On Charity, Evolution, and Potential Blind Spots

"Spontaneous generosity may not be the most effective way to improve human welfare on a global scale, but it's effective where our ancestors needed it to be: at finding mates and building a strong network of allies." Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson include this quote in their book The Elephant in the Brain when looking … Continue reading On Charity, Evolution, and Potential Blind Spots

Why Don’t We Care About People Living Far Away?

In human societies, it is quite OK to be biased toward local rather than foreign or distant concerns. We care a lot about our own family, care a little less about our neighborhood, care less about the people on the other side of town, care less about people across our state, less about people in … Continue reading Why Don’t We Care About People Living Far Away?

Motivated to Appear Generous

One of the big challenges in life is being content with ourselves and our work without needing others to notice the good things we have done. As social creatures we want acknowledgement, praise, and approval from our fellow humans, so simply being good or doing good on our own doesn't seem to satisfy us in … Continue reading Motivated to Appear Generous

Donating to Faces

In the United States there is a lot of wealth and a lot resources that are directed toward charity. One problem, however, is that the people who are the most in need of charity are generally in developing countries and economies on the other side of the globe. Those counties and individuals, where our donations … Continue reading Donating to Faces

Donations and Visible Peer Pressure

I have never been super comfortable with fund raiser activities, but there is a reason we go through so much effort with fundraising when we are parts of groups, organizations, and cash-strapped clubs. "Up to 95% of all donations are given in response to a solicitation," write Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson in The Elephant … Continue reading Donations and Visible Peer Pressure

Five Factors To Consider Regarding Our Donation Behavior

In The Elephant in the Brain, Kevin simler and Robin Hanson ask just how much of our behavior is influenced by our self-interest. As an explanation for why we do what we do, simply saying that we did something because we gained some material good, gained more social status, or received some type of pleasurable … Continue reading Five Factors To Consider Regarding Our Donation Behavior

How Helpful Are We?

"People are willing to help, but the amount they're willing to help doesn't scale in proportion to how much impact their contributions will make." Author's Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson write this in their book The Elephant in the Brain when discussing our behaviors around donations and charity. "This effect," they continue, "known as scope … Continue reading How Helpful Are We?

Why Do the Most Good?

Peter Singer’s book, The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically examines a new movement toward ethical responsibility on a global scale.  What Singer explores in his book is the way in which effective altruists measure their impact in the world and go about trying to make positive changes. … Continue reading Why Do the Most Good?

Evolution and Groups

Looking at how evolution may have contributed to senses and actions of altruism, Peter Singer in his book The Most Good You Can Do, quotes Frans de Waal, a social scientist, “Universally, humans treat outsiders far worse than members of their own community: in fact, moral rules hardly seem to apply to the outside.” Singer … Continue reading Evolution and Groups