Sam Bankman-Fried and the Moral Emptiness of Effective Altruism

Timothy Noah in The New Republic:

Tycoons are susceptible to the misconception that if you know how to make billions you know how to spend them. Sam Bankman-Fried, the “unkempt millennial” (The Wall Street Journal) and founder of the cryptocurrency firm FTX, demonstrated that he knew how to make a fortune that peaked at $26.5 billion. Then he demonstrated that he also knew how to lose it, under circumstances that are now under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department. But what caught my eye was Bankman-Fried’s aspiration to use his billions to save the world through a modish variety of philanthropy especially popular right now among millennial and Gen Z cybernerds called effective altruism.

Effective altruism, or E.A., is a movement created 10 years ago by William MacAskill, a 35-year-old associate professor of philosophy at Oxford. E.A. tries to distinguish itself from routine philanthropy by applying utilitarian reasoning with academic rigor and a youthful sense of urgency.

More here.