Peter Singer Absolute Poverty Summary

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Absolute poverty is an issue that has impaired the world for too long. A 1993 article by Peter Singer, titled "Rich and poor", attempts to address this issue. Singer discusses an individual’s moral obligation to help the poor. Two terms mentioned by Singer, which must be discussed, are absolute affluence and absolute poverty. Absolute affluence is a term used to describe the economic status of those who, while not necessarily affluent compared to their neighbors, are still affluent in terms of human necessities. Absolute poverty, converse to affluence, is the lack of income required to meet the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. The thesis provided by Singer is “We have an obligation to prevent at least some absolute poverty”. While, I ultimately agree with Singer, in that absolute poverty must be addressed, and that those of absolute affluence must be the ones to assist, I do disagree with his forceful moral obligation, as well as one of his major objections in regards to triage.

Singer’s first premise states that if we can prevent something bad without sacrificing anything of comparable
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That an already absolutely affluent individual’s partial pursuit of life-enhancing goods, or self-betterment, will result in a net-increase in donations, thus net-increase in lives saved. An objection to this statement is that it relies on the end result being a net-increase. One pertinent example of this is college: If, instead of working and donating my excess income, I decide to invest in attending college. I have made the choice to temporarily forgo fulfilling severe demand in the hopes that my investment will pay off, and I will have the ability to donate more. If the investment does not pay off, however, it will result in a net loss in donation. Therefore, the moral requirement for severe demand should either be rejected, or followed more intensely, rejecting the caveats and only acting
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