Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save

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Are you a good person? A person of morals and values? An ethical person? Yes? If so, then:
How much are you willing to give up? How much can you give up? How much will you?
Regardless of your answers, what remains is that you are affluent enough to give.
Philosopher provocateur Peter Singer uncomfortably highlights these questions in The Life You Can Save: How to do Your Part to End World Poverty (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2010.). Singer’s goals are "to challenge you to think about our obligations to those trapped in extreme poverty", and "to convince you to choose to give more of your income to help the poor".
Singer's classic example illustrating his philosophy is: You are on your way to work and you notice a child drowning
…show more content…
We make the choice to spend money on luxury items, from the latest iPhones to bottled water, and would likely hardly notice if we didn't have them. Even if people who do have billions decide to spend it poorly, that does not excuse the rest of us from the moral obligation to help others in need. Singer asks: "Can we really believe that we are living a good life, an ethically decent life if we don't do anything serious to help reduce poverty around the world and help save the lives of children or adults who are likely to die if we don't increase the amount of aid we are giving?" Essentially, What do I owe to strangers? What do I owe to my family? What is it to live a good life? What are your obligations are to those who are poverty …show more content…
The margins of the book have my notes in pencil on almost every page - disagreeing with his forceful attempts to make me feel like a terrible person for not donating more than I already do, as I am shamefully reminded of my crushing student debt, how I still rent and have no retirement savings at the age of 30. Subconsciously, I kept trying to justify small, indulgent purchases - surely I deserve it, don't I? I work hard for my money. Should I not allow myself any luxuries? Should I live as St. Francis and abandon my personal desires so that I can save children's lives in Africa - and even then I am assuming that my money actually goes to those in need. What about after decades of philanthropy, it seems that not even a small dent has been made in the case of extreme poverty? What about the global population growing more and more while humanity can't seem solve the issue even now, how will we in the future? 1% of my net income is a lot when I'm struggling to pay off my own debt. Wouldn't it make more sense to wait until I am financially secure to make substantial donations? And what about the people in my own country that live in poverty - what about them? Or what about cancer research or environmental issues or even cultural programs? Why, according to Singer, is volunteering my time not sufficient - why is money the

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