“Giving What We Can” Calls for Sacrificing What We Have

An American who considers all the places he might have been born will conclude (if he values his life and happiness) that he was lucky to have been born in America, the Land of Opportunity, the Land of Liberty. Those born anywhere in the industrialized (or even semi-industrialized) world will conclude they were lucky to be born where they were, relative to the impoverished and oppressed regions of the earth.

But is it unfair that you were born in America or in another industrial nation? The answer, according to the charity Giving What We Can (recently discussed by NPR) is yes. The charity argues:

[W]e really are part of a very small and wealthy elite—vastly more wealthy than the poorest half of the world’s population, who all live on less than $4 per day.

Did we earn this position? No. Of those born in the United States, almost all will be in the world’s richest 20%, and control more than 80% of the world’s income. This is in large part because they were lucky to be born in the right place. Money is thus distributed both unequally and unfairly around the world. We tend not to notice the unfairness, but for those born into countries where hard work gives only a tiny fraction of our rewards, this injustice is painfully apparent.

The claim here is that because we were born into a wealthy nation, the fact that we have wealth is unfair. The obvious moral conclusion following from that claim is that those with more wealth have a moral duty to (as Obama has put it) “spread the wealth around.” The charity states that, to serve the poor, “we must be prepared to make some real sacrifice.”

The charity calls on people to give a minimum of 10 percent of their wealth to the “developing world,” but that, implies the charity, is the level for the morally weak. The ideal is for you to “work out the smallest amount of money that you can realistically live on, and to give away everything above that level.”

Although the charity claims that giving as much as you “realistically” can will give you a “warm glow,” in fact the altruistic morality at the heart of the charity is a demand for perpetual guilt and self-sacrifice. The charity’s handy calculator reveals that if, as a single person, you earn $50,000 per year, you make “43 times that of the typical person.” So, by the charity’s own stated standards, until you give away 97.7 percent of your income, you are committing the injustice of inequality by having more wealth than others.

A key fallacy committed by Giving What We Can is to strip justice out of the context that gives rise to the concept. (Ayn Rand called this the “stolen concept fallacy.”) Justice means giving to others their due; it pertains to such things as recognizing the virtues of our friends and associates, paying our trading partners the agreed price, and punishing criminals for wrongdoing. If one individual—or most individuals in a given nation—produce enormous wealth, they do not thereby commit an injustice; rather, they commit an act of virtue: Wealth is a requirement of human life. The idea their virtuous production implies a duty to share their wealth with those who have not produced it is an unfounded, senseless assertion.

A given individual may have good reasons for contributing money to a charity, not as a matter of self-sacrifice but as a matter of self-interest. If a person self-interestedly wants to give to charity and can afford to do so, then giving it does not constitute a personal sacrifice. In such a case, the charity supports his values; thus, the charitable contribution is morally appropriate.

Regarding the most impoverished regions of the earth, the fundamental problem there is not a lack of wealth redistribution. Invariably the main problem is the lack of any kind of stable, rights-respecting government. Although handouts may help some of the world’s poor in the short run, what the oppressed poor really need is the creation of governments that respect their rights, which would foster economic development and attract foreign investment by profit-seeking businesses. Self-sacrificially redistributing wealth might give committed altruists a perverse “warm glow,” but it is immoral, and it does nothing to improve the long-term prospects of the poor.

It is true that those born in America are the cultural and economic heirs of philosophers, statesmen, and industrialists such as John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and J. D. Rockefeller—whose ideas and innovations led to the creation of enormous wealth across America. We should neither feel guilty about that nor apologize for our wealth. We should instead encourage people of other nations to establish rights-respecting governments, which will in turn give rise to economic prosperity.

Fundamentally, the world’s poor need to throw off the morality of altruism—the morality of self-sacrifice and unearned guilt—and embrace the morality of rational self-interest—the morality of self-esteem and the proud pursuit of one’s values. And if people in wealthy, industrialized countries wish to help the poor do that, the best thing we can do is understand this truth ourselves and advocate it.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

    “Although handouts may help some of the world’s poor in the short run, what the oppressed poor really need is the creation of governments that respect their rights, which would foster economic development and attract foreign investment by profit-seeking businesses.”

    This is true, but the real reason the “third world” is oppressed can only be attributed to their own refusal to consider any kind of different form of government. Their ideas all boil down to either socialism, tribalism, theocracy or a hybrid of them.

    So essentially they are stuck in their own goddamn mess. Justice according to one’s actions indeed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

      This is a pretty ridiculous generalisation. Many developing nations are now democracies, though admittedly not all are stable or fully-functioning (is the US government fully-functioning? Not really).

