Effective Altruism

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In my Global Engagement class, we watched the TED Talk “The Why and How of Effective Altruism” by Peter Singer, where Singer discusses the importance of charity and the ways in which to do it effectively. My main agreement with Singer’s argument is that it is important to help and empathize with others, but this is so much more easily said than done. Because I have never been fully financially independent, the idea of donating even a small portion of my meager savings makes me cringe. I know that I am likely living a much more comfortable life than those that Singer addressed as needing help, but from my perspective, this is money that I earned, and I need it. Despite scholarships, grants, and financial aid, I have already had to take out a few thousand dollars to cover my first year at OU, so a hefty chunk of “my” money is borrowed, and for me, it is stressful knowing that there are many more expenses to come if I am to proceed with my education.

A huge part of me wholeheartedly believes that we are all obligated to help people in need, especially when we are able to do so while maintaining our own quality of life. I feel that public figures, specifically celebrities, should almost be required to donate some of their wealth. I continue to be in awe that these people are paid more than doctors and scientists and teachers, when their sole purpose is to entertain, and besides their intermittent efforts to use their fame and affluence for benefit, they serve mainly to look pretty and to produce superficial goods (movies, music, television, etc.) I think that much of life is pure chance, and depending on the uncontrollable happenings of the world, some will fair better than others depending on a slew of factors. Because of this, those that are more fortunate should absolutely help those that are not, but when it comes down to actually doing so, it’s more complicated.

Right now, I don’t feel that I am in a position to help monetarily, but I fully believe that using my money to help others will ultimately fulfill me more than any purchase ever could. So, when I have settled into a career and found financial stability, I fully intend on researching and finding ways to help. The best thing I can do now is push forward with school and make myself better in order to benefit others.

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