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Peter Singer Argues (Essay Sample)

This sample essay is based on Peter Singer\'s work “Rich and Poor” in which he argues that the “absolutely rich” have a moral obligation to help the “absolutely poor.” This was a critical thinking paper. source..
Peter Singer Argues Name: Institution: Peter Singer Argues Peter Singer argues in his work “Rich and Poor” that the “absolutely rich” have a moral obligation to help the “absolutely poor.” According to Singer, many people in the Third World are suffering or dying out of disease, starvation and other hardships yet those in developed nations are awash with luxury and could assist the poor by giving up some of those luxuries but choose not to. He contends that doing nothing about absolute poverty is tantamount to allowing someone to die. Singer is categorical that there is no difference between killing and individual and allowing them to die when one is in a position to assist (Singer, 1993, p. 332). Singer support his argument by stating that if humans can prevent horrible events from happening without sacrificing their moral integrity, then such actions should not be considered as problems. Predictably, what Singer is trying to put across is that the rich themselves are not in a position to save the proverbial drowning child, but they can give the excess money and resources to those who can. He has aid organizations such as the Red Cross, World Vision, and Oxfam. While some of his arguments appear valid, some are open to debate. For instance, he describes a difference between the ‘practicalities’ and ‘ethics’ of assisting the poor. Singer uses the ethical argument that drives his audience to see the urgency in helping the poor through feeding the hungry, but the practical argument is used to advice on how much should be given. The prescription is that rich people should offer about one percent of their income. The logic is that this proportion is substantial but not adequate to alter the donor’s standard of living. It proceeds by prescribing that those earning around $100,000 should give out three percent and five percent for those earning much more than $100,000. For individuals earning millions of dollars every year, the proportion they should donate increases to one third of their income (Singer, 1993, p. 331). At first pass, this may appear reasonable. However, it does not make any moral or economic sense. In his work “Anarchy, State, and Utopia,” Robert Nozick argued that an unfettered free market formed the basis of a just society. According to him, the only justifiable function of the state was ensuring the efficient operation of free markets by implementing contracts and safeguarding citizens against theft, fraud, and violence. The policy of making citizens pay for a sort of a “night watchman” state, which seems redistributive is, in fact, non-redistributive because such a state would ultimately naturally arise through free bargaining. Nozick illustrates his point using the Wilt chamberlain example that if a person is able to offer goods or services that are highly demanded and other freely agree to pay him for the same goods or services, then that person deserves to be rich (Srinivasan, 2013, p. 1). Upon acquiring the wealth, he does not owe anybody any...
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