Famine, Affluence, and Morality Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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Whilst reading Singers ideas of a global village in which a person is obligated to aid someone in need regardless of proximity, has moral bearing, but also portrays a rather one sided view of what we consider as helping other starving nations in need. For example, approximately 1 in 8 Americans live below the poverty line, in saying this; the question comes to mind, why we should be concerned with poverty in other nations without first worrying about our own problems.

When presented with Singers views concerning helping other third world nations and the guilty spirit he implies through his article, it is imperative that the reader not get so wrapped up into whats best for the global community and start thinking whats best for each sovereign nation. I do not fully disagree with the points presented by Peter Signer, but, I feel that industrialized nations such as America are facing their own problems that must be resolved first before we can start worrying about other nations.

For example, American families are being forced to pay interest on a debt that was created out of thin air, by this I am referring to the current economic institution known as the Federal Reserve which has been a thorn in the side of every taxpaying American, it was the federal reserve act of 1913, which would force the American people into Inflation, Deflation, never ending debt, slavery, and bondage through money created out of thin air and sold to the treasury, at interest, for its bonds, which are guaranteed by the American taxpayer.

According to the Human poverty index, the United States ranked 16th, which is one rank below the United Kingdom (Thoren & Warner, pg. 23). I feel these problems should be solved first, before we concern ourselves with what is happening with other countries around the world.

Whilst arguing what I feel will be of the most benefit to the country in which I live, I feel that once these problems are solved, it would be wise to help other nations, not just because of the business relationships that could develop through such processes, but also because of the global image such feats would produce.

For example, during World War two, America developed a weapon thats strength was unknown until its time, the Atomic Bomb. The Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, and in an effort to reduce tension between the United States and those notions within the region of Hiroshima, the United States helped rebuild Hiroshima. The point in all this being that by helping other nations the United States can acquire new allies and develop lasting business relationships.

Furthermore, Peter Singer claims that although there is a common distinction between duty and supererogation, this does not justify such a distinction. I feel that it is morally right to contribute to those nations which are less fortunate than we are, but this view of morality must be in accordance with a moral code the ordinary man can relate to. For instance, the ordinary man, being asked to do things he/she considers unnecessary, could result in a general breakdown of compliance amongst the citizens of that particular country.

As stated earlier, there must be a balance between the amount of aid we permit other countries to have, and the amount of aid we give ourselves. How can one nation help another, if that nation is suffering from the same conditions? It is imperative to the survival of America that its economic system is sound, and its industry provides enough decent paying jobs for its citizens. Considering Americas current situation, I strongly feel that certain major problems, such as unemployment and the countrys economic system should be the first priority, then helping other countries in need would be the second most important priority.

Singers article contains many parallels with the pervious viewpoints discussed, on page six he state We ought to be preventing as much suffering as we can without sacrificing something else of comparable value (Singer, pg 5). This statement contains much wisdom. Singers view point considering those citizens who have accumulated extraordinary amounts of wealth, and the need for them to give there surplus wealth to the less fortunate closely resembles the theology of many religious institutions.

While although I believe that those citizens that are more fortunate than others should be more swayed to donate an amount greater than those individuals who are less fortunate, I do not believe they should be obligated to do so. If those individuals, who worked hard, and accumulated an extraordinary, amount of wealth, were forced to donate more than those who are less fortunate, the system itself would be incredibly flawed. Many people forget that many of those individuals who have accumulated vast amounts of wealth did so through running a successful business, which, in some instances, employs a great number of people. When forcing such individuals to donate more, employee wages could be affected.

In conclusion, while I do not agree with every point made by Mr. Peter Singer, I feel that helping developing nations is an essential aspect in developing peaceful relationships amongst nations. Furthermore, it is essential that citizens involved in helping developing countries should not be forced to pay more than they can afford without reducing their standard of living. It is imperative that underdeveloped nations receive the help needed, but also the citizens contributing to those nations donate an amount that can be agreed upon.


Thoren & Warner. The Truth in Money Book. Chagrin Falls: Ohio, 1986

Signer, Peter. Famine, Affluence, and Morality. Philosophy and Public Affairs


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