Famine, Affluence, and Morality

954 Words4 Pages
Famine, Affluence, and Morality Michelle Frazee PHI 208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning Dr. Kurt Stuke 4 November 2013 Famine, Affluence, and Morality In the article, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, author Peter Singer champions for assistance for the Bengali refugees. Singer states that affluent countries’ reactions to situations like the one in Bengal in 1971, cannot be justified, and that the way that we, as a society, look at moral issues need to be altered. He believes that those of us who choose not to provide aid to relief funds are living immorally, and that we should feel an obligation to give until we reach marginal utility, the point “at which by giving more one would cause oneself and one’s dependents as much suffering as one would prevent” (Singer, 1972). Are we really living immorally for not giving to a starving country? Who is responsible when other nations find themselves destitute and starving? Who determines what is morally the right thing to do and what duties we have to perform as a society? Peter Singer states that “suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad” (1972), and that if we are able to assist without sacrificing anything that is comparably important, we morally should. In other words, Singer does not believe that giving assistance to the needy should be considered charity, but rather a duty or obligation. An example that Singer gives on this point is that if he walks by a pond and sees a child drowning, he should feel obligated to go in and pull the child out (1972). While I agree that you should not let a child drown if you can prevent it, I do not agree that providing famine relief should be an obligation. Singer writes about objections to his position on famine relief. One argument to Singer’s position is that it might be too drastic of a revision for our moral beliefs. People do not

More about Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Open Document