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

        I would hardly deem the non-prosperous nations of the world “developing” – that is an inaccurate term favored by the U.N. with no correlation in reality.

        As for embracing collectivism (in any of its forms), democracy or dictatorship does not matter – the end result is the same.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

          It seems fairly reasonable to describe a country that is non-prosperous but with a steadily growing economy as ‘developing’. Perhaps it’s less suitable for countries that have basically stagnated, but I believe the majority of poor countries have developed to an extent, compared to, say, 50 years ago, even if some are currently at a standstill.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

            My point is that lack-of-prosperity and development has no correlation, which makes the dichotomy of “developing nations” vs. “industralized nations” incorrect.

            Certainly, some poor nations are developing themselves (e.g. Botswana), others are stagnating or recessing (e.g. Zimbabwe); same thing with rich nations (contrast the U.S.A. and Europe vs. Hong Kong and Singapore).

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

            Fair point; I’d agree that the terminology used is often simplistic and sometimes descriptively inacccurate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

    “Although handouts may help some of the world’s poor in the short run, what the oppressed poor really need is the creation of governments that respect their rights, which would foster economic development and attract foreign investment by profit-seeking businesses.”

    This is true, but the real reason the “third world” is oppressed can only be attributed to their own refusal to consider any kind of different form of government. Their ideas all boil down to either socialism, tribalism, theocracy or a hybrid of them.

    So essentially they are stuck in their own goddamn mess. Justice according to one’s actions indeed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

      This is a pretty ridiculous generalisation. Many developing nations are now democracies, though admittedly not all are stable or fully-functioning (is the US government fully-functioning? Not really).

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

        I would hardly deem the non-prosperous nations of the world “developing” – that is an inaccurate term favored by the U.N. with no correlation in reality.

        As for embracing collectivism (in any of its forms), democracy or dictatorship does not matter – the end result is the same.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

          It seems fairly reasonable to describe a country that is non-prosperous but with a steadily growing economy as ‘developing’. Perhaps it’s less suitable for countries that have basically stagnated, but I believe the majority of poor countries have developed to an extent, compared to, say, 50 years ago, even if some are currently at a standstill.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

            My point is that lack-of-prosperity and development has no correlation, which makes the dichotomy of “developing nations” vs. “industralized nations” incorrect.

            Certainly, some poor nations are developing themselves (e.g. Botswana), others are stagnating or recessing (e.g. Zimbabwe); same thing with rich nations (contrast the U.S.A. and Europe vs. Hong Kong and Singapore).

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

            Fair point; I’d agree that the terminology used is often simplistic and sometimes descriptively inacccurate.

  • Anonymous

    Are this charity’s ideas about justice coming from John Rawls? Same for Obama’s stuff about “you didn’t do it yourself”?

  • Mel_M

    Are this charity’s ideas about justice coming from John Rawls? Same for Obama’s stuff about “you didn’t do it yourself”?

  • Elissa Fleming

    I think this article is based on a misread of Giving What We Can. The word “justice” rarely appears on givingwhatwecan.org and is never actually named as a reason to give; the organization’s ethical roots are more consequentialist/utilitarian. The question of the relationship between giving and self-interest is pretty well addressed in the article “Giving and Happiness”, which might interest your readers: http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/why-give/giving-and-happiness

    (disclosure: I manage social media as a volunteer for GWWC, which is how I happened to see this article on Twitter.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

      Based on the quotes in the article above, I would draw the conclusion that this particular charity is egalitarian in its ideology – which either manifests itself in altuistic calls for self-sacrifice or nihlist claims of destruction to even-the-score.

      • Elissa Fleming

        I think we’d have to clarify exactly in what sense you’re using the word “egalitarian” before we could come to any agreement on whether GWWC is or isn’t. I would encourage you to read the materials on givingwhatwecan.org to get a clearer idea of the organization’s ideology than this article presents. Peter Singer’s 1972 paper “Famine, Affluence and Morality” lays out the argument pretty clearly (though I doubt you’ll find it appealing): http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/why-give/essays-on-giving/famine-affluence-and-morality

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

          I use the term “egalitarianism” as synonymous to an ideology of wealth-redistribution; the goal of such a system being to redistribute wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots” as a matter of principle.

          • Elissa Fleming

            I think you’ll find, then, that GWWC isn’t. I took the pledge not because I think it’s inherently wrong for me to have more money than somebody else, but because I think that saving a life is the best use for my next $2000 or so.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

            I guess that means we have different values. No matter, your choice of spending is yours alone and no concern of mine.

