance on having an impact through one's career.
  • Giving What We Can – promoting giving pledges and "earning to giving" as one legitimate and valuable way to have a positive impact.

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