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Peter Singer and Garrett Hardin On Helping the Poor - Essay Example

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In reading the articles “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” by Peter Singer, and “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor”, by Garrett Hardin, it is impossible not to notice the overwhelming attention to the topic of world poverty and underdeveloped, impoverished nations…
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Peter Singer and Garrett Hardin On Helping the Poor
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Download file to see previous pages I find that both articles are very well written, and as previously stated, both make their point on their issues, though Singer does so in a more antagonistic, provoking manner, while Hardin seems to remain impartial while giving concrete examples to support his position. After reading these two articles, I find myself disagreeing wholeheartedly with Mr. Singer, on the basis that a nation should look within its own borders and fix the problems that plague it from within before even beginning to give aid to any other countries that may be in need. While I agree that there may be a moral obligation to provide aid and assistance, it should first be provided to those that reside within the borders of a given nation, before being provided elsewhere. Mr. Singer is fixated on a situation occurring in Bengal, while providing general evidence that nations capable of sending aid have not done enough to help. However, he fails to provide concrete, quantitative statistics on the nations that he is citing as able to provide aid to Bengal. There is no concrete evidence given to suggest what is happening within the nations that are able to provide aid, and no other examples other than criticism of those nations who choose to build luxury items rather than send aid. For example, Mr. Singer states that “Australia’s aid amounts to less than one-twelfth the cost of the Sydney’s new opera house.” He further states that Britain, another country able to give aid to Bengal, has “non-recoverable costs of the Anglo-French Concorde Project already in excess of ?275,000,000.” Yet he does not mention the per capita statistics of these two countries specifically, citing only that “they are able to give aid”. Mr. Singer also fails to mention that most large projects such as the opera house and transport systems are, inevitably, taxpayer funded over a long period of time. This in and of itself creates a vicious cycle which, again, Mr. Singer does not mention: higher taxes means less money in the pockets of the citizens, which means less to give to others. It seems as though Mr. Singer is trying to make people feel guilty for having luxuries while there are others that do not, which is hardly the basis for any moral argument that one should give money. Mr. Hardin, in fact, says this in another, perhaps more realistic way by stating “Some say they feel guilty about their good luck. My reply is simple: Get out and yield your place to others.” Just because one has the resources to share, does not mean that they should. It should be the choice of each and every person and/or country if they choose to share, or if they choose to use that money where it is most needed, which may well be within the borders of their own country. Another issue to look at is the fund that is being donated to. Mr. Singer mentions the Bengal Relief Fund. What proof do people have that the Bengal Relief Fund will actually get the money to actually assist others? In 2001, the World Food Program received notice that one million people in Zimbabwe would be “in urgent need of food aid within a month”; however, the government, after “holding out the begging bowl”, refused to allow anyone but themselves to distribute that food (LoBaido). The World Food Program would have no way of knowing if the goods that were donated actually made it to the people in need of aid, or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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