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  • Writer's pictureRicky

I got Published


You can check out a free version of my paper “Mutual Aid as Effective Altruism” here.

(The final, professionally edited and typeset version is hidden behind this paywall. We’ve talked about this problem before...)

So real briefly, what’s the paper about?

(This is related, I promise.)

I argue that effective altruists have gotten so focused on donating to charities that can prove how efficiently they’ll use the money that they’ve become politically short-sighted.

As a result, they’re stuck on what I call the firefighter’s treadmill, a trap where you keep running from crisis to crisis chasing the next highest quantifiable marginal gain. So you never quite get around to thinking about the much more opaque question of how you might transform the political and economic structures that underlie all these crises...

Why are you running around so much?

Even as attention and money has shifted from bednets to AI safety, the real problem is that effective altruists are too busy optimizing their own impacts to reckon with the obviously political nature of the very project of reimagining and remaking the world for the better. But we need to think together about the ultimate values that matter, and start experimenting politically about how we might instrumentally achieve those in practice.

I’ve written about effective altruism on this blog before, but now I have a fuller articulation of those thoughts in print. Again, neat!

I’m also working on a public-facing book that elaborates these ideas in print; you can find out more about that project here!

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