The Giving To Future Generations Approach

Many people want to give to future generations. Different people do this in different ways.

Some encourage their children to live fulfilling lives. Some pass on knowledge that enables people to shape a positive future. Some do practical work that helps people or the planet.

There are now many organisations that help people to encourage both present and future generations. The following pages describe one such organisation. 

The Centre For Effective Altruism

Toby Ord and William MacAskill co-founded the Centre in 2011. It built on the work done by two movements. These were:

Giving What You Can – a community of effective givers founded in Oxford, UK.

80,000 hours – an organisation that enables people to pursue high-impact careers that help people and the planet.

Here is an introduction to the Centre’s work. We explore some aspects of this in the following pages.

The Guiding Principles
Of Effective Altruism

Commitment To Others

We take the well-being of others very seriously, and are willing to take significant personal action in order to benefit others.

What this entails can vary from person to person, and it’s ultimately up to individuals to figure out what significant personal action looks like for them.

In each case, however, the most essential commitment of effective altruism is to actively try to make the world a better place.

Scientific Mindset

We strive to base our actions on the best available evidence and reasoning about how the world works.

We recognize how difficult it is to know how to do the most good, and therefore try to avoid overconfidence, to seek out informed critiques of our own views, to be open to unusual ideas, and to take alternative points of view seriously.


We are a community united by our commitment to these principles, not to a specific cause.

Our goal is to do as much good as we can, and we evaluate ways to do that without committing ourselves at the outset to any particular cause.

We are open to focusing our efforts on any group of beneficiaries, and to using any reasonable methods to help them.

If good arguments or evidence show that our current plans are not the best way of helping, we will change our beliefs and actions.


Because we believe that trust, cooperation, and accurate information are essential to doing good, we strive to be honest and trustworthy.

More broadly, we strive to follow those rules of good conduct that allow communities (and the people within them) to thrive.

We also value the reputation of effective altruism, and recognize that our actions reflect on it.

Collaborative Spirit

We affirm a commitment to building a friendly, open, and welcoming environment in which many different approaches can flourish, and in which a wide range of perspectives can be evaluated on their merits.

In order to encourage cooperation and collaboration between people with widely varying circumstances and ways of thinking, we resolve to treat people of different worldviews, values, backgrounds, and identities kindly and respectfully.

CEA’s overall aim is to do the most we can to solve pressing global problems and prepare to face the challenges of tomorrow.

The EA community is a place where people can learn about and discuss which ways of doing good are most effective, based on impartially altruistic, truth-seeking principles.

Toby and William have published books on the how people can contribute to tackling some of the existential challenges facing humanity. These include The Precipice, Doing Good Better and What We Owe The Future.

The Centre also provides practical tools that people can use to pursue careers that help people and the planet. Many of these are described in Benjamin Todd’s book 80,000 hours. The following pages provide excerpts from the book.

For most of us, a significant amount of our productive waking life – over 80,000 hours on average – is spent working. This is an enormous resource that can be used to make the world better.

80,000 Hours – named after the time you spend in your career – is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people figure out in which careers they can do the most good.

First, you need to consider which problem you should focus on. 80,000 Hours has many suggestions  for problems where one person can make a substantial impact.

Next, you need to consider the most effective way to address the problem. At this point, it is useful to consider multiple approaches. Here is one approach.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of ways you may wish to give to both present and future generations?

How can you continue to encourage other people? How can you build on your strengths and do positive work? How can you do plant seeds of hope? How can you do things that help people or the planet?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

80,000 Hours – Find A Fulfilling
Career That Does Good

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>