  • Elissa Fleming

    I think this article is based on a misread of Giving What We Can. The word “justice” rarely appears on givingwhatwecan.org and is never actually named as a reason to give; the organization’s ethical roots are more consequentialist/utilitarian. The question of the relationship between giving and self-interest is pretty well addressed in the article “Giving and Happiness”, which might interest your readers: http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/why-give/giving-and-happiness

    (disclosure: I manage social media as a volunteer for GWWC, which is how I happened to see this article on Twitter, but these views are my own.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

      Based on the quotes in the article above, I would draw the conclusion that this particular charity is egalitarian in its ideology – which either manifests itself in altuistic calls for self-sacrifice or nihlist claims of destruction to even-the-score.

      • Elissa Fleming

        I think we’d have to clarify exactly in what sense you’re using the word “egalitarian” before we could come to any agreement on whether GWWC is or isn’t. I would encourage you to read the materials on givingwhatwecan.org to get a clearer idea of the organization’s ideology than this article presents. Peter Singer’s 1972 paper “Famine, Affluence and Morality” lays out the argument pretty clearly (though I doubt you’ll find it appealing): http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/why-give/essays-on-giving/famine-affluence-and-morality

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

          I use the term “egalitarianism” as synonymous to an ideology of wealth-redistribution; the goal of such a system being to redistribute wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots” as a matter of principle.

          • Elissa Fleming

            I think you’ll find, then, that GWWC isn’t. I took the pledge not because I think it’s inherently wrong for me to have more money than somebody else, but because I think that saving a life is the best use for my next $2000 or so.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

            I guess that means we have different values. No matter, your choice of spending is yours alone and no concern of mine.

  • C. A.

    GWWC appears to be utilitarian, and does not seem to predicate its claims on anything to do with fairness. Somewhat disappointed that this rather basic point was missed.

  • C. A.

    GWWC appears to be utilitarian, and does not seem to predicate its claims on anything to do with fairness. Somewhat disappointed that this rather basic point was missed.

  • Daniel Gastfriend

    The fact that you disagree with the unfairness argument, and that hand-outs cannot reverse some of the underlying causes of poverty, does not lead to the conclusion that redistributing your wealth altruistically is “immoral.” Moreover, the notion that the poor “need to throw off the morality of altriusm… and embrace the morality of rational self-interest” operates under offensive assumptions that the article makes no attempt to prove. The article offers no evidence one way or another about what the poor believe, but this statement implies that the poor are holding themselves back simply because they don’t see the value of rational self-interest.

    Reasonable minds may disagree about the justice versus unfairness concepts. This doesn’t negate the overwhelmingly more compelling argument for a moral imperative to give to the poor: the fact that a relatively small amount of money (arguably between $2,000-$3,000 if you give to top charities; see givewell.org) can save someone’s life in the developing world, whereas it can’t produce anything morally comparable in the developed world. (I agree that handouts don’t fundamentally solve the causes of poverty, but well-targeted donations can save lives and incrementally help raise income-generating capacity for the people who benefit.) I may have earned my income, but that doesn’t change the fact that by choosing to spend another few thousand dollars on myself (say, for a new expensive laptop) I am choosing not to save someone who will otherwise die from preventable causes. If you believe that we should save someone’s life if we can by sacrificing something not nearly morally equivalent (Peter Singer’s drowning child argument), then Giving What We Can’s philosophy still holds true, regardless of where you fall on the fairness/justice spectrum.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

      “The notion that the poor “need to throw off the morality of altriusm… and embrace the morality of rational self-interest” operates under offensive assumptions that the article makes no attempt to prove.”

      This being an Objectivst publication, maybe you should try to make yourself familiar with Ayn Rand’s theory of Rational Self-Interest.

      I recommend the book “The Virtue of Selfishness”, on the premise that you actually have an interest in reading.

      Or you can just use the “Site Search” function on top of the website to find the appropriate article.

      • Daniel Gastfriend

        My comment was not attacking the theory of rational self-interest per say, but rather the assumption that the poor do not see the value of self-interested action. Where is the evidence that the poor do not see the value of self interest, self esteem, and the proud pursuit of one’s values?

      • Daniel Gastfriend

        My comment was not attacking the theory of rational self-interest per say, but rather the assumption that the poor do not see the value of self-interested action. Where is the evidence that the poor do not see the value of self interest, self esteem, and the proud pursuit of one’s values?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

          The lack (and vilification) of self-interest in non-proserous nations is evident in the absence (and resistance) in Laisse-Faire Capitalist society, which is the socio-economic system correlating to rational self-interest.

