Effective altruism encourages people to donate their money to the most effective, efficient charities. Some effective altruists believe that taking a longtermist priority—benefitting far-off future, enormous generations—is one of the best ways to use our resources. This paper explains how the longtermist argument as laid out by William MacAskill in his book What We Owe the Future, is unconvincing. MacAskill argues that we should ensure that the future is very well-populated on the assumption that it will be on balance good over bad. This reasoning, however, fails to account for additional moral considerations that most people would endorse. The present critique of pronatalist longtermism advances a critical benefit theory compatible with putting our energy into preventing and alleviating serious harms to actual future generations without intensive pronatalism.

You do not currently have access to this content.