Moral Obligation or Moral Responsibility

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Moral obligation is a controversial matter. We currently live in a “world of plenty”, however, the number of human beings dying or suffering from hunger, malnutrition or disease is staggering. In this essay, I am going to examine the arguments for and against moral obligation to helping the poor and starving, and in particular I will take into account Singer’s opinions on the matter. “Do we have any obligations to, or moral responsibility for, people living in other countries? If so, are we responsible only for our political allies, or obligated only to countries we think can benefit us? Or are we also obligated to countries with which we have few, no or even antagonistic, relations? We are obligated not to harm others but are we obligated to do more than not harm others?” There are around 6 billion humans living on earth today and 790 million of those lack adequate nutrition. Around 1 billion humans lack access to safe water. 2.4 billion people lack basic sanitation. 880 million lack access to healthcare services. 1 billion don’t have shelter and live exposed to the elements. 2 billion people live without the use of electricity. 250 million children between the ages of 5-14 work in factories or as sex workers and are denied the opportunity for education. 1 billion adults are illiterate. Roughly 50,000 deaths per day on this planet are due to poverty. People die because they don’t have the basics for a decent human life. In the United Nations Charter – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are two articles we can take into consideration when thinking about moral obligation. Firstly, Article 25: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family including food, ... ... middle of paper ... ...ld you choose who to let onto your boat with your reserve and whose life to save. Should we just help people on a first come first serve basis or should we think of other methodical and possibly more practical ways to help people in need. Unkindness is not merely conduct that is not kind, but conduct that is insufficiently kind... Many people use the excuse that they don’t need to help developing economies when many other people do anyway however from a utilitarian point of view, the fact that other people could help doesn’t lessen your responsibility. Without a true world government to control reproduction and the use of available resources, the sharing ethic of the spaceship is impossible. For the foreseeable future, our survival demands that we govern our actions by the ethics of a lifeboat, harsh though they may be. Posterity will be satisfied with nothing less.

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