What is effective altruism?
Effective altruism is the ideology that we use evidence and data
collected along the way to resolve a problem which can be a medical or social
problem. The factors of a successful effective altruism includes that it helps many
people on a large scale and that all opportunities given are shared equally in
Is there a link between effective altruism and Childhood cancers?
from the definition above , There doesn’t seem to be much of a strong
link between the two but now I understand that the official subject is that
should we as people or altruists focus more thoroughly on curing childhood
cancers or rather look at using money to research other forms of protection to
other people rather than just children.
In today’s society there is a constant question of where to put money
raised so that it is beneficial and effective according to how many people it
helps. It is on a small scale as well as a global problem that we face in
trying to help others in the most profound way. One of the contrasts is should
we be donating money for curing childhood cancers or for effective
altruism which can include anything from a social to an economic crisis? To do
that, we need to understand what each one is and what the benefits of each are
if we give money to that foundation.
So should we focus on finding effective altruisms instead?
On one hand, effective altruism is the way to spend money on because
now, we often make donations to research that doesn’t require as much as
others. In deaths statistics graph from 2011 titled ‘where we donate vs what
kills us,’ it showed that the most money was donated to breast cancer but the
disease that killed the most people was heart disease. Childhood cancers only
make up 0.5% of cancers present in the world according to the charity ‘Children
with cancer in the UK.’ Therefore, this shows that there is a trend where some
diseases are not getting the attention they need. With effective altruism we
can specialise in the most common disease and attempt to reduce the death rate.
Another reason why effective altruism may be the way to go is because it
targets a larger proportion of people varying from children to adults. In fact,
data compiled in 2011 indicated that children younger than age 14 made up
more than 25 percent of the world’s population — more than 1.8 billion children
out of almost 7 billion people. It can be said that UK is Stage 4 of the
Demographic Transition Model. The DTM is a graph that is used to show what
stage of development a country is, stage 4 and 5 being for MEDCS. The data shows
that the UK has an ageing population which means the ratio of elderly people to
children is very high; there are more people above the age of 64 than those
children under 16 years old.
What’s more, effective altruism is not about just solving or curing diseases,
it has a wider perspective that can include for example poverty.
Effective altruisms are being carried out today. Here are some examples:
* Doing research into topics such as immigration reform, criminal
justice, reducing the suffering of farm animals and reducing global
catastrophic risks: Open Philanthropy Project.
* Giving money to the world’s poorest people: GiveDirectly.
* Making it easier and cheaper for people to send remittances to their
families in poorer countries: Wave.
* Running public health announcements in Burkina Faso: Development Media
* Figuring out what we can do now to improve the long-term future: FHI,
* Researching the most important policy changes: Global Priorities
* Changing social attitudes to non-human animals: Mercy for Animals.
* Helping people have more social impact through their career: 80,000
People can argue that this is
more useful to donate money towards as it specialises on social problems as
well as economic struggles. Today we are suffering from a poverty crisis in
Africa and an immigration crisis due to the war going on Syria and Iraq. Many
countries have made this their priority to find a solution the poverty crisis
that occurs due to the North-South divide in which the resources are not shared
equally and therefore that leads to people not having basic needs and
consequently world poverty.
Why should we carry on finding cures for childhood cancers?
* On the other hand, people can argue that we need to focus on childhood
cancers and curing them. Although there are more than 150 types of childhood
cancer, paediatric cancer receives only a small fraction of National Cancer
Institute and National Institutes of Health funding. Research and development
of new therapies largely depend on federal and philanthropic resources because
industry is focusing its oncology efforts on the vastly larger potential market
for adult cancer drugs. ‘Make a Wish,’ does not directly use the money donated
for research but instead it uses to offer the chance for the child who is
suffering to have a break from hospital and meet their idols or travel.
Henceforth, Make a Wish focuses on the quality of life and improving it.
According to statics , it shows that 86% agreed that it increased
the quality of life and 81% of parents said that it gave their children an
emotional benefit of well being which shows it is successful form of charity. A
charity is a place where it can help people and it can be different ways
whether to help raise money for a cure or to offer a once in a lifetime experience.
However, if the wish is to stay alive, it is not as efficient and that’s why
donations should be made to other charities that donate money for research so
that a solution can be found.
* Furthermore, cancers in children are one of the main reasons of a high
death rate in children and brain tumour is the most common. There are also
cancers that have a low survival rate such as neuroblastoma 67% and bone
tumours 68% which have the worst outlook. More money should be used and donated
to the study of these diseases to help increase the chance of life expectancy
of children suffering from them. So why is there not much being done for them?
It’s because charities that are broadcasted in media tend to be for leukaemia
and other forms but not for the less well known ones. Therefore, there is a
need to educate people about the other forms of cancers so that they
acknowledge why cancer is killing the largest portion of children.
* There is also a difference in the suffering in childhood cancers
and say suffering in poverty. Pain and suffering in children is eternal
and infinite because nothing can be done to cure it without study whereas say
poverty, suffering is mot infinite it can be reduced by finding a way of
earning money e.g. informal sector of jobs or even working a job with low
income. There is a saying by Mother Teresa in which states that ‘ if you are
born poor it is not your fault but if you die poor then it is your fault.’ This
emphasises how it is possible for people to be rid of poverty but it needs
action from the people themselves to go out and find jobs; to make the most of
living. In contrast to childhood cancers, they require money to be researched;
to carry out tests on a large sample size and to reduce the pain that a child
feels. However, it must be understood that effective altruism is not just
solving poverty but can include other forms which can also require money like
the immigration crisis. With this in mind , churches across the UK are adopting
a family from Iraq and Syria and bringing them over to the UK with
a donated furnished house. Then the
community helps the family from there to gain experience to put on their CV so
that the family can earn a living and start their life again. Whereas, with
cancer, it is a painful experience that the sufferer and the family go through
if there is no cure. It has a greater negative impact and henceforth it should
be made as the priority to be solved.
What do I think?
In conclusion, the argument put
forward is not easily resolved as more research needs to be done to further
qualify and idea put forward by a person. I appreciate the way ‘Make a Wish,’
works and how it helps to add a ‘little sparkle in a child’s life,’ but think
what would be more brilliant or great than giving them a life where they can
grow , have a job, get married , have children . It is the long term effects
that charities need to target for children with cancers because while it is all
good to live in the moment, it is a miracle and a gift to live a long life.
That is why in my opinion we should focus on childhood cancers but link it with
effective altruism such as we can target to cure children with cancer from all
countries in the world including the less economically developed countries. In
this way we are helping with improving poverty and increasing life expectancy
in starving countries. Also, children are the future and by helping as many
children as possible who knows what they could achieve in the future to further
improve life for all. In fact it is stated that 65% of the children who are
entering school now are going to be doing jobs that have never existed so who
knows what the future holds ? But according to a famous Irish philosopher
Edmund Burke who concluded that ‘ ‘nobody made a greater mistake than someone
not doing anything because he could do only little.’ which emphasises that
everyone should help out the reduce the problems in their city, country and in
the world because it is those little improvements that make life better and who
knows they could be improvements that could cure life threatening diseases?’