"Is ‘effective altruism’ actually effective?" by Linsey McGoey

Past Event

01 December 2015, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Wolsey Hall
66 Banbury Road Oxford OX2 6PR

This seminar is organised by the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society an Oxford Martin School Institute. The seminar is part of the Ecologies of Expertise seminar series

Speaker: Linsey McGoey, Department of Sociology, University of Essex

Summary: Effective altruism is the latest in a long list of neologisms - strategic philanthropy, philanthrocapitalism, venture philanthropy, philanthropreneurialism - that have been applied to 21st-century approaches to charity, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. This talk explores the roots and social implications of these intersecting models, contrasting their parallels and differences, as well as how they differ from earlier approaches to philanthropy during the Gilded Age. Linsey suggests that while political economists are increasingly resuscitating and embracing a displaced emphasis on macro approaches to wealth inequality - as characterised by the work of Piketty, Galbraith and others - the effective altruism turn is largely marked by micro-level investigations, a focus that undermines the critical potential of the ‘new’ philanthropy.

About the speaker

Linsey McGoey is a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Essex. She is co-editor (with Matthias Gross) of the International Routledge Handbook of Ignorance Studies (2015), and the author of No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy (Verso, 2015). She is on the editorial advisory boards of Economy and Society and Finance and Society.