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Giving What We Can's blog, featuring the latest news from our community.


June 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to our June Newsletter which covers Giving What We Can news and updates, upcoming online events, the latest from the effective altruism community, and news and updates about relevant cause areas.

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Can Money Buy Happiness? A Review of New Data

Everyone knows the adage “money can’t buy happiness,” although few of us seem to believe it. The best-known theory on this topic is that money actually can buy happiness, but only up to a point. This comes from a study by two Nobel Laureates, Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton (2010), which found that emotional wellbeing rises with income. However, it rises logarithmically. That is, as an individual’s income increases, their wellbeing increases at a slower and slower rate. And after income surpasses about $75,000 per year, Kahneman and Deaton’s data suggests, wellbeing stops increasing altogether. However, new research from Matthew Killingsworth challenges this finding.

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Does aid make low-income countries dependent on handouts?

A widespread critique of international charity and foreign aid is that it undermines state institutions and nonprofits in the recipient country, creating a long-term dependency on "handouts.'' The history of foreign aid is fraught and marked by missteps. Yet such a sweeping narrative does not tell the whole story. By supporting effective aid organisations that prioritise evidence-based interventions and empower local communities in recipient countries, we can reduce the misallocation of aid, spur growth, and reduce low-income countries’ reliance on foreign aid in the long term.

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Do effective animal advocates only care about farmed animals?

Effective animal advocates also care about other groups of animals, including the dogs, cats, and other animals we keep as pets, and those that live in shelters or in our streets. However, advocates are likely to prioritise intervening in factory farms and the wild first, because the scale of those problems is enormous, and the causes are relatively tractable and quite underfunded.

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Donating Anonymously: Should We Be Private or Public About Giving To Charity?

The social norm of giving anonymously is impeding social progress. We would be better off as a society if we moved past this norm and instead gave publicly. Giving publicly, after all, is one way to inspire more people to give. And even if people give for partially selfish reasons (e.g., “virtue signalling” or bragging rights), their donations will still improve the world.

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May 2021 Newsletter

We're thrilled to announce that we've just passed 6,000 members of The Pledge! We're growing faster than ever, with 1,000 new members in only eight months.

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