Back to List

Empathy seems well aligned with effective altruism – Cash in the News

From Sydney to Stanford, cash transfers remained part of the public conversation as Effective Altruism Australia launched with a discussion on what it means to give effectively, while in Stanford’s Social Innovation Review, several articles discuss cash in the context of empathy and evidence.


1. A Tour Of The Job-Free Future
Buzzfeed News, Cora Lewis, February 16, 2017
Earlier this month, eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar announced that his organization would be donating half a million dollars to a yearlong pilot program of basic income in Kenya, via the organization GiveDirectly. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes recently helped launch the “Economic Security Project,” a brain trust with a $10 million war chest dedicated to studying and bringing about a viable UBI in the United States.

2. No Strings Attached
SSIR, Corey Binns, Spring 2017
Some researchers believe unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) provide the answer. But skeptics have alleged that UCTs can do more harm than good. For instance, recipients can spend the money on frivolous temptations, or the cash can generate interpersonal conflicts. Since 2009, the nonprofit GiveDirectly has provided cash infusions to poor households in Kenya and Uganda

3. A Rational Gut Check
SSIR, Ben Soskis, Spring 2017
The binary opposition between the head and the heart that Bloom sometimes sets up is the book’s weakest pillar. Certainly, many of the leaders of the EA movement would question this dichotomy and instead stress the compatibility of strong passions with rational deliberation. GiveDirectly, the charity that transfers cash directly to the global poor and is a favorite of the EA movement, has recently unveiled a version of the sponsorship system that allows donors to develop a personal connection with the specific individuals their gifts are helping. In many respects, empathy seems well aligned with effective altruism.


4. Effective altruism: how triage can help you support the right charity
Sydney Morning Herald, Alistair Quinn, February 17, 2017
Yet a small amount of money can make a huge difference. When I discovered effective altruism, I realised it offered a different approach, so I could rest assured my donation was actually helping save lives. Effective Altruism Australia decides on the most effective charity efforts around the world, through careful, independent, rigorous analysis. You can’t knock any philanthropy when it’s for a worthy cause, but are most people spending their money as wisely as they could?

5. Is Australia handling charity the wrong way?
ABC News Breakfast, Patrick Wood, February 15, 2017
Philosopher and philanthropist Peter Singer will officially launch the Australian branch of Effective Altruism at an event in Melbourne on Friday night and said the aim of the group was to take a scientific approach to charity. “Effective Altruism is an emerging worldwide movement of people who, on the one hand, want to make the world a better place … but they want to do it on the basis of evidence about what really is going to be the most effective thing they can do,” he told ABC News Breakfast.


6. Canada is betting on a universal basic income to help cities gutted by manufacturing job loss
Quartz, Rebecca Fortin, February 20, 2017
That’s exactly what the Canadian province of Ontario plans to do, and it’s already causing a ruckus. The Liberal Party currently in control of the provincial government aims to roll out a pilot for a “universal basic income” program in three cities in the spring of 2017. While it has yet to identify the three guinea pigs, hints of what the system will look like can be found in a discussion paper authored last August by Hugh Segal, a former member of the Canadian Senate and now head of the University of Toronto’s Massey College.

7. Basic income pilot considered in Glasgow
BBC, February 16, 2017
“The learning that could be gained from a Glasgow experimental approach to basic income, could inform the potential for the Basic Income Model to alleviate poverty and build economic and social inclusion.

8. Universal basic income: Money for nothing or efficient equalizer?
Journalist’s Resource, David Trilling, February 15, 2017
The idea has gained momentum in recent years, especially in some of the West’s advanced economies. For example, in 2016, Finland, a number of cities in Holland, and Ontario were all preparing experiments similar to a guaranteed income. Utrecht, a Dutch city, is exploring a plan to give selected social assistance recipients about $1,000 per month with no strings attached. But because the cash transfers only target welfare recipients, the program is a far cry from a true UBI, for now. New Zealand is also debating a UBI.