For me, it boils down to this: There are plenty of other things I could do with the money I give away to effective charities each year. But can I think of anything better to do with it? No. It feels like the best possible use of my money. I'm a lot happier giving large than living large.
If universities are the bellwether of social change, as they have often been in times past, then the enthusiasm and captivation that EA has brought out at Harvard and other institutions of higher learning may well trickle to the rest of the population.
Nir Eyal is Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine in the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School and at the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
I think that if we're open to being challenged and eager to contribute, each of us will find that we can make a measurable difference by donating either money or time to bettering the lives of those who live with so much less than ourselves.
When we consider how to ensure that our well-intentioned actions have meaningful impact, ethical reflections take on a central and critical importance. They force us to reconsider our priorities, and to question some of the assumptions our society has inherited from past generations.
There are countless charities to choose from, and many do good work. But a precious few can say they dramatically improve or save people's lives in a cost-effective way, and then back up their claims with hard data.