What are the most important moral problems of our time? | Will MacAskill



Of all the problems facing humanity, which should we focus on solving first? In a compelling talk about how to make the world better, moral philosopher Will …

50 Comments

  1. Concise and precise, focused on solutions and mutual improvement, rather than fear, competition and division.

    As poverty disappears hopefully so will resistance to this young man’s ideas. There are still too many of us today barely surviving, expending all our daily energy, too tired to think about or process information like this. We are susceptible to anger and over simplistic excuses for shared misery. Oftentimes fingerpointing is the easiest way to justify failure, bad luck, etc. We need to blame someone, be it the rich, racists, men, poor people, moochers, immigrants, anyone other than ourselves. Its up to the few of us who are able, to help lead the many by example so that we can coexist with better versions of ourselves and develop an environment where more enlightened people can contribute to valuable big picture discussions rather than to basic divisive arguments.

  2. I'm surprised that seeing as he seems so concerned about ethics, he still doesn't seem to see that instead of putting further funding into animal farming it would be better to completely eradicate the process (where it is feasible, aka western world), which would be better for the planet (CO2 emmisions from animal agriculture are what make up the majority) and for the health of the population.

  3. MacAskill only mentioned technical/environmental threats to humanity's existence. However, the social threats are at least as important — the cults and ideologies that seek to destroy humanity must also be aggressively eradicated. Humanity's survival is more important than freedom of speech.

  4. He pushes factory farming as a large category, but I have no faith he really understands what that means. I doubt he has visited what he thinks is a "factory farm"

  5. so till the industrial and scientific revolutions people always had the same level of wealth? Such nonsense! In certains periods and areas people became very wealthy and developed, even before those "revolutions".

  6. Examles of what people can do are good. ''What can I do and how" is a big question. Saying what you want or what to do first and then explaining might be more effective to some people. No form is wrong, but you may reach more with varied approach.

  7. Odd. If you believe unborn humans are, well, human, and all innocent humans are entitled to protection from being killed, every other moral issue would seem to pale in light of the injustice of millions of innocents slaughtered in the holocaust of abortion.

  8. In my opinion, the problems listed in this talk are rather academic and superficial in nature? I dont think we can solve problems based on systems that created those problems. New ideas and practices rather than our current money-driven systems are needed.

  9. The framework based on Big, Solvable, Neglected is a sound formula for considering the big choices facing humanity; a way to test whether a given idea is worthy of attention. Here is my take-away:
    1. Big. The enormous size and geographic pervasiveness of human individuals is the largest single driver of all insults to the living system of the Earth. Atmospheric CO2 accumulation, exhaustion of fisheries, excessive land use for meat, water depletion and conflict, – all are increased as a direct function of the number of living people on Earth.
    2. Solvable. The obstacle to maintaining a sustainable level of human population is not the lack of a technical solution. It is the collective biological, cultural, and economic drive to procreate, even when knowing that you lack the means to give the children a reliable better life. The role of (temporary) technological solutions to quality and length of life has actually contributed to the unsustainable size of the population, thus creating much of the problem. People react to the proposal of reducing population size because they imagine that such a plan would be implemented through some kind of fascist dictatorship and brutal enforcement. That is not the solution that is implied by the proposal and it would not work. The size of the global population is in peoples hands to solve without new technology, just collective will based on understanding.
    3. Neglected. No one seems to be talking about the benefit of a global crash course on population reduction to sustainable levels. In recent history, such movements as zero-population growth have been squashed. Some political forces accuse this proposal as a racist program in disguise (intended supposedly to reduce certain ethnic group populations and take away the Human Right to have families). So global population size is neglected.

  10. So the most important problems of our time are the ones to come in the future? It makes sense to plan ahead, but that's like neglecting today's crops to plan for next decades harvest.

  11. This kid is obviously a leftist vegan beta cuck who knows nothing about why things are. His speech and these comments will change nothing so go back to your own worldview and keep blaming others for your own problems and failures.

