The Singer Solution to Poverty
Does Singer Present
a Valid Argument?
Peter Singer is an Australian Philosopher and a Bioethics professor at Princeton University. He is the author of Animal Liberation, a book that moved many to become vegetarians, while others were offended at his suggestion that humans and animals be on the same moral plane. In September of 1999, Singer published an article in the New York Times Magazine called ‘The Singer Solution to Poverty’. In his article, Singer argues that people who have money to spare should be giving it to charities, specifically Unicef or Oxfam America. Although he has a valid point, people should donate money to the less fortunate if they can, his argument is weak on several points.
Singer begins his article referencing a movie, called Central Station, in which a woman is given $1,000 to take a homeless boy to a house, under the belief that he will be adopted. She spends the money on a new television, but is later told that the boy, being too old to be adopted, will be killed for his organs. Whether the woman initially knew this or not is unknown, but she vows to get the boy back. Singer tries to discredit , saying she might try to justify her action by stating there are other people with televisions, or that he was only a street kid. Singer then tries to compare the woman to the average American family, the ones with nice televisions, saying that they’re just as bad buying new TVs instead of donating the money to street kids in third world countries. Then, Singer brings up a man named Bob, and his Bugatti. Bob is an idiot for many reasons, the first being his purchase of a $2 million car, which he has not been able to insure. Second, he parks his car near the end of a railroad track. After getting out of his car, he spots a runaway train. He looks down the tracks. One way there is a little boy, toward whom the train is running. The other way down the tracks is his...
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