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The Singer Solution to World Poverty

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The Singer Solution to World Poverty

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“The Singer Solution to World Poverty”

You bought those new Jordans yet? How about the new iPad? What if I told you that you could possibly save a child’s life with that money? In his September 5, 1999 New York Times Magazine article “The Singer Solution to World Poverty,” Peter Singer goes in on American consumerism and its connection to world poverty. He also explains how donating $200 to overseas aid organizations like UNICEF and Oxfam America is enough to “help a sickly 2-year-old transform into a healthy 6-year old.” He goes on to point out that an American household only really needs to spend $30,000 a year on basic necessities. This number remains the same regardless of income so any income above this should be donated to these aid organizations.

In his article, Singer gives two direct examples of how a person could save the life of a child, but doesn’t. He then compares them to the average person choices we make in every day lives. One example was that of a woman named Dora who for $1,000 knowingly led a homeless boy to a location she was given to be killed by organ peddlers, and bought herself a television with the money. Singer gives the example of Bob as well. Bob was close to retirement and had invested a majority of his life savings into an uninsured but appreciable Bugatti. One day, while parked on trail tracks, he’s ultimately forced to decide between his prize car and the life of a child who had been walking on the same track. He chose the Bugatti. Singer then turns on his readers and accuses them of being no better. He suggests that while the actions of Dora and Bob were cruel, the average person is in no position to judge. Pointing to the fact that people spend one third of their income on non-necessities, which he considers to be anything “not essential to the preservation of our lives and health,” he says we are likewise responsible for the death of needy children. He encourages his readers to go out and donate to UNICEF and even goes...