Should We Be Worried About the Great Disparities Between Rich and Poor, Both Nationally and Internationally?

Should We Be Worried About the Great Disparities Between Rich and Poor, Both Nationally and Internationally?

  • Submitted By: DanishTP
  • Date Submitted: 11/21/2008 2:00 PM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 1406
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 1351

Humans hunted wild herds of animals across the wilderness for thousands of years. At some point the idea of keeping the animals in one place dawned on primitive man. No longer must the prey be tracked and with that the inherent risks of travel in an untamed land. A guaranteed food source and permanent dwellings were now at hand. Self interest drove this movement from hunter/gatherer to farmer. Self interest created the ensuing concept of ownership, rich and poor. Self interest is the primary motivating factor for humans.

In Famine, Affluence and Morality (Singer, 1972) it is suggested we have an obligation to aid others, even if this requires a personal forfeit. His argument stems from the concept that should one see a child drowning in a pool, saving the life of the child is warranted at the expense of dirtying one’s own clothes in the water. Most people would find it difficult to refute this claim. He then expands this concept to the life of a child starving in a third world country. The physical distance should have no bearing on the moral decision. In his view, one is obliged to save this life as long as nothing of comparable value is forgone. It follows that if we can prevent the death of an estimated sixteen million people per year from preventable starvation and disease, with no comparable loss, we are beholden to do so.

Singer’s argument is certainly morally compelling. When confronted with the images of children starving in commercials for charity organisations, it is difficult not to be moved. On some level a desire to prevent this suffering is felt. Yet we are afforded the opportunity only to relinquish that of lesser valve. However, surely the only thing of comparable value to a human life is another life. If it is necessary, we are required to forgo all but our continued existence to save the life of others. This is not in keeping with self interested compulsions. What little aid is given to the underprivileged worldwide is predominately done...

Similar Essays