80,000 Hours

80,000 Hours
Founded October 2011[1]
Founder William MacAskill and Benjamin Todd
Focus Social impact research and advice
Origins Oxford, England, UK
Area served
Product Free, evidence-based career advice
Parent organization
Centre for Effective Altruism

80,000 Hours is a London-based organisation that conducts research on which careers have the largest positive social impact and provides career advice based on that research. It provides this advice on their website and podcast, and through one-on-one advice sessions. The organisation is part of the Centre for Effective Altruism, affiliated with the University of Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.[1] The organisation's name refers to the typical amount of time someone spends working over a lifetime.[3] It was one of the nonprofits funded by startup accelerator Y Combinator in 2015.[4]

Principles [ edit ]

According to 80,000 Hours, some careers aimed at doing good are far more effective than others. They evaluate problems people can focus on solving in terms of their 'scale', 'neglectedness' and 'solvability', while career paths are rated on their potential for immediate social impact, on how well they set someone up to have an impact later on, and on personal fit with the reader.[5]

The group emphasises that the positive impact of choosing a certain occupation should be measured by the amount of additional good that is created as a result of that choice, not by the amount of good done directly.[6]

It considers indirect ways of making a difference, such as earning a high salary in a conventional career and donating a large portion of it, as well as more direct ways, such as scientific research or shaping government policy.

The moral philosopher Peter Singer mentions the example of banking and finance as a potentially high impact career through such donations in his TED Talk, "The why and how of effective altruism," where he discusses the work of 80,000 Hours.[7]

Focus areas [ edit ]

80,000 Hours's primary focus is on advising talented graduates between the ages of 20 and 40.

It advocates long-termism, the view that the most important moral implications of our actions are their impacts on future generations, due to the large number of people who will or could exist in the future. Accordingly, the organization spends significant resources considering interventions perceived to have persisting effects over time, such as preventing nuclear warfare or a particularly severe pandemic, improving relations between China and the United States, or enhancing decision-making in large organisations.

Criticism [ edit ]

80,000 Hours has promoted earning to give, the practice of pursuing a high-earning career and donating a significant portion of the income to cost-effective charities. Among other criticisms of this practice, Pete Mills argued in the Oxford Left Review that because the likelihood of bringing about social change is difficult to quantify, 80,000 Hours is biased toward quantifiable methods of doing good, such as earning to give.[8] Over time 80,000 Hours has deemphasised 'earning to give', in favour of alternative paths like research, advocacy or policy reform, and begun recommending work on problems that are less easily quantified.[9][10]

David Brooks of The New York Times has criticised the organisation for its consequentialist approach to altruism and has argued that cultivating altruism is not purely a matter of maximising one's positive social impact.[11][clarification needed]

The effective altruism movement, of which 80,000 Hours is a part, has been criticised by Ken Berger, the founder of Charity Navigator for its efforts to objectively compare and prioritise charitable causes, which he believes to be a subjective process that is the responsibility of individual donors.[12] William MacAskill responded to this article justifying the need to figure out which charities do the most good.[13]

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b "Our Mission and History". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Our Mission and History". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  3. ^ "FAQ". 80,000 Hours. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.; "Impact investing: the big business of small donors". Euromoney. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Want To Make An Impact With Your Work? Try Some Advice From 80,000 Hours". TechCrunch. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Research". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  6. ^ Sebastian Farquhar. "The replaceability effect: working in unethical industries part 1". Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  7. ^ Peter Singer. "The why and how of effective altruism". Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  8. ^ Mills, Pete (May 2012). "The Ethical Careers Debate". The Oxford Left Review (7): 4–9. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  9. ^ "80,000 Hours thinks that only a small proportion of people should earn to give long term - 80,000 Hours". 80,000 Hours. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  10. ^ "A list of the most urgent global issues". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  11. ^ Brooks, David (4 June 2013). "How to Produce a Person". The New York Times. p. A25.
  12. ^ "The Elitist Philanthropy of So-Called Effective Altruism". Stanford Social Innovation Review.
  13. ^ "What Charity Navigator Gets Wrong About Effective Altruism (SSIR)". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
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