Coleen's Reviews > Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference

Doing Good Better by William MacAskill
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it was amazing

This book is not a 'fast' read so much as it is a book that is so fascinating that one wants to keep going. And I certainly did, with many stops to take notes, jot things down, and look up names and references. I anticipated in advance that the author would be a liberal do-gooder, and of course, he is. But that did not diminish my respect for him and his writing. His photo makes him appear to be a young man, but he is one very smart young man.

Pay attention to what he writes because his analysis is right on target. Just when you might think...ah...but what about... he has the next issue ready to discuss. My understanding of economics and statistics is not great, but I was able to follow, I think, everything that he wrote. Not that I agree with him on everything. And to be very fair to the author, he does not expect agreement so much as using your own brain to make your own analysis to form your own judgment, whether that is your selection of a charity or your lifestyle or your career. He is skeptical himself, and deals with skeptics by providing questions that each one needs to answer to make decisions every step of any analysis.

He focused a great deal in the book on global proverty because it is such an obvious and undisputed area of need. And I don't disagree there. And where there is a health concern in a country or continent that could impact the rest of the world population, well, that is extremely important. No one wants to risk the human race being wiped out. But spending billions of dollars [or even mere millions], to better the economy or the education, or living standards of some countires? As an American, I know - and it is no secret - that most of the people who are the recipients of this goodness, hate Americans and the USA. They want to kill us and wipe us off the face of the earth. Are we helping them do that with the billions of dollars in aid that is provided not only by these charities, but by our government? Are we educating them to read books that teach hate and violence and weaponry and terrorism? Again it is no secret that they do not hesitate to accept our money and goods while despising us.

I believe the author is British, but he does mention the United States is his studies and statistics. The countries he is discussing may not hate England at all, or as much as they hate the USA. But it is a major consideration to many which was not addressed.

Ironically, I used the analysis the author provides for evaluating charitable giving - effective altruism - to the welfare and social programs of the U.S. Federal Government paid for with mandatory taxes, not voluntary funds. And not one of them would be the recipient of any money after considering the first question of cost effectiveness. Administrative costs eat up the large majority of the funds... the large number of federal government workers paychecks and benefits, the executive and the legislative departments, more of the same numbers. We can only hope that one percent of the funds actually reaches the intended recipients.

I was a very lucky winner of this book in a Goodread's giveaway, and I am lending it to others to read as well.
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Reading Progress

June 2, 2015 – Shelved
June 2, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
July 2, 2015 – Started Reading
July 4, 2015 – Finished Reading

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