I, as a senior at Rutgers University, am one of hundreds of millions of people who could devote a substantial quantity of less money on things that do not boost any effectiveness but my own. For the equivalent quantity of money I spend on an iClicker, I could provide a family in Zimbabwe access to the basic necessities of life. Singer argues we have widespread obligations to the world’s poor, but we can meet them without being deprived of all of our worldly assets and possessions.
This essay aims to defend Singer’s arguments that we, fitting a picture of absolute affluence, have a moral obligation to help those in poverty. Singer’s position on our moral obligation to aid the world’s poor is characteristically frank and rests on three premises. The first premise states that ‘if we can prevent something bad without sacrificing something significant, we ought to do it. ‘ The second premise simply declares that ‘extreme poverty is bad’.
Finally, the third premise claims that ‘there is some extreme poverty we can prevent without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance. Ultimately, the sum of the premises’ yield the conclusion that ‘we ought to prevent some extreme poverty. ‘ The premises are wisely formulated; it’s put forth in a fashion that invites nonconsequentialist recognition and approval. The heart of Singer’s argument depends on a deliberately worded, normally acceptable set of claims that has an array of conceivable objections. Singer, an utilitarianism, is careful to note that careful direction of assistance is important, both in terms of who we give our money to and in terms of the kind of aid to give.
As mentioned in class, he notes organisations such as GiveWell. org that are devoted to determining the most effective ways to give aid. Unfortunately, the duty and responsibility to contribute to global poverty is not reduced even if the kind of aid proves most effective in particular conditions and environments. There are a number of objections to Singer’s case that we have a moral obligation to contribute to the prevention of some poverty. Such objections that stab to refute our moral obligation to the poor come from a variety of ethical positions and perspective.
The first follows consequential logic yet reaches a different conclusion: There is this idea that the prevention of poverty now may lead to greater suffering in the future, so we ought to adopt a triage policy to limit the use of resources we will inevitably need for aid in the future. This follows consequential logic, yet reaches a different conclusion. I believe this objection is the most plausible counter-argument to Singer’s view and is strong enough to discuss. The acceptance and implementation of a utilitarian view of morality does not indicate consistent reasoning with other utilitarians and other consequentialists.
It does, nevertheless, infer that a utilitarian objection to a utilitarian argument would present an essential and potentially dangerous threat to the argument’s credibility. Perhaps the most serious challenge and criticism to the argument that we have a duty to aid the poor is that because the main reason of poverty is overpopulation. In addition, aiding those currently in poverty will only guarantee that yet more people are born to exist in poverty in the future. I believe this objection generates the foundation for a thought-provoking discussion.
Those who approve and concur with the objection are prone to adopt a view supporting a triage policy for long-term poverty prevention. We should think of ourselves as the occupiers of a packed lifeboat drifting with purposeless in a deep blue ocean filled of drowning people. If we attempt to rescue the drowning by transporting them on board, our vessel will be congested and we will all drown. Do some have to die in order for some to live? Supporters of this opinion are bleak and cynical about the circumstances in the world currently, and are worried about ong-term overpopulation contributing to vaster suffering and poverty in future.
But, the opposing view would argue basically that poverty is a consequence of defective distribution and that population containment through a triage policy, or any policy, is bad parenting and quite easily solvable. There is a overabundance of food to provide and support the world’s population if more efficiently distributed and industrial advances are making this is more realistic and plausible. “Population growth is not a reason against giving aid but a reason for reconsidering the type of aid to give”(2011: 209).
The case to accept triage is as vulnerable and as sensitive to the equivalent danger it poses to the debate to aid the needy. Credible solutions being redistribution of wealth and contraception must be studied and tested before considering adopting such an approach. I believe that a course of action that will undoubtedly generate some benefit is to be chosen over a different course that may set path to a slightly larger benefit, but is equally possible to end in no benefit at all.
A coin has two sides. Therefore, this objection cannot be morally justified. Ultimately, none of the objections presented to his conclusion can be morally justified. Consequentialist arguments are always open to the objection that the worst outcomes may occur, and that another course of action may have a better result, but the anticipatable immediate consequences of a triage policy or similar are obnoxious. To let our obligations be determined by intuition is not a morally defendable standpoint.