The Problem of Poverty in Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer

The Problem of Poverty in Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer

Length: 1102 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Peter Singer is often regarded as one of the most productive and influential philosophers of modern times. He is well-known for his discussions of the acute social, economic, and political issues, including poverty and famines. In his “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, Singer (1972) discusses the problem of poverty and hunger, as well as the way this problem is treated in the developed world. Singer believes that charity is inseparable from morality, and no distinction can be drawn between charity and duty. The philosopher offers possible objections to his proposition and relevant arguments to justify his viewpoint. The modern world does not support Singer’s view, treating charity as a voluntary activity, an act of generosity that needs to be praised in public. Numerous arguments are provided to support the view on charity as a negative phenomenon, which is not effective in reducing poverty and cannot benefit those in need.
In his work “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, Peter Singer touches one of the most painful problems facing the modern world – the affluence of the developed world and the poverty and famine in developing countries. At the center of Singer’s philosophic argument is the question of charity and its relation to duty. It is no secret that, in 1971, thousands of people in Bengal were dying of hunger (Singer, 1972). Poverty, a civil war, and terrible weather conditions had turned citizens into displaced refugees (Singer, 1972). Singer decided to raise the question of morality in relation to charity, poverty, and famines.
One of the central points of Singer’s (1972) argument is that death, suffering, and the lack of financial resources and food are bad. The next point is that people have enough power to preve...

... middle of paper ..., sound population control mechanisms will have to be implemented (Singer, 1972). This, however, is not an impossible task, if only the affluent society wants to improve the world beyond its basic needs.
In conclusion, Singer (1972) proposes a novel view on the problem of charity. His view is radical and requires that the existing moral schemes be reconstructed. In Singer’s (1972) opinion, charity and moral duty are synonymous, and every member of the affluent society is morally obliged to give away to the poor communities within the limits that do not result in any moral harm. Numerous objections have been proposed to deny the relevance of Singer’s philosophic ideas. However, there is nothing bad in making charity everybody’s moral obligation. This is not an impossible task, and the affluent society has everything needed to improve the world beyond its needs.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Singer And Facing Famine By Tom Haines Essay

- “The Singer Solution to Poverty” by Peter Singer and “Facing Famine” by Tom Haines, are both dealing with the same issues but the only difference between the two authors are that they use different tactics in which to address the problem and also attempt to get assistance from others. Although both authors intentions are the same, Haines has a much better strategy of  getting the sympathy attention from his audience rather than making them feel guilty for living an average life. The author Peter Singer argues that there is no reason why Americans can’t donate money if they are able to afford luxurious material/products that are not essential to their lives and health....   [tags: Ethics, Peter Singer]

Strong Essays
1361 words (3.9 pages)

Peter Singer's Paper 'Famine, Affluence and Morality'

- Peter Singer's paper “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”has made a drastic impact in modern applied ethics. The simple nature of the paper makes for an easy read, yet the point clearly set out by Singer is at ends with the targeted audiences' popular beliefs. Although most will object to Singer's idea by throwing away a basic principle of most moral theories, I wish to deny Singer's solution by showing that the ability to apply Singer's conclusion is not reasonable and does not address the problem's core....   [tags: on poverty and action]

Strong Essays
1498 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on An Analysis Of Peter Singer 's Famine, Affluence, And Morality

- Giving to the Poor In Peter Singer’s Famine, Affluence, and Morality, he critiques the way in which modern societies have grown accustomed to their ordinary thoughts about famine, affluence, and morality in general. Singer describes a situation in which nine million refugees from East Bengal are living in poverty, and it is the responsibility of the wealthy, and better-off nations to take immediate and long term action to provide for them and to end poverty overall. (Singer, 873) Through his essay, Singer envisions a new world where giving to those in need is no longer seen as charity, but rather a moral duty....   [tags: Poverty, Wealth, Morality, Ethics]

Strong Essays
1111 words (3.2 pages)

