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

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

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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...


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...work, 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.

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