Systemic change is change relating to practices or institutions established as normative or customary throughout a political, social, or economic system.

Some critics of effective altruism allege that its proponents have failed to engage with systemic change.[1] Whether they are right or not depends on what is meant by the term. Members of the community are working on political issues within areas such as macroeconomic policy, immigration reform and land use reform.[2] However, work on certain types of "radical" change, such as attempts to overthrow capitalism or abolish private property, are much less common.[3]

Further reading

Effective Altruism (2016) Does effective altruism neglect systemic change?, in 'Frequently asked questions and common objections', Effective Altruism.
More information on this topic, including a list of articles arguing that effective altruists neglect “systemic change”.

Open Philanthropy (2021) Policy, in 'Cause reports', Open Philanthropy.
The Open Philanthropy Project works on many projects seeking to bring about systemic change.

Shulman, Carl (2019) Some personal thoughts on EA and systemic change, Effective Altruism Forum, September 26.

Wiblin, Robert (2015) Effective altruists love systemic change, 80,000 Hours, July 8.
Examples of members of the effective altruism community working on systemic change.

electoral reform | immigration reform | institutional decision-making | institutions for future generations | land use reform | macroeconomic policy | policy

  1. ^

    Srinivasan, Amia (2015) Stop the robot apocalypse, London Review of Books, vol. 37, pp. 1–10.

  2. ^

    Wiblin, Robert (2015) Effective altruists love systemic change, 80,000 Hours, July 8.

  3. ^

    Chappell, Richard Yetter (2016) Effective altruism, radical politics and radical philanthropy, Philosophy, et Cetera, April 20.