Ethics and Survival.
It is hard to realize the amount of pain and suffering in this world. It can be said that it is even harder to do something that could make in impact to help all of those in need. With the advancement in communication and technology, the world has become a very small place. Even though we are separated by borders and beliefs, we are still one species trying to survive. We as a species are all that we have in this universe, and it is important to try and stick together and help wherever and whenever we can. This world is ravaged by poverty and sickness, while there are others with vast wealth and power. It is hard to believe that there are billionaires and people who cannot afford food on the same planet. Peter Singer states a moral problem in his paper Famine, Affluence, and Morality. He says that it is just as important to help those in need where distance and time are not important. He says that it is just as important to help a starving child far away as it is to help a drowning child right in front of you. His major principle is that our ways of understanding moral “rights and wrongs” are in fact wrong and that our societies’ definition of morally right needs to be changed because we allow poverty and pain to go on while others spend money on unnecessary luxuries. Singer states that if someone has the power to help others, without causing harm to others, they are morally required to do so. However the harm to oneself has to be equal to or greater than the action that would help others, so you cannot refuse to help save a person from a blizzard just because you refuse to give up your expensive coat. There are those with such vast wealth that only ten percent of their wealth could provide food to whole countries. I feel that these people more than anyone else are the ones who are most at fault. While there are those who could afford minor parts of relief funds, and should very well do what they can, I believe that those who can make a giant impact in the lives of those in absolute need, are the people who should be held accountable for all the pain that these starving people go through. I am not at all saying that people other than billionaires do not need to do what they can, because it is a group effort in making sure that this world is safe for every person.
Singer’s second implication is that you are not required to save some one if equal or greater harm is to come to yourself. This includes giving so much money to the poor, that you yourself become poverty stricken. So if someone you know needs surgery on their heart, but you need surgery on your liver, you are not obligated to give the other person the money needed for your surgery so that they can survive. Furthermore, you are not required to put others in harm equal harm to help someone else. But on the other side of the argument, there are people who would rather spend money on expensive nonsensical items, than send the money to help with the relief of those without food, water, or shelter. To singer this is the same as murder, because they are deliberately doing something that will cause the death of another. So, if there is a millionaire who spends his money on cars and houses, he should be called a murder because he “could” have saved countless lives with his wealth. This man’s wealth should be used for the survival of others, but since it isn’t, this man is no better than a murderer. Lastly, it’s important to say that it is not a reasonable excuse to say that you didn’t help others because no one else did, as said by Singer. This excuse is so terrible because if everyone kept this mindset no one would ever be helped, so it is important for mankind to take action when it is most important so that no one can ever use this excuse. Singer states that societies’ definition of what is morally right and wrong is incorrect. He says that not helping someone avoid death is the same as killing them. He goes on to say that societies’...
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