Wall St, Charity, and Saving the World
Today I started writing for Quartz magazine, the Atlantic’s new on-line business magazine. My first article is on saving the world by funding charities rather than working for charities – a topic that I’ve written on previously for the Practical Ethics blog. The basic idea is that, often, one can do more good by choosing to fund not-for-profits rather than work for them directly – and that a good way to fund them is to ‘earn to give’, that is to deliberately take a high-earning career and donate a large chunk of one’s earnings to the best causes.
It’s been about a year since I wrote that Practical Ethics blog post, and a lot has happened since. 80,000 Hours, an evidence-based advisory service on careers that make a difference that I cofounded, has grown and grown. We have a number of people earning to give, and all those I know are finding it rewarding career choice, and are confident that they made the right decision. Some are able to make six figure donations in their first year and half of employment. Earning to give certainly isn’t the only way of making a big difference in the world – and we don’t recommend it as such – but it’s one way, and it’s an option people often don’t give enough attention to.
I’ll write more in future, including on issues to do with whether working in finance or other lucrative careers is harmful. For every article I write for Quartz, I’ll try to add some extra comments here and get discussion going.