Evaluation on Famine, Affluence, and Morality

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Extreme global poverty is a problem that affects a large percentage of the world's population and will continue to spread until serious action is taken against it by the wealthier nations. However, the amount of obligation, if any, that countries feel they have to deal with such a problem is a main source of controversy and one of the reasons why poverty is taking so long to be reduced.

This obligation to help others introduces the concept of utilitarianism. In general, this idea requires an individual, or society as a whole, to act in such a way as to promote "the maximization of goodness in society – that is, the greatest goodness for the greatest number" (Pojman 107). Therefore, the person is the focus of happiness. In addition, utilitarianism falls in the category of teleological ethics, which is concerned with the conclusion or the consequences of a particular act, and not the means by which that end result was produced. Using the act of lying as an example, Pojman states, "the act that is right produces the best consequences…the only thing wrong with lying for the teleologist is the bad consequences it produces" (107). It is not the act itself that makes lying bad to the teleologist, but the end result. Normally, t

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Therefore, this introduces the term "supererogatory" which means "an act which it would be good to do, but not wrong not to do" (235). The theory of utilitarianism suggests that people have a moral obligation to do everything that they can in order to help those in need without making moral sacrifices for themselves.

Another criticism against utilitarianism is against the idea of helping the poor. Garret Hardin, author of "Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor" who states that, just as the title suggests, "the rich nations can be seen as a lifeboat full of comparatively rich people…outside the lifeboat swim the poor of the world…and as the current energy crisis has shown us, in some ways we have already exceeded the...
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