  12. When the human race has reached,through some way, a point where every member has the ability to do anything he desires without hurting anyone else, immortality, unlimited resources, essentially a god-like state, what then?
    Do we need obsticals to survive ?
    Some goal for which to live ?
    Why should sysiphus be happy?

  13. The examples to show things improving are based on benefit to humans, whilst one of the three problems listed is of detriment to animals. If correlation means causation (which, admittedly, in most cases it doesn't), the suggestion is surely that as humans better their own lives, they make it worse for the rest of the world, which is a big problem when you consider we can't survive without the rest of it – democracy or not. I saw the point on the graph suggested where nobody lived in poverty, but failed to see any point where anybody but humans were benefited – which is rather isolationist.

  14. This guy's dreaming of stuff that he doesn't have a chance of controlling. Also he's assuming collective will can solve all his problems, and that he can 'tool up' people who've yet to be born for his purposes. Not likely, everyone has their own free will.

  15. Keep religions in your own home would be a great start, That is if not get rid of them altogether. And also spread some of the wealth around. The almighty dollar has become and perhaps always was a religion in itself. Give up some power and help everybody on Earth have a substantial way of living and learning.

  16. I philanthropy really the solution to the biggest problems today? All of our major issues are man-made. Apart from to some extent health issues. But in his example of helping philanthropically with factory farming?? Throwing more money at it isn’t going to help. Companies and corporations that created generations of fast food eaters need to change so that they stop needing to house billions of animals in torturous conditions. Ethics really is the key. And when people set out to make money, ethics is very often thrown out the window.

  17. The frame work for this is utterly lacking in philosophical content. He throws around so many statements without any backing. For example why should we value neglected issues more? What is good? Why should we value issues that effect more people as worse? Of course all these questions can be defended on a way that can help his frame work but by not engaging in this discussion he crippled his moral system.

  18. The repercussions of narcissistic systems been found out for the monsters they are . People fighting evolution by clinging to sinking arcs – schools teaching bullshit and parents reiterating said lies – the poor not been heard – need i go on .

  19. The biggest moral problem in the world is selfishness. All we think about is me, myself and I. We don't care for others and even when we try to feel like we care for others, it's guided by our own world view or our desire to feel like "I personally" am making a difference. We are more concerned about being cool, being trendy, being free thinking, being able to not be like "those type of people". Our "compassion" is guided by the way we see the way we want the world to be, and not by what other people need. We think way to highly of ourselves, saying, if we only had deeper thoughts and greater discussion, then we will make a difference. If we set up OUR better world, then those people will be better off. We think that "if we think that we are great, we can do great", but in that we continue to put ourselves higher than others. Stop being selfish, stop building your egos, stop thinking you know it all and have the right way. Our own selfishness is ripping this world apart, everyone of us are to blame.

  20. We all know there is something wrong. The right blames other + The left blames the own population = blaming the own population is the truth = nobody wants to be blamed = the right rises

  21. Its the same its always been. People using violence or the threat of it to control others. The most immoral act any human can take against another is the aggressive use of force.

    Our problem is when we changed from believing government was a monopoly of force and we had to remain diligent to limit its power. To becoming people who turn to government to control every aspect of life. We live in orwellian times. New speak is alive and well. Freedom is slavery, war is peace, and ignorance is strength.

    Censorship creates ignorance and its sold to the public as making us a stronger society. Freesom is slavery….today lobertarians are called fascists. Conservatives who want to preserve what freedom we have left or retake some that has been taken from us are called fascists. Fascism is authoritarianism which only resides on the left. Freedom is slavery. Antifa black lives matter democrat policy all use force and violence while claiming to be seaking a more peaceful world.

    Negative freedoms are defended while positive freedoms if government is tasked to provide them are provided at the barrel of a gun. Positive freedoms are justly gained by individuals with hard work and good ideas. Aggresskve use of force by individuals but more so by government is the biggest moral issue in the world and it always has been.

    Nothing scarier then a self righteous do gooder pushing government to force the world to be as they believe it should be.

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