What Should a Billionaire Give and What Should You - Essay Example

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This essay "What Should a Billionaire Give and What Should You?" supports the “fair share” theory as introduced by Peter Singer, and further proofs how the theory advocates allocation of standards for the rich aiming at remedying human rights disaster worldwide…
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What Should a Billionaire Give and What Should You
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What Should a Billionaire Give and What Should You? In this article, Peter Singer brings out the theories governing philanthropy in society. People give under a compulsion from inside. Some are truly altruistic and their happiness depends on that of others. However, it is critical that we establish how much each individual should do in relieving the pain of others. Some critics argue that the rich should give more because they live in extreme affluence. Others argue that each individual should carry a fair share of the burden of relieving the suffering of others (267). A fair share system demands that each individual carry part of the burden. Therefore, this paper supports the “fair share” theory as introduced by Peter Singer, and further proofs how the theory advocates allocation of standards for the rich aiming at remedying human rights disaster worldwide.
Supporters of the fair share theory like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett advocate for sharing of the global burden of poverty among the rich (267). Each individual should contribute the fair amount derived by this calculation. It is an obligation for all people to commit in taking responsibility to carry their part of the burden. According to Peter’s article, the fair share theory is an effective strategy to eradicate poverty (268). If the rich and super rich in U.S contribute their fair share, then that would make more than what is needed. The fair share system would oblige the rich to give the largest contribution (269). This theory is desirable and does not exert unnecessary pressure on any member in society.
The fair share theory has its backing from the social contract theory. In the social contract theory, each individual in society is under obligation to contribute fairly for the interests of society. People applying this theory live in agreement with each other. In this theory, a society can only be successful if people follow rules for mutual benefit. This is the basis of the fair share theory. People obeying the social contract theory pursue good as they define it in their own terms. Thus is evident in the story of Thomas Hobbes, an English Philosopher who argued that individuals act in their own interests (269). People who are not doing their part face condemnation. Singer illustrates this case in the analogy of the drowning children. The illustration proofs that there are people who did their fair share by saving a child each. Others preferred to stay dry and neglected their obligation. Obviously, those neglecting responsibility deserve condemnation.
Singer disagrees with supporters of the fair share theory. He argues that it will place limitations in philanthropy. In situations where some individuals do not carry their share of the burden, the system loses efficiency. Neglecting responsibility will discourage the rest because efforts from a few people cannot cover up for the irresponsibility of many. In such cases, society loses because nobody carries the burden anymore.
Sometimes, circumstances compel people to contribute more than their fair share. The fair share should not limit those who can give more. It is important for all people to take responsibility to relieve the suffering of others. It is unethical to leave others suffer simply because an individual stops at the fair share. Humanity should drive us to help others (271). However, since contracts have become part of the society people live in, individuals should not live in accordance to their conviction as long as they disrupt the overall happiness of other people for it will be against the utilitarianism ethical theory. This means that if we have the potential of helping, it is unethical to sit and watch them suffer. Each individual should target to contribute fairly in relieving the suffering of others and making them happy. If everybody does enough, poverty and suffering will be history.
Work Cited
Peter, Singer. What Should a Billionaire Give- and What Should you? The New York Times. 266-280. Print. Read More
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