          As stated in my comment below, such nations have consistently embraced collectivism as their alternative, and have reaped the results of that choice ever since.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

            That hardly means the poor lack self-interest. It could simply mean they lack the economic knowledge/understanding that a laissez-faire capitalist society correlates to self-interest.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

            It is not my view that “the poor” is an homogenous group. In non-prosperous nations, there does indeed exist some individuals who are more ambitious and self-interested, overall on the outlook for a better way of life.

            Such individuals are not content in living their life in a backward nation endorsed by their peers. As a result, their most common course of action is to emigrate to a nation that is more likely to make their life better. This almost always means immigration from a more collectivst nation to a more individualist nation (meaning: a transition from statism to capitalism).

            Of course, no one nation is completly capitalist as of date, but some are more so than others. Nonetheless, open borders does help individuals who wish to achieve their goals for a better life, and leaves the rest of “the poor” to live in their Utopia of Simplicity (“simplicity” being the modern euphemism when endorsing poverty).

  • Daniel Gastfriend

    The fact that you disagree with the unfairness argument, and that hand-outs cannot reverse some of the underlying causes of poverty, does not lead to the conclusion that redistributing your wealth altruistically is “immoral.” Moreover, the notion that the poor “need to throw off the morality of altriusm… and embrace the morality of rational self-interest” operates under offensive assumptions that the article makes no attempt to prove. The article offers no evidence one way or another about what the poor believe, but this statement implies that the poor are holding themselves back simply because they don’t see the value of rational self-interest.

    Reasonable minds may disagree about the justice versus unfairness concepts. This doesn’t negate the overwhelmingly more compelling argument for a moral imperative to give to the poor: the fact that a relatively small amount of money (arguably between $2,000-$3,000 if you give to top charities; see givewell.org) can save someone’s life in the developing world, whereas it can’t produce anything morally comparable in the developed world. (I agree that handouts don’t fundamentally solve the causes of poverty, but well-targeted donations can save lives and incrementally help raise income-generating capacity for the people who benefit.) I may have earned my income, but that doesn’t change the fact that by choosing to spend another few thousand dollars on myself (say, for a new expensive laptop) I am choosing not to save someone who will otherwise die from preventable causes. If you believe that we should save someone’s life if we can by sacrificing something not nearly morally equivalent (Peter Singer’s drowning child argument), then Giving What We Can’s philosophy still holds true, regardless of where you fall on the fairness/justice spectrum.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

      “The notion that the poor “need to throw off the morality of altriusm… and embrace the morality of rational self-interest” operates under offensive assumptions that the article makes no attempt to prove.”

      This being an Objectivst publication, maybe you should try to make yourself familiar with Ayn Rand’s theory of Rational Self-Interest.

      I recommend the book “The Virtue of Selfishness”, on the premise that you actually have an interest in reading.

      Or you can just use the “Site Search” function on top of the website to find the appropriate article.

      • Daniel Gastfriend

        My comment was not attacking the theory of rational self-interest per say, but rather the assumption that the poor do not see the value of self-interested action. Where is the evidence that the poor do not see the value of self interest, self esteem, and the proud pursuit of one’s values?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

          The lack (and vilification) of self-interest in non-proserous nations is evident in the absence (and resistance) in Laisse-Faire Capitalist society, which is the socio-economic system correlating to rational self-interest.

          As stated in my comment below, such nations have consistently embraced collectivism as their alternative, and have reaped the results of that choice ever since.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

            That hardly means the poor lack self-interest. It could simply mean they lack the economic knowledge/understanding that a laissez-faire capitalist society correlates to self-interest.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

            It is not my view that “the poor” is an homogenous group. In non-prosperous nations, there does indeed exist some individuals who are more ambitious and self-interested, overall on the outlook for a better way of life.

            Such individuals are not content in living their life in a backward nation endorsed by their peers. As a result, their most common course of action is to emigrate to a nation that is more likely to make their life better. This almost always means immigration from a more collectivst nation to a more individualist nation (meaning: a transition from statism to capitalism).

            Of course, no one nation is completly capitalist as of date, but some are more so than others. Nonetheless, open borders does help individuals who wish to achieve their goals for a better life, and leaves the rest of “the poor” to live in their Utopia of Simplicity (“simplicity” being the modern euphemism when endorsing poverty).

