The members of the effective altruism community are interested in rationally identifying the most cost-effective ways to make the world a better place, involving both the usual metrics by which we might judge “better,” but also an analysis of whether or not those usual metrics are in fact helpful. Tear it all down and build it up again from first principles. Particularly at the large scale, a great deal of the status quo in philanthropy is wasted effort, virtue signaling, or even actively counterproductive. There are many ostensibly charitable organizations that, at best, do no good, and at worst exacerbate the problems they engage with. There are many ways to choose poorly as an individual donor. Philanthropy as an institution and as a personal choice can definitely be improved. The effective altruists are on to something there.

effective altruism community

Quite some time ago I decided that the best and most effective form of philanthropy takes the form of supporting efforts that have a good chance of producing progress towards the medical control of aging. The rationale here is simple, possibly unfashionably so. Firstly, aging causes by far the greatest amount of human suffering and death. Secondly, aging is a tractable problem,


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