Should Rich Nations Help Poor Nations

Topics: Overpopulation, Poverty, Garrett Hardin Pages: 6 (1935 words) Published: April 24, 2002
Should Rich Nations
Poor Nations?

Adriana Hernandez
Poly Sci
Prof. Murphy
Imagine living in a community where every minute of everyday you were hungry, underclothed, and at risk for death because you are poor. Now imagine waking up and your biggest problem was which sweater to wear with which jeans. Both are scenarios that occur on a daily basis in our countries, some more extreme than others are. With that in mind a question of whether or not rich nations have an obligation to help those nations if need arises. Professor of philosophy Peter Singer and biologist Garrett Hardin both have very different opinions on this matter and the following paper will focus on their arguments.

Peter Singer's argument focuses greatly on the nation that citizens of rich nations can with ease help poor nations, without causing any financial burden, therefore, helping those in need should be done.

Singer introduces his objective about the obligation to support the less fortunate nations by stating that, as humans if we can prevent something horrible from occurring, without sacrificing our moral integrity, then helping should not be considered a problem, and we should do it (Singer 331). According to Singer's idea, the intention is not to push individuals into helping out the poor. His intention is simply trying to make people realize that going out to a fancy restaurant, or taking that cruise around the world, is of less importance than helping out a starving young child who will die due to hunger (Singer 336.) It hardly seems fair, when you look at situations as such and think, "while I'm in luxury, another is starving." Singer explains that the argument may be uncommon, but often times people still roll their eyes at the idea of sacrificing something small, in order to help out those in need. Singer asks, why is downsizing such a problem for the "affluent," many believe it is not helping that is a problem, it is helping those in distant lands that poses the problem. But if one where to examine the situation and realize that no mother and father would want to deprive their own children from; a good education, clothing, food, and shelter then why let someone else's children endure the same hardship. By no means is Singer's intention to promote that we as a wealthy nation are equally responsible for the life and death of people on other nations (Singer 337.)

With regards to one's own spending, Singer was not trying to propose that all luxuries be forfeited due to impoverished nations, however he was trying to show that there is in no way a moral comparison to luxury, or allowing someone to live a little longer. He suggests that money given to a charity could morally bring about the same type of satisfaction, than if going on vacation or spending money on a video games (Singer 336.) Singer also suggests that often time's society is afraid of where their money will end up or how it will be use when donated. Singer names four charities that are in existence which are single-handedly devoted to improving the lives of those less fortunate (Singer 337.)

Arguments often times arise when people believe they would not be helping a situation that will only worsen. Worsen in the sense that, no matter how many efforts are made, the problem will not be reduced due to overpopulation. It is never heartening to hear that in the next ten-to-fifteen years the nation you helped will one again be overpopulated, and their need will be greater. It lends the idea that aiding the poor is only excuses to reproduce, therefore, causing more disease, hunger and famine. It is the general idea that qualities of life will never changes, while the number of people will (Singer 340.)

The idea of overpopulation does raise a huge concern, but if we really care, Singer believes we can look past the situation and realize that there are no other alternatives. Singer suggests that, when speaking of assistance, people believe...
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