The Most Good You Can Do

The Most Good You Can Do

How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically

Book - 2015
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The Most Good You Can Do develops the challenges Singer has made to those who donate to the arts, and to charities focused on helping our fellow citizens, rather than those for whom we can do the most good. Effective altruists are extending our knowledge of the possibilities of living less selfishly, and of allowing reason, rather than emotion, to determine how we live. The Most Good You Can Do offers new hope for our ability to tackle the world's most pressing problems.
Publisher: New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, 2015
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780300180275
0300180276
Branch Call Number: 171.8 SINGER
Characteristics: xiii, 211 pages ; 22 cm

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StarGladiator
Jan 28, 2019

Author/academic/prof is totally bogus given that he presents false premises.
Now, it is remotely [given his gig at Princeton, where the profs routinely parrot such nonsense, I'm being highly charitable now] possible he simply is too dull witted to understand for he exhibits a complete lack of any knowledge of financial history in the USA and finance in general.
Firstly, moving one's billions into foundations and trusts DOES NOT constitute philanthropy but actions to avoid paying taxes and to hide one's business activities as they are opaque to public scrutiny - - exactly why Thomas Picketty in his book on 21st century capitalsim, stated that he didn't research foundations and trusts given their private nature, such data wasn't forthcoming, et cetera!
Secondly, the actions of Buffet, long a tax avoider, and Gates, whose Gates Foundation-financed Oxitec released ostensibly Dengue-fighting mosquitoes at various international locales, and at each and every one there occurred a sudden, inexplicable Zika virus epidemic explosion [same type of mosquito carries both Dengue and Zika] negate some of the author's assertions. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the Gates Foundation is the primary donor to the World Health Organization [WHO], we will probably never know the actual epidemiology of the sudden and mysterious appearance of Zika everywhere Oxitec released those genetically engineered mosquitoes?
Thirdly, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie weren't such saintly philanthropists saving mankind as Singer appears to believe: Carnegie was an ultra-war profiteer, accumulating his original fortune during the Civil War from his position as Superintendent of Railways and Telegraphs, allowing him foreknowledge of where to purchase lands which were soon-to-be-purchased by his employer, the federal government, et cetera. Also, Carnegie sold war materiel [in violation of American laws] to Germany in World War I, and it appears in all probability that the vessel which sunk the Lusitania was sold to them from Carnegie's shipyards, then managed by a fellow well known today for his descendants' financial services, Schwab!
From congressional investigations following World War II we know that Rockefeller prolonged the mass murders of by secretly selling oil to Hitler's Third Reich [through Spain and Switzerland], allowing the war to last far longer.
Definitely not saintly philanthropists, simply typical sociopathic greedheads. . .

s
ScienceMommy
Mar 10, 2018

I do NOT like this book!
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Singer fails to challenge and reinforces the very paradigm that is creating so much tragedy in this world. He obviously believes that harms and suffering can be quantified economically, and this alone provides the only lens that matters. Furthermore, his calculations completely fail to take into account whole classes of harms.
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Singer gives as an example his student Matt Wage, who took Singer's ethic's class at Princeton which persuaded him that he could do more good taking a high-paying job on Wall Street, then continuing his study of ethics, because his Wall Street salary enabled him to donate more money to help others.
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This example completely omits the massive world-wide harms that Wall Street inflicts, and how someone with Matt's character joining Wall Street appears to sanction and contribute to those harms.
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This is the gist of, "Effective Altruism." It is a whole new level of justification for continuing to embrace harmful things.
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Just look at what has happened with Nick Cooney, Wayne Pacelle, and Paul Shapiro -- all leaders in the animal advocacy movement. Those who get the big picture of harms here -- were not surprised at all to see these men accused of misusing their positions in ways that harmed women -- because their advocacy on behalf of animals was similarly playing into and perpetuating harms there too...and yet Singer's perspective would have more of us work on Wall Street, and then donate as much as we could to keep people like Pacelle, Shapiro and Cooney empowered.
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Harmful actions must ALWAYS be challenged -- no matter how much good an organization or individual is also doing. The ends does NOT justify the means. If we want to create a peaceful and just society, we will not get there by using non-peaceful unjust methods. We must BE the change. Consider...if Donald Trump gave away half his assets to help poor people....would that mean we should give him a free pass on sexually assaulting women?
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This essay speaks a bit more to this:
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http://humanemyth.org/dominationgames.htm

v
vaidybala
Jan 21, 2016

Traditions like Hinduism and Buddhism for centuries have advocated Dharma means effectively Ethical Living, most have fallen on deaf ears (years! It is sad that this ancient topic is re-broadcast in a new bottle. I am sure the English speaking public will notice the repeated message. Thanks for Reading

b
bookwormjeph
Jul 09, 2015

Obviously I was drawn to this book due to it's title and theme and once I had read the first three chapters I didn't need to read anymore. Sure, I learned some things I didn't already know-the nuances of ethical living but a lot of it fairly repetitive and based on what seemed like an endless trotting out of case studies in an effort to keep ramming his point home.

t
TJ_77
Apr 28, 2015

Very well written. It helped me see how I could do much, much more good with my time and money. I did feel a bit judged at times, but the point of this book is to find out how you could help others better, and if you feel bad at parts, it's probably because you are having some self realizations... Excellent read, recommended.

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