Author: Christian O'Connor

The Problem with the Effective Altruism Campaign

Man is no Aristotelian god contemplating all existence at one glance ~Walter Lippmann I do not question the intentions of the effective altruism movement, as its followers’ goal is simply to do good better. I do doubt that more good will follow from it gaining more traction. This critique by no means denounces meliorism, the belief that the world can be made better by human effort. More people have been lifted out of poverty than at any other time in human history as the unintended consequence of individuals pursuing their own self-interest under the free market system of the past two centuries. Human efforts can and surely do accrue social benefits, even when there is no intent to do so. However, I believe the manner in which the effective altruism movement is attempting to make the world better is fundamentally flawed given the highly fragmented nature of knowledge in a world with seven billion people. Before delving into my critique, I will present the rationale of effective altruism in the terms of one of its …