Essays in Philosophy 18 (1):68-90 (2017)

Authors
Joshua Kissel
Northwestern University
Abstract
Leftwing critiques of philanthropy are not new and so it is unsurprising that the Effective Altruism movement, which regards philanthropy as one of its tools, has been a target in recent years. Similarly, some Effective Altruists have regarded anti-capitalist strategy with suspicion. This essay is an attempt at harmonizing Effective Altruism and the anti-capitalism. My attraction to Effective Altruism and anti-capitalism are motivated by the same desire for a better world and so personal consistency demands reconciliation. More importantly however, I think Effective Altruism will be less effective in realizing its own ends insofar as it fails to recognize that capitalism restricts the good we can do. Conversely, insofar as anti-capitalists fail to recognize the similarity in methods which underlie Effective Altruism thinking about the world, it too risks inefficiency or worse, total failure in replacing capitalism with a more humane economic system. I first argue that Effective Altruism and anti-capitalism are compatible in principle by looking at similarities between Effective Altruist theory and some Marxist writing. I then go on to show that the theoretic compatibility can be mirrored in practice. I demonstrate this by considering and replying to objections to anti-capitalism as they might be raised by Effective Altruists and by replying to objections to Effective Altruism as they might be raised by anti-capitalists. I conclude by suggesting that their reconciliation would lead to better outcomes from the perspective of a proponent of either view. In short, an “Anti-Capitalist Effective Altruism” is not just possible, it’s preferable.
Keywords political philosophy  Effective Altruism  Anti-Capitalism  marx  charity  altruism  philanthropy  capitalism  socialism  ethics
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DOI 10.7710/1526-0569.1573
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References found in this work BETA

Effective Altruism and its Critics.Iason Gabriel - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (3).
The Fallacy of Philanthropy.Paul Gomberg - 2002 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):29 - 65.

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Citations of this work BETA

Effective Altruism and Systemic Change.Antonin Broi - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (3):262-276.

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