Part 4: Longtermism

In the first and second sequences, we discussed ways to quantify the impact of altruistic interventions. In the third, we discussed ways to extend moral consideration to more groups, including people from future generations.

Most cost-effectiveness analyses only account for the short-term effects of an intervention, rather than long-term effects. Because the latter can be much more impactful, and because the "future people" they affect will have lives as valuable as our own, some people see this short-term focus as a major issue.

In these posts, we explore a different approach to finding interventions: "longtermism", which calls for us to focus on improving the long-run trajectory of human civilization.


With permission, we've shared the introduction and first chapter of The Precipice in the Handbook. However, you can also get a free copy of the full book; more chapters will appear later on!

 

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<— Part 3: Expanding Our Compassion

—> Part 5: Existential Risk

Photo credit: Kristopher Roller

The Essentials

Note: "What we owe the future" and "The Case for Strong Longtermism" cover similar topics, but the latter is far more detailed and rigorous.

You may want to start with the former, but we really recommend digging into the latter — the core ideas have been extremely influential.