Volume 21

Why Ten Percent?

by Amy Berg

While effective altruists (EAs) spend a lot of time researching which ways to do good are the most effective, historically many have assumed, with relatively little argument, that the benchmark for membership in the movement is a com-mitment to donate 10% of your earnings. This points to an asymmetry between the two halves of effective altruism: EAs tend to have relatively restricted stand-ards for effectiveness (where to give), but they have much looser standards for altruism (how much to give). I investigate explanations for this asymmetry. While some possible justifications may work (pending empirical support), others look flimsier. I conclude that this means EA likely is, or anyway ought to be, more demanding than some of its proponents currently claim.


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