Peter Singer discusses FTX collapse and Effective Altruism

Dec. 5, 2022

Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values, and one of the philosophical leaders behind the Effective Altruism project was interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek to talk about the organization’s path forward with the recent collapse of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange led by founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Since 2019, Bankman-Fried has been a major financial backer of Effective Altruism, a philosophical and social movement that “aims to find the best ways to help others and put them into practice.” Professor Singer discusses some of the practical and ethical considerations of this recent turn of events in the article “Effective Altruism Pioneer on Sam Bankman-Fried's Collapse” published on November 25.

In his monthly column for Project Syndicate, Singer considers whether Bankman-Fried’s actions stemmed from a belief that “the end justifies the means.” In arguing that the end may justify the means, but does not do so in the case of Bankman-Fried’s actions, Singer draws on the work of UCHV Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow Desmond Jagmohan.  Professor Jagmohan’s forthcoming book, “Dark Virtues: Booker T. Washington’s Tragic Realism” examines Booker T. Washington’s use of deception as a means of obtaining the funds used to provide a high-quality education for Blacks in Alabama during the Jim Crow era.

Read the Bloomberg News article here.

The Project Syndicate column is here but may be behind a paywall.