The Singer Solution To World Poverty Analysis

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In this paper I will be arguing against Peter Singer’s views on poverty, which he expresses in his paper “The Singer Solution to World Poverty”. Singer argues that all people with wealth surplus to their essential needs are morally obligated to prevent the suffering of those in dire situations. I will argue that you can not hold people morally obligated to prevent the suffering of others, and that people can only be held morally obligated to prevent suffering that they themselves caused. To begin, we will look at Singers beliefs and arguments regarding poverty and the responsibility of people to help those in need. Singer’s first arguments revolves around a girl named Dora, who is a retired schoolteacher, who is barely making a living writing …show more content…

Singer is a utilitarian philosopher, along with the likes of other famous philosophers such as David Hume and Henry Sidgwick. Utilitarianism is a type of consequentialism in which it is believed that the right act to perform is the one that produces the most utility, or good. When you view the previous example with this mind set, you can see how the varying situations and choices wouldn’t matter, all that would matter is the fact that both decisions would lead to the same consequence. Yet, Singer doesn’t believe that you have to adapt to his ethics in order to agree that there is something wrong with the fact that people are quick to find fault with Dora, yet have no issue with the choice of the American consumer. Another example from Singer was inspired by another philosopher, Peter Unger, who in his work Living High and Letting Die created several imaginary examples about whether it is wrong to live well without giving money to help people in need. This example is about a man named Bob who invested most of his life savings in a very rare and expensive car, a Bugatti. Bob gets vast amounts of pleasure from driving the car, and with the car’s rising market value, it provides a profitable investment which can allow him to retire comfortably. One-day Bob is …show more content…

The objection is that all that is needed to prevent any future ailments is for citizens living in high wealth nations to donate their fair share. Through this method, the level of donations needed to prevent any future ailments would be met before anyone had to donate the percentage of income that Singer suggests. Singer agrees that the idea of everyone doing their fair share is noble, and would fix the problem. But, Singer believes that since we know others aren’t doing their fair share, and that it would be difficult to force them, the idea doesn’t work. Given that others aren’t doing their fair share, Singer asks how could we stop at the fair rate, when we know children are dying preventable deaths that could have been stopped had we done more. Due to this reason, Singer states that the fair donation argument fails and would not be enough to fix the problem. Now that we have an understanding of Singer’s beliefs, I can show how Singer would respond to the question given in the prompt. Peter would say that yes he should donate, but the small amounts he would be choosing to donate would be nowhere near the amount that he should be choosing to give. Singer would say that any money that he isn’t spending on necessities should be donated to help those in dire situations, and that not doing so is

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