World Hunger and Our Responsibilities Essay

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World Hunger and Our Responsibilities

Joseph TraVoy McCullough
PHI 200 Mind and Machine
Week 2 Assignment
Instructor: Jack Isbell
September 24, 2012

In the article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” author Peter Singer believes that people who are wealthy should not spend money on unneeded objects while there are people starving in the world. Singer believes that people who are able to give money to the less fortunate, poverty and half-starving should do it to help them escape being poor. He also states the only exception is that if by providing these things we will be causing something bad to happen then we should not do it, for example people who use drugs that cannot or will not take care of themselves or their families. I agree with these ideas because I believe that a person has the right to do what they want with their money, however when you are in need of help you owe it to the people who are supporting you to do the right thing with their gift. The bible asks a very good question, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper,” I really think we are our brother’s keepers in a sense that if he cannot take care of himself or his families then it becomes our responsibility. I do understand that giving is based on a person’s own determination and no one is obligated to help others outside his/her immediate family just because they are wealthy. Singer argues that, “If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it,” and without allowing anything else bad to happen of equal devastation. I agree with his statement, if I have the power to change someone’s life circumstances if I have a lot of money than I am prepared to do it. Singer’s argument is an appeal to the compassionate aspects of one’s personality. He tries to make the reader feel guilty because people are dying of starvation, and nothing is being done to prevent it. Singer explains that the fact that no one else is taking action does not justify an individual’s own unwillingness to make a difference. He believes that the consequences of an action determine its moral character. The consequences of not sending food to starving people are the same as contributing to their ultimate death. Basically, he feels that there is no excuse for people who do not aid those in real need of help. Singer feels that we should be preventing as much suffering as possible, it is wrong to just sit and do nothing. As Americans, we are extremely blessed to live in the richest country in the world. People who are starving in East Bengal were unfortunately born into a less than thriving country, so we need to really reflect on the fact that we could have been born in that country