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Earning to give has been proposed by many people interested in ethics and altruism, and it is unclear who first described it.<sup></sup> The main idea was described in the 1996 book ''Living High and Letting Die'' by Peter Unger, where he wrote that it was morally praiseworthy and perhaps even morally required for people in academia who could earn substantially greater salaries in the business world to leave academia, earn the greater salaries, and donate most of the extra money to charity.<sup></sup>Brian Tomasik writes that he started thinking about replaceability in December 2004 and independently came up with the ideas underlying earning to give (inspired by the writing of Vegan Outreach cofounder Jack Norris) but believes that many others also came up with the idea; Kaufman believes that Tomasik was the first to publicly write up the idea.<sup></sup>
The name "earning to give" appears to have been proposed by Tomasik in a mailing list discussion in response to a blog post by Jeff Kaufman asking for a good name for the idea to replace "professional philanthropy" -- the name originally used by 80,000 Hours.<sup></sup>
=== Earning potential and
A stylized argument in favor of earning to give considers two options:<sup></sup>
* Work at a nonprofit for $30,000 a year to directly have positive social impact, or
One key consideration here is the difference in earning potential between the best non-profit job available and the high-earning option available. For some people who are naturally suited to making money in finance or other lucrative careers, the difference in earning potential can be very high, and the case for earning to give is strong.
Another consideration is
replacability in the non-profit job one is looking at. The better a person is at the non-profit job compared to the counterfactual replacement if the person went into finance, and the higher the direct impact of that job, the stronger the case ''against'' choosing the "earning to give" option.
=== The perspective of comparative advantage
The choice of whether or not to engage in earning to give can be viewed from the perspective of comparative advantage: one must do the job where one's differential with respect to counterfactual replacements is maximum. Thus, even if a person is better ''both'' at non-profit work and at working in high-paying jobs relative to others in similar jobs, comparative advantage can be used to determine whether directly working at a non-profit (or in a for-profit job that has direct social impact) is better or worse than earning to give.
=== Sensitivity to beliefs about the cost-effectiveness of charities
With donations, it is possible to choose to donate to the best or most cost-effective charity (e.g., in the sense of having a low cost-per-life-saved if the charity works to save lives, as Against Malaria Foundation does), whereas the options for charities that one may be able to directly work at may be more limited, and it may not be possible to work at the most cost-effective charity. Thus, the more cost-effective one believes the ''best'' charities to be (relative to the cost-effectiveness of charities one may be able to work at) the stronger the case for earning to give.
In February 2013, William MacAskill (formerly Will Crouch) wrote an article for ''Quartz'' arguing for earning to give as one of many alternatives for effective altruists to consider, with a particular focus on finance as a possible "earning to give" career.<sup></sup> MacAskill made three arguments in favor of earning to give: (i) high variance between cost-effectiveness in charities (as discussed above) made earning to give to the best charities a more attractive option than working at a typical nonprofit, (ii) salaries in finance are considerably higher than salaries in other areas, (iii) most jobs at non-profits have a high degree of replacability (discussed above).
A number of other blog posts on replaceability have informed the discussion on earning to give.<sup></sup> There also exist many online summaries of the existing state of the discussion.<sup></sup>
== Media coverage
The ''earning to give'' strategy has been discussed in a number of news and media outlets including ''BBC News'',<sup></sup>''Quartz'',<sup></sup>the ''Washington Post'',<sup></sup> the ''New York Times'',<sup></sup> and Aeon Magazine.<sup></sup>
== See also
* Effective altruism
* High impact philanthropy
* Room for more funding
# ^ Jump up to:<sup>'''''a'''''</sup> <sup>'''''b'''''</sup> "Earning to give". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 2013-07-04.
# ^ Jump up to:<sup>'''''a'''''</sup> <sup>'''''b'''''</sup> Hurford, Peter (2013-06-26). "What is earning to give?". Centre for Effective Altruism. Retrieved 2013-07-04.