Famine, Affluence, And Morality Essay

811 Words Jun 27th, 2016 4 Pages
Within the text of “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” Peter Singer delves into the topic of famine; and more specifically, the moral obligations people have to those who are suffering. For example, Singer focuses on the population of East Bengal, and their struggle with famine and extreme poverty. Singer proposes that with enough aid from both individuals and various governments poverty can be eradicated. Therefore the question he presents is why some people are dying, while other people are spending excess money on luxuries? Singer argues that affluent people, living in affluent countries, are not helping developing countries by giving enough to alleviate extreme poverty.
The first point made by Singer is that the way people in prosperous countries respond to situations like that in Bengal is not morally justified. He argues that if we have the power to prevent bad situations from occurring, “without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance,” (Singer, 231) then we have a moral obligation to do so. Singer believes that the social distinction between duty and charity must be reconsidered. Furthermore, charity should no longer be seen as a supererogatory act, or rather an act that is socially perceived as virtuous but has no social consequences if ignored. His argument is that people should not spend money on luxuries, as they have a moral obligation to give money to those in need. Singer briefly notes the objection of proximity that people often have…

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