Famine, Influence And Morality

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Philosophy 367/ Edwin England Writing assignment #1, February 6, 2002 Singer's article written in 1971 proclaims that we have a moral obligation to assist the needy. I feel that we do not have a moral obligation to assist the needy. Singer had many arguments throughout his article as to why we would have any moral obligation to assist the needy. I will counter his arguments in this paper.

An average person's life in a developed country is wrought with pending responsibilities and obligations on a daily basis. Most reasonable people assume that these obligations are generally confined and pertain to one's own survival, the survival of one's dependents, and the professional tasks delegated by an employer in exchange for the funds to ultimately sustain this survival. The word "survival"� suggests only a minimal existence, however, and the reality of the situation is that many people in developed countries attain a level of affluence that surpasses the boundary of mere survival and in some cases may even greatly surpass it.

Many people would agree that they are unconditionally entitled to any luxuries procured by years of hard work and persistence in school and their career. Some may go so far as to say they are even absolutely entitled to any luxuries obtained by matters of chance, such as the lottery and these claims seem to make sense from a superficially intuitive point of view.

In Singer's article, he lists some statistics related to the famine in East Bengal that affected nine million people as an example of a crisis of great magnitude that most people around the world were familiar with at the time. He then goes on to debate the moral implications of affluent individuals in developed countries not taking the necessary action to help relieve the famine...