Peter Singer’s characterization of absolute poverty is defined by using the criteria given by World Bank President, Robert McNamara. McNamara states that absolute poverty is, "a condition of life so characterized by malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, squalid surroundings, high infant mortality and low life expectancy as to beneath any reasonable definition of human decency." This form of poverty affects human life on all levels of existence. A comparison is given between the relative poverty of industrialized nations versus the absolute poverty of developing nations. Relative poverty means that some citizens are poor, relative to the wealth enjoyed by their neighbors. Absolute poverty, on the other hand, plagues the entire population of the nation or state. This particular type of poverty transcends all boundaries. There is poor health, poor education, poor food resources, poor housing and all other fronts of human existence. It is in essence absolute poverty.
Singer suggest that the world can began to abolish absolute poverty by, redistributing the produced food and other resources that are needed throughout the world in more equal proportions. He argues that industrialized nations like the United States, produces well more than enough food to feed its population, but its excess is given to feed its livestock rather than other people who are in need. The great amounts of grain given to the livestock for food is used to continue the production of meat, milk, and egg products. Singer feels that this over feeding of animals is an inefficient process, wasting up to 95% of the food value of the animal feed. This makes the people of rich nations responsible for the consumption of vast amounts of f...
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...were bereft of the ability to swim; but if I am endowed with the ability to swim, I must attempt to save the child. In no way does this cause me to sacrifice any of my comparable moral significance. Therefore, if I do not, I then willingly make a decision to let the child die and am as guilty as the pond which causes the child’s death. Let’s say for instance, that I am bereft of the ability to swim, am I now justified to do nothing because I am unable to jump in the pond and save the child? No, I am not. Even within my inability to swim can I seek some other means to save the child, be it finding another person. As long as I am in some fashion am able to do something, I must!
Bonevac, Daniel. "Today’s Moral Issues" (pages 682-691), University of Texas at Austin. Mayfeild Publishing Co., Mountain View, California 1999
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