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Effective altruism is a philosophical and social movement that advocates "using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis". People who pursue the goals of effective altruism, called effective altruists, often choose careers based on the amount of good that they expect the career to achieve or donate to charities based on the goal of maximising impact. The movement developed during the 2000s, and the name effective altruism was coined in 2011. Prominent philosophers influential to the movement include Peter Singer, Toby Ord, and William MacAskill. Several books and many articles about the movement have since been published, and the Effective Altruism Global conference has been held since 2013. Billions of dollars have been committed based on effective altruistic principles, by philanthropists who include Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. Prior to late 2022, a major funder was Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, though its bankruptcy has since been a source of controversy and criticism of the movement.
Popular cause priorities within effective altruism include global health and development, social inequality, animal welfare, and risks to the survival of humanity over the long-term future. Effective altruism proponents aim to emphasize impartiality and the global equal consideration of interests when choosing beneficiaries. Effective altruism proponent MacAskill claims this has broad applications to the prioritization of scientific projects, entrepreneurial ventures, and policy initiatives estimated to save the most lives or reduce the most suffering.: 179–195