Comparison Of Peter Singer 's And Onora O ' Neill 's Position On Famine Relief

- In this paper I will examine both Peter Singer’s and Onora O 'Neill 's positions on famine relief. I will argue that O’Neill’s position is more suitable than Singer’s extreme standpoint. First I will, present O’Neill’s argument. I will then present a possible counter-argument to one of my premises. Finally I will show how this counter-argument is fallacious and how O’Neill’s argument in fact goes through. In order to understand why O’Neill’s position is superior to Singer’s position on famine relief, I will present information on both sides....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Ethics, Jeremy Bentham]

Strong Essays
1016 words (2.9 pages)

Singer 's ' Famine, Affluence And Morality, By Singer Makes Three Claims About Moral Duty

- In Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence and Morality,” Singer makes three claims about moral duty; that avoidable suffering is bad, that it is our moral obligation to help others in need, and that we should help those in suffering regardless of their distance to us or if others are in the same position as we are to help. First, I will elaborate on Singer’s arguments for each of these positions. Next, I will discuss two objections to Singer’s position, one that he debates in his writings and another that I examine on my own, and Singer’s responses to those objections....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Duty, Philosophy of life]

Strong Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Famine, Affluence, And Poverty Essay

- In his 1972 essay “Famine, Affluence, and Poverty”, Peter Singer tackles what seems on the surface to be a fairly simple debacle. He opens his essay by discussing the lack of food, shelter, and medical care in East Bengal. It is a given that every human deserves, in the very least, food, a place to sleep, and basic medical care. Singer claims that the problems involving poverty around the world is not an inevitable problem. He alleges that if we all pitched in what we can, these problems could be abolished....   [tags: Morality, Human, Ethics]

Strong Essays
971 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Famine, Affluence, And Morality

- Peter Singer states two principles on the effects of famine, affluence, and morality which he feels that everyone should abide by. The first argument made is that lack of food, shelter and medicine is bad and can lead to feeling pain and death. I for one, could agree on this assumption just by analyzing it carefully. We see Singer on his thesis elaborate the causes of famine within East Bengal in 1970s. As governments and individuals within the world see the massive flooding’s and mismanagement of food issuing one hopes that we all as a society could take action to help stop such suffering and act on a situation like the impaired damage that happened with East Bengal....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Human, Religion]

Strong Essays
904 words (2.6 pages)

Reasons For Eliminating World Hunger Essay

- Many philosophers and individuals have argued that we are obligated to try to eliminate world hunger. But often these philosophers and individuals provide different reasons as to why we are obligated to reduce world hunger. On the one hand we have individuals like Peter Singer who take the utilitarian point of view. Utilitarianism argues that our actions should increase the overall happiness in the world. On the other hand we have people like Onora O’Neill who sides with the Kantian point of view....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Peter Singer, John Stuart Mill]

Strong Essays
1808 words (5.2 pages)

India 's Influence On The United States Essay

- Peter Singer discussed how the United States should do more to help refugees who are starving and he used Bengal, India as an example. India has had many natural and man-made disasters which has had an impact on their being able to grow and have the necessary resources. He believed that it is morally our duty to help those in need and if we don’t do it, it’s the same as purposely harming them. He also talked about distance and how it shouldn’t affect how we help or view other people. Many people do not mind helping someone who’s in close proximity, but won’t be willing to help someone miles away....   [tags: Human, Morality, Religion, Famine]

Strong Essays
737 words (2.1 pages)

Should People Living in more Affluent Countries Have the Moral Obligation to Provide for the Poor in Other Parts of the World

- In this paper I will look at the argument made by Peter Singer in his paper, “Famine, Affluence and Morality” which advocates that those people living in more affluent countries have a moral obligation to provide assistance to the poor in other parts of the world. I will first outline the basic premise of Singer’s argument supporting this moral obligation and whether it is a sound argument. Secondly, I will look at an alternative view provided by Garrett Hardin in his paper, “Living on a Lifeboat”, which suggests that maintaining one’s own self-interest is more important and, in fact, necessary to prevent our own downfall....   [tags: analysing Peter Signer's argument]

Strong Essays
1165 words (3.3 pages)