Peter Singer Famine Affluence And Morality Analysis

2133 Words9 Pages
Ethics Paper

Today there are multiple countries struggling with lack of food due to various reasons such as natural disasters, manmade disasters, government policies and individuals actions. In Peter Singer’s article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” we see him focusing on all these aspects and the negative impacts they portray on those in desperate need (Singer, 1972, 229). Singer does this with a utilitarian approach which means he looks at situations as either right or wrong solely on the outcome of choosing one thing over another(Schweickart, 2008, 473). This, therefore, takes into account the interests of others. In his article Singer is arguing that the way people in relatively affluent countries react to a situation like that
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Singer’s conclusion to his argument is that people in affluent societies are morally obligated to donate the money they spend on unnecessary consumer goods(Singer, 1972, 231). With this, he provides four premises which provide as evidence towards his claim. The first premise states that 1) If we are able to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing something of moral significance, then we are morally obligated to prevent it(Singer, 1972, 231). He offers the example of walking past a shallow pond and seeing a child drowning in it. “I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a very bad thing”(Schweickart, 2008, 474). This quote is displaying the small inconvenience we may encounter, however, it is nowhere near what we would encounter if the child lost their life. Clothing doesn 't have anywhere near the same value as a person’s life. His second premise is that suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad (Singer, 1972, 231). Which is completely true, no one deserves to die this way especially people who are born into areas that were affected by natural disasters, for example, hurricane Katrina which left thousands stranded and…show more content…
One of the main reasons why I side with Singer is the belief that if everyone just gave a little of their pay each month it wouldn 't be asking for a lot(Singer, 1972, 233). Just like we get tax dollars taken out of our paycheck I believe that we should do the same for charities and it would only be a small donation therefore it wouldn 't have a huge impact on your life. Especially when talking about donating to charities that are helping build back communities after natural disasters. I believe that these people didn 't choose this life and therefore shouldn 't have to suffer when we can help. Another reason I agree with Singer is that I truly believe people are greedy and I am guilty of this but to an extent. For an example the idea that was mentioned in the Famine fishbowl was the dog shelter commercial, I am guilty of turning the channel and not thinking about it because I have two dogs and I love them. However, when I step back now and think that it could be my dogs in this commercial so why should I turn my eye and hope that someone else with do it. I should be giving money that I know I can give to help those animals rather than spending it on another pair of shoes that I can live without. We can also see this through
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