Foreign Aid - Our Obligation to Help the Less Fortunate

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What is absolute poverty? According to Robert McNamara it is "life at the very margin of existence" (Singer 219). It is a life that, if not ended by early death, causes a kind of misery unseen to those living in the United States. Compared to the estimated 1.2 billion people, worldwide living in poverty, those of us in developed countries experience a life of luxury. The things that we take for granted, such as cars, computers, microwaves, and televisions, are extravagant items that most people living in extreme economic poverty will never see. The gap between the affluent and the poverty-stricken is wide, and is getting even wider in many areas of the world. Are we morally obligated to help those less fortunate than ourselves? Should we merely go about our daily lives, forgetting about those on the other side of the world who are dying of malnutrition? These are just a few of the questions that I am about to explore. The fact that there is absolute poverty in the world cannot be argued. The way we deal with this is the issue at hand. When observing the raw data, including the high infant mortality rates and low life expectancy statistics afflicting impoverished countries, one cannot help but pity these people. Unfortunately, when it comes down to actually taking action and deciding what to give up, we seem to feel just as much, if not more, pity for ourselves. Many reasons have been given for why we may not be obligated to give up portions of our wealth to help those in need. Fortunately, in my opinion, many of these arguments can be refuted. One such argument is that we do not have an obligation to assist the poor because of our own individual property rights. Robert ... ... middle of paper ... ...oals are attainable if we work together, and as individuals, to make things happen. If one person feels that it is possible to give more without sacrificing something of equal moral significance, I believe they should make an internal commitment to do so. Works Cited Brown, Mark Mallock. "Halving the World's Population is a Realistic Goal." 21 September 2000. Online: Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics: Second Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. UNICEF. "Approaches That Work." The State of the World's Children 1998: Focus on Nutrition. 13 March 2001. Online: The World Bank Group. "Understanding and Responding to Poverty." PovertyNet. 16 March 2001. Online:

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