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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Globalists should live by their principles in order to promote the good of everyone

<tionalism and globalism are disputed terms, and smart people arguing in good faith disagree on their definitions. For the purposes of this article, the terms represent opposite ends of a spectrum, defined by whose well-being you wish to maximize. Nationalists prefer to seek the well-being of their own country’s people, while globalists care equally about the well-being of everyone, regardless of nationality. Most people, in the middle of the spectrum, assign more value to people in their nation, but also care for people throughout the world.
In political contexts, there are ongoing debates about where on this spectrum governments should fall. This article is not designed to tackle that question. Furthermore, it is not the purpose of this article to tell anyone where on the spectrum they should sit. Rather, this article is intended to provide practical advice to globalists and near globalists, so that they can better fit their actions to their values.

The most important ground to win the battle against nationalism on is altruism. The salient intuition of altruism is that money goes further for people who have less of it. It is important to understand that people who are poor in the United States or other developed countries are usually wealthy by global standards (global GDP is per capita ~$17,000). If you seek to maximize the well-being of everyone when you give, most U.S. charitable contributions would go to foreign individuals. GiveWell, an organization that systematically evaluates the effectiveness of charities and assigns equal weight to all people, finds that the 3 most effective charities, The Against Malaria Foundation, The Malaria Consortium, and The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative all operate outside of developed countries. In fact, none of the top 10 charities GiveWell rates operate in developed countries.

Despite this, notions such as “charity beginning at home” are popular in liberal circles, and people interested in doing the most good for the world have a lot of minds to change. None of this should be interpreted to mean “stop giving to charity domestically.” Whether more donations to domestic charities necessarily trade off with less donations to international groups, or just trade off against other, non-charitable, spending is unclear. Rather, this should be interpreted as a call to give more to all charities, and to be deliberative and systematic when doing so.

Highly effective charities are not raising as much money from regular American people as domestic charities are, and I suspect nationalism is the cause. Domestic charities generally seek to serve those most in need in the United States, meaning that people around the world are only deprived of our kindness because of where they were born. This is the essence of nationalism, that it is less important to help those abroad than at home. In political discourse, this is often shunned by Carleton students and other liberal people, but when it comes time to vote with our dollars, we fall into the same traps we criticize others for.

As Carleton students, we are all given a tremendous privilege. We likely all have high earning potentials and will be in some position to help others someday. When we are, we should think carefully and systematically about our values, and how our actions conform to them.

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