The Singer Solution to World Poverty

Topics: Ethics, Peter Singer, An American Family Pages: 3 (1062 words) Published: August 7, 2009
In the New York Times Article “ the Singer Solution to World Poverty” the author Peter Singer argues that there is no reason why Americans don’t donate money to the needy when they can afford countless of luxury that are not essential to the preservation of their lives and health. Singer pursue the audience with two different situations trying to motivate the reader to donate money instantly.

The fist situation comes from a Brazilian film, Central Station in which a woman called Dora, a retired schoolteacher, has to persuade a homeless nine years old boy to a family that will adopt him in order to make a thousand dollars. Dora deliver successfully the boy into his new family, and she receives the thousand dollars. After spending some of the money in a new television, she is told that the boy was too old for adoption and so he will be killed. As a consequence, Dora decided to take the boy back.

The second situation that Singer uses in his argument comes from the philosopher Peter Unger’s book Living High and Letting Die. A man called Bob who has a valuable car, a Buggatti for which has spent most of his saving on it. Bob likes his car not only for riding it and caring for it, but also because its value is increasing and in fact the car is ensuring an stable life after Bob’s retirement. One day, Bob found himself in a dramatic situation where he could save the life of a boy who was in the way of a speedy train, but to do so he would have to sacrificed his expensive and valuable Buggatti sport car. However, he chose not to sacrificed his car and the boy is killed by the train and his Buggatti is unharmed.

Singer brings up these two situation to provoke a response from the reader. Singer emphasis Dora’s attitude of saving the boy’s life arguing that if Dora hadn’t taken the boy back, she would have become a “monster” in the eyes of the audience. On the other hand, Singer says about Bob that the audience will immediately condemn his decision. The author...
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