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Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments

Singer asserts that today it is impossible to morally vindicate the attitudes of the rich towards the poor. In the modern world, there exist a considerable number of people who live in luxury. This means that they can satisfy their basic needs and the needs of their dependants and remain with money for additional expenses. These additional expenses, according to Singer (p. 3) are not human needs and somebody who can afford them is described as rich. The rich can decide to avoid the additional expenses and instead help the poor to acquire the basic needs. Regrettably, this is not the case in realism. Today some people cannot get even minimal health care, or even offer education for their children. There are the people who spend less than one US dollar and he describes them as extremely poor people. These people are completely poor compared to others and even comparing their lifestyles with an unconditional, changeless standard of the majority basic human needs (Singer, p. 3).

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A typical family in the US spends approximately a third of their earnings on unnecessary things. Singer observes that even in the countries considered having many poor people like Brazil and other Latin American countries there exist also many entirely wealthy people. The cash that the affluent spend on opulence could be donated to any of voluntary agencies to help the children in poverty. Singer considers a story of a Brazilian lady who was on the verge of selling a homeless kid to acquire a TV set, a luxury for that matter. The moral responsibility of the wealthy is challenged in that there is no difference between the selfish Brazilian lady and many rich people who don’t care about the poor children who die on the streets due to lack of basic needs. The wealthy people’s behaviors of ignoring the poor raise a solemn moral issue. Though by ignoring the poor, the rich do not contribute directly to their death Singer observes that they are not morally justified to allow their death (Singer, p. 4).

Singer rejects some of the reasoning by rich that it is impossible to actually ascertain that their donation reaches the intended target. Although it is hard to know the uncertainty of overseas aid made, the fear that the better proportion of the money donated will not actually reach its target is a conservative assumption. Another assumption is based on the fact that there are too many people out there who need the help and saving just one will not entirely eliminate the problem. Singer argues against the observation by the rich than helping one poor person can repeat over and over again until the rich eventually becomes the poor. He asserts that such observations have no moral justification.

Another argument by the wealthy that Singer disagrees with is that nobody will make a far-reaching sacrifice if all the affluent nations in the world contributed their shares. This is because all the predicament of the poor will be long solved. It is also observed that the economy will be negatively affected if all people gave a considerable amount of their earnings rather than buying the consumer goods. This will reduce the job opportunities and consequently the economy will suffer.

All people are ideally should be treated as equal, the reason for this is not because they are equal, in terms of wealth, but it’s plainly because they are human beings. All humans have emotions and needs. Their ability to think gives them the capability of enjoying life unlike other animals. The distinction between the rich and the poor does not rule out the desire to enjoy life. By the good life Singer refers to not much the morally excellent life as the contented or suitable life. The consideration would come into view as unnecessary for enjoying the good quality of life. As a matter of fact to highlight the need for consideration would make it hard for people who believe in equality of all people. This is because only a few people are capable of leading satisfying lives that can be considered morally good. This also makes it hard to view what Frankena’s opinion of egalitarianism entails with merely being human (Young, p. 639). Every conscious being has the ability to lead a life that is better-off or less depressed. This claim has to be considered. With this in mind, the peculiarity between the rich and the poor is sharply divided. It is rather a range which we follow slowly while relating with each other from plain ability for pleasure and satisfaction and twinge and anguish.

In Singer’s article, “all animals are equal”, he observes that the truth is that the plead to the inherent dignity of human beings seems to resolve the egalitarian’s problems. This happens only as long as it is actually unconcealed. The question is asked why all humans including the infants, are mentally challenged, antisocial, and all possess some sort of dignity that no other animals have. In my opinion, the question may be difficult but may be considered as a significant fact that justifies the inequality and disparity of humans and other animals. The same is applicable to humans only in terms of the rich and the poor (Young, p. 647).

Sometimes the rich are faced with a condition in which they view a necessity for the basis of moral chasm that is a common deliberation to divide rich and the poor. In many cases they cannot get any tangible difference that can possibly achieve that without undermining the impartiality of humans. Some people tend to blather to arguments such as the fundamental dignity of the wealthy as the basis for keeping a distance from others. To some extent these arguments hold some truth. The question of why a person should spend more than his share for the sake of the poor takes two dimensions, which in my opinion are all valid. The opinion of being obligated to distant oneself from others can be argued by the fact that one should give only if one feels it is abundant above his fair share. Earlier advocators of giving like Aquinas and Ambrose actually see eye to eye that you should offer what you have in superabundance.

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Works Cited

  1. Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  2. Young, Iris. Justice and Politics of Difference. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1990.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 3). Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/attitudes-to-poverty-singers-arguments/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 3). Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments. https://studycorgi.com/attitudes-to-poverty-singers-arguments/

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"Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments." StudyCorgi, 3 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/attitudes-to-poverty-singers-arguments/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments." January 3, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/attitudes-to-poverty-singers-arguments/.


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StudyCorgi. "Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments." January 3, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/attitudes-to-poverty-singers-arguments/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments." January 3, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/attitudes-to-poverty-singers-arguments/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments'. 3 January.

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