Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Peter Singer appears to deliver a devastating criticism of human beings’ traditional methods of thinking regarding poverty, charity, relief, and morality in his article Famine, Affluence, and Morality. Singer’s views, on the other hand, have sparked debate, garnering both support and criticism from various quotas. The ethical question of whether or not people have a moral duty to help the poor and hungry is a contentious one. Some people see today’s world as a cruel dog-eat-dog culture in which some people suffer for others to enjoy and survive. On the other hand, others believe that all people should be given equal access to a life without sufferings through monetary support from the fortunate in the society. Based on a personal point of view, I support Singer’s claims that human beings have a moral obligation to poor and the hungry.
First, it is undisputed that some individuals have driven themselves in their current poverty status. However, the claim may not cover all those who are suffering, as most of them are victims of poor governance, civil war, and unstable economies. Therefore, whenever a given person drives past local places and finds those without food, shelter as well as basic needs, they should always think about the general human life. It may not be a government rule, but people should have moral obligations to support those who are less fortunate in the society. As a result, individuals should not just drive past the needy and just assume that these people should put more effort, or rather it is their fate to be in poverty. The generosity should extend to those nations where most of its citizens suffer from poor sanitation, hunger, among other adversaries. Unstable governments, poor governance, and scarce resources have pulled the poor and hungry in this predicament. As a result, these people do not deserve to undergo such suffering and sometimes even die, due to mistakes they never committed.
Singer reasons that individuals living in affluent nations should radically change their life norms as well as their morality conception in order to be more committed to helping the poor. Across the globe, various incidences of famine have been reported, where neither individuals nor administrations do anything, despite people undergoing severe suffering. It is beyond reasonable doubt that death, as well as related sufferings, are bad, whether contributed by inadequate housing, deficient medical care, or hunger. Moreover, if a given person is in a position to prevent a given immoral state affairs, without necessarily sacrificing anything of equal moral significance, there should be no reservation to do so. Therefore, based on this argument, people should always be free to help the poor and suffering regardless of whether they are close to them or not irrespective of the distance between them. Someone’s obligation to aid the poor and those suffering should not cease since others who are in a position to help are not doing so. Indeed, in moral terms, the presence of other individuals doing nothing to help has no difference with the absence of persons who do something.
Through the adoption of moral responsibility feeling for the poor, individuals are in a position to save other human beings from various sufferings, most of which can be avoided. In doing so, it is possible to make many people happy as opposed to living life that is full or struggles and anguish. It would be an idea for individuals in all societies to hold this kind of moral obligation. However, society values usually sway persons into an act of selfishly hoarding their usually hard-acquired money. As a result, once people adopt the egocentric lifeboats ethics, they tend to lose the reciprocity and compassion sense for others. Nevertheless, it is advisable that people should strive to make personal decisions, and thus embrace the sharing ethics, without any force or government requirement. Despite the construction of this policy being voluntary, people have the moral obligation to support the hungry and the have-nots.
Sharing would massively solve most of the issue of hunger and poverty that are usually experienced in different parts of the globe. Indeed, I support Singer’s reasoning that if all people were to donate toward mitigation of famine and poverty, it would reach a point where each individual is required only to contribute just a small amount. Moreover, this would result in a scenario where people take turns in donating, and the overall effects would be a world free of extreme poverty and famine. However, people should donate without considering what other give, since such as act would help in ensuring that these people do not feel like they are giving more than they are supposed. Indeed, I tend to agree with Singer’s reasoning that if people know about what others are donating, they may end up being demotivated, considering the fact that not many who give too much. Therefore, donating to mitigate poverty and hunger should be limited to individual’s generosity as opposed a comparison of what others offer.
Some people would emphasize the importance of having the rich and the poor, for the societal balance. However, such reasoning fails to recognize that people are not accorded the right to choose where to be born, and thus anyone can be born poor or wealthy. Therefore, it is unfair to argue that the poor and hungry should be allowed to suffer, just because they had not chance to choose where to be born. As a result, people should recognize that individuals achieved status is largely associated with the environment, as opposed to hard work and dedication. Moreover, if the situation is reversed and the have-nots become the richer and vice versa, most of the currently stable individuals would support the claim that it is moral to support the less fortunate. Therefore, basing the argument on the fact that no one would like to be willingly on the receiving extreme, it is moral for those in offering end to support the latter.
Poverty and suffering are some of the factors that make the world inhabitable and increase the level of crimes. Therefore, considering that crime affects both poor and the rich, those in a position to help have an obligation to ensure that society is secure for everyone. Indeed, Peter insists that if someone has the power to avert a particular bad thing from occurring without sacrificing something of comparable moral importance, they should morally do it. Poverty associated suffering is fundamentally bad, and thus the idea to have someone suffering to balance the population is unethical. As a result, if someone has the capacity to stop a particular suffering, he or she should freely do so without the fear of population balance. Therefore, those for the idea to stabilize the global population should seek to invest in other ways as opposed to discouraging the willing from supporting the poor and hungry. Indeed, the proponents of such idea should understand that global population can be controlled without necessarily the poor dying from hunger and related sufferings.
Peter Singer also resists the notion that the best method of dealing with famine is undertaking population control. However, even if this is necessary, there are other better method of population control as opposed to leaving the poor and hungry to starve to death. Therefore, those who seem to advocate for the wellbeing of everyone on the planet should seek for other better alternative of dealing with overpopulation, as opposed to advocating for the poor to starve. For illustration, encouraging birth control as well as education would massively facilitate in controlling the global population. Consequently, it is immoral to let people suffer and starve while one can help.
In conclusion, based on personal point of view, I support Singer’s claims that humans have a moral obligation to the poor and hungry. Individuals living in affluent nations should radically change their life norms to be more committed to helping the poor. The notion of having both the poor and rich for societal balance should not be advocated for. Although society values usually sway persons into an act of selfishly hoarding their usually hard-acquired money, people should have the moral drive to share. Therefore, as Singer insists, if people morally act upon the obligation of the poor, the world would be a better place.

Singer, Peter. “Famine, affluence and morality.” Ethical Theory: An Anthology 2 (2008): 466-

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