The Ethics and Obligations of Wealth

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The Ethics and Obligations of Wealth
The present paper presents the critical analysis of the two articles: Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor authored by Garrett Hardin and Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer. More specifically, the paper will discuss each author’s perspective, presentation and technique, as well as the way each argument is built and how the evidence is chosen and presented. The topic of the discussion is the level of an ethical obligation of wealthy countries to aid poor countries. The positions of the two philosophers are rather extreme: Garrett Hardin argues that wealthy nations have no obligation to help poorer ones, while Peter Singer insists on a relatively strong ethical duty of wealthier countries to aid when possible the struggling countries. Hardin’s opinion is based on the assumption that Christian and Marxist ideals are utopian and following them in the real world practice will lead to catastrophe. On the other hand, Peter Singer believes that if it is in the power of people to prevent an evil without doing any morally significant sacrifice, they ought to do it. The study in the paper will answer the following questions: Are the authors relying on certain assumptions or manipulative techniques to make their case? How well do the authors anticipate and address counter arguments? At the end of the paper the necessary conclusions will be made and the findings will be summarized. Hardin’s article is based on the following idea: wealthier countries do not have ethic obligation to the poorer ones because the resources on the earth can not be equally shared. This idea is supported by the argumentations that life on the earth suits more the ethics of a lifeboat than the ethics of a spaceship; that common possession of a property is absurd; and that the concept of pure justice contradicts the reality. On the whole, the reasoning presented in Hardin’s argumentations looks fairly sound and it is supported...