  • Alice R

    I think this article takes quite a simplistic and misguided view of charity. Giving What We Can recommends the most effective charities which have the highest impact and which have proven positive long term effects on things like education and economy. How can individuals suffering from serious diseases like Malaria, who have no access to education to know how to help themselves, be expected to engage with “the morality of self-esteem and the proud pursuit of one’s values”? Where’s the pride in being left to die of a preventable disease that you don’t have the means to cure yourself of?

    And where are these rights-respecting govts going to come from? Only a healthy, literate population can fight for that kind of change.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

      The “poor nations” of the world could and should eradicate malaria the way the U.S.A. did it in the 1930s, which is not outside their grasp by any stretch.

      • Elissa Fleming

        Unfortunately one tool the USA used, DDT, is no longer as effective due to resistance in mosquitoes. At any rate, I don’t think we disagree on this point (though I’m a little surprised to see you come out in favor of FDR and the TVA).

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

          I am not in favor of FDR nor any of his alphabet agencies, and am convinced that government intervention is and always has been an inferior approach.

          However, despite this, the overall operating plan was sound and skillfully executed, and in the end achieved its intended result: eradication of malaria in the U.S.A.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

          Besides, malaria was nowhere near as endemic in the USA as it is in Africa and parts of Asia; the American climate isn’t as favourable to mosquitoes.

          (see, for example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15155980
          “Due to the superior capacity of many tropical mosquitoes as vectors of malaria, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, antimalaria interventions conducted in the tropics face greater challenges than were faced by formerly endemic nations in more temperate climes.”)

  • Alice R

    I think this article takes quite a simplistic and misguided view of charity. Giving What We Can recommends the most effective charities which have the highest impact and which have proven positive long term effects on things like education and economy. How can individuals suffering from serious diseases like Malaria, who have no access to education to know how to help themselves, be expected to engage with “the morality of self-esteem and the proud pursuit of one’s values”? Where’s the pride in being left to die of a preventable disease that you don’t have the means to cure yourself of?

    And where are these rights-respecting govts going to come from? Only a healthy, literate population can fight for that kind of change.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

      The “poor nations” of the world could and should eradicate malaria the way the U.S.A. did it in the 1930s, which is not outside their grasp by any stretch.

      • Elissa Fleming

        Unfortunately one tool the USA used, DDT, is no longer as effective due to resistance in mosquitoes. At any rate, I don’t think we disagree on this point (though I’m a little surprised to see you come out in favor of FDR and the TVA).

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

          I am not in favor of FDR nor any of his alphabet agencies, and am convinced that government intervention is and always has been an inferior approach.

          However, despite this, the overall operating plan was sound and skillfully executed, and in the end achieved its intended result: eradication of malaria in the U.S.A.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

          Besides, malaria was nowhere near as endemic in the USA as it is in Africa and parts of Asia; the American climate isn’t as favourable to mosquitoes.

          (see, for example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15155980
          “Due to the superior capacity of many tropical mosquitoes as vectors of malaria, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, antimalaria interventions conducted in the tropics face greater challenges than were faced by formerly endemic nations in more temperate climes.”)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

    “The idea their virtuous production implies a duty to share their wealth with those who have not produced it is an unfounded, senseless assertion.”

    I’m involved with Giving What We Can because I believe poor people in poor countries are able to generate their own wealth, but given the effects of malaria, AIDS and particular ecological and political climates, they have not yet had the opportunity to generate sufficient wealth to get out of a poverty trap. Supporting the most cost-effective charities that have proven their worth is a way to help achieve this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sharp/517025938 Matt Sharp

    “The idea their virtuous production implies a duty to share their wealth with those who have not produced it is an unfounded, senseless assertion.”

    I’m involved with Giving What We Can because I believe poor people in poor countries are able to generate their own wealth, but given the effects of malaria, AIDS and particular ecological and political climates, they have not yet had the opportunity to generate sufficient wealth to get out of a poverty trap. Supporting the most cost-effective charities that have proven their worth is a way to help achieve this.

  • Rupert McCallum

    This article is based on a misunderstanding of what motivates people to join Giving What We Can. They do not think that it makes their lives worse. They are motivated by a genuine desire to try to prevent suffering. It is not an act of self-sacrifice. It would be perfectly consistent for a rational egoist to join Giving What We Can if reducing suffering was one of their values.

  • Rupert McCallum

    This article is based on a misunderstanding of what motivates people to join Giving What We Can. They do not think that it makes their lives worse. They are motivated by a genuine desire to try to prevent suffering. It is not an act of self-sacrifice. It would be perfectly consistent for a rational egoist to join Giving What We Can if reducing suffering was one of their values.