Notes on “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”

Full text here

Even if you disagree with Peter Singer’s conclusions, his argument, if taken seriously, will make you question a few things about your own life:

1.) How much am I actually doing to prevent the suffering of the world?

2.) If I have the means to prevent the suffering of others, but I am choosing to eat out at a fancy restaurant every week instead of helping a baby who is dying of malnutrition, am I truly being moral?

3.) Am I doing all that I can to help others, or am I only doing a fraction of my capacity, due to my own self-interest?

4.) What is the right amount of aid that I can give without sacrificing my own well-being? In other words, what is the right balance between what I can do for others without harming myself? How extreme should my generosity be?

5.) What makes the lives of those who live in countries far away from me any less valuable than those who live in my own community? They are as human as I am. I can ignore their suffering by distracting myself with material comforts, but then, I would not be living responsibly, honoring the dignity of those who are mistreated, helping those who need medical care and food and shelter, or harmonizing my ideals with my actions.

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