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DOING GOOD BETTER
Eﬀective altruism asks: “HOW CAN I MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE I CAN?” and uses evidence & careful reasoning to try to ﬁnd an answer. It takes a scientiﬁc approach to doing good.
Just as SCIENCE consists of the HONEST AND IMPARTIAL ATTEMPT TO WORK OUT WHAT’S TRUE, and a commitment to believe the truth whatever that turns out to be… LEARN MORE
LEARN MORE …EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM consists of the HONEST AND IMPARTIAL ATTEMPT TO WORK OUT WHAT’S BEST FOR THE WORLD, and a commitment to do what’s best, whatever that turns out to be.
These 5 questions will guide you in your quest to ensure you’re making not just a diﬀerence, but the most diﬀerence you can. LEARN MORE
1 ! HOW MANY PEOPLE BENEFIT? AND BY HOW MUCH? LEARN MORE
OUTCOME We need to make hard decisions about who we help and who we don’t; that means thinking about how much beneﬁt is provided by diﬀerent activities. The quality-adjusted life year allows us to compare the impact of diﬀerent sorts of health programs. LEARN MORE
2 ! IS THIS THE MOST EFFECTIVE THING YOU CAN DO? LEARN MORE
IMPACT The very best health and education programs are hundreds of times better than “merely” very good programs. For example, smallpox eradication did so much good that it alone shows development aid to be highly cost-eﬀective on average. LEARN MORE
3 ! IS THIS AREA NEGLECTED? LEARN MORE
NEED Natural disasters get far more funding than ongoing causes of death and suﬀering such as disease; for that reason, disaster relief usually isn’t the most eﬀective use of funds. Diseases, like malaria, that aﬀect people in the developing world, get far less funding than conditions like cancer; for that reason you have a much bigger impact treating people with malaria than with cancer. LEARN MORE
? 4 ! WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED OTHERWISE? LEARN MORE
INEVITABLE This question helps us to avoid trying to do good works that would happen with or without our involvement. In careers like medicine, you’re sometimes simply doing good work that would have happened anyway. LEARN MORE
5 ! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF SUCCESS, AND HOW GOOD WOULD SUCCESS BE? LEARN MORE
REWARD Some activities—such as voting, entering politics, campaigning for systemic change, or mitigating risks of global catastrophe—are eﬀective not because they’re likely to make a diﬀerence but because their impact is so great if they do make a diﬀerence. LEARN MORE
"Beautifully written and extremely smart. DOING GOOD BETTER should be required reading for anyone interested in making the world better." —STEVEN LEVITT, Author of Freakonomics GET BOOK HERE