Giving to the Hungry Essay

Giving to the Hungry Essay

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In early 2001 the people of Queensland suffered from natural disasters that caused loss of life and property. Charitable support for these people of was overwhelming and the loss was sweetened by the generosity of fellow humans helping those in need. Can this generosity extend beyond our borders to help those that are suffering from the (preventable) lack of basic needs such as food? Or should Australians – and in fact all global citizens – only reach out to their own nations, turning a blind eye to those beyond their borders? The answer seems morally apparent, but why does chronic poverty still exist? Giving to the hungry needs to be an absolute (or universal) obligation, one in which all rational moral agents can abide insomuch that it will not significantly impact their own wellbeing.
Firstly, many citizens of Australia can afford to give a little; our nation’s high standard of living allows many families expendable income that can afford luxuries such as fancy coffee, long weekend getaways, or a case of wine, from time to time. Peter Singer is an advocate for social justice and has discussed our moral duties as affluent citizens in length. His book, ‘The life you can save’ suggests a sliding scale of giving according to income, which agreeably reinforces the idea that giving should not impact one’s own wellbeing. However, it needs to be clarified that his idea challenges the act of giving – normally considered as charity – and instead proposes it as a duty, and therefore an absolute obligation. To create this revision from charity to duty, we ought to view the act of indulgence – without the act of giving – as morally wrong; that we should give because it is wrong NOT to do so. Singer believes that once it is apparent that ...


... middle of paper ...


... should give as a moral obligation, because we can give and we will feel happier for doing so.



Works Cited

Aknin, L., Barrington-Leigh, C., Dunn, E., Helliwell, J., Biswas-Diener, R., Kemeza, I.,
Ashton-James, C. (2010, September). Prosocial spending and wellbeing: Cross cultural evidence for a psychological universal (Working paper No. 16495). Retrieved from National Bureau of Economic Research website: http://scholar.google.com.au/ scholar?q=prosocial+spending+and+wellbeing &hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

Hardin, G. (1974, September). Lifeboat ethics: the case against helping the poor. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.garretthardinsociety.org /articles/art_lifeboat_ethics_case_against_helping_poor.html

Singer, P. (1972, April 1). Famine, affluence, and morality. Philosophy & public affairs, 1(3), 229-243. doi:10.2307/j100428

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