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Rich and Poor

Rich and Poor

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Rich and Poor

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  1. Rich and Poor by Peter Singer

  2. Both absolute poverty and absolute affluence exist. • Absolute poverty. • Defined as malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, squalid housing, high infant mortality, low life expectancy. • Characterizes 23% of world’s population. • Absolute affluence. • Ability to meet all basic needs + afford luxuries. • Characterizes the majority (but not all) in advanced industrial countries.

  3. There is sufficient production of economic goods in the world that no one has to live in absolute poverty. • This is certainly the case for food. • Sufficient food is produced today to provide every person on earth with a nutritionally adequate diet – and • This is without putting more land into agricultural production or bringing the “green revolution” everywhere.

  4. What does Rawls’ theory say? • Apply the second principle. • The current inequality does not leave enough for everyone. • No one could place themselves behind the veil of ignorance and assent to this pattern of distribution. • The current world-wide pattern of poverty and wealth is not just, and therefore is not ethically acceptable.

  5. What does Singer say? • Every serious ethicist would say we should prevent what is bad when we can do so without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance. • In the case of world poverty, this means that helping is morally required – not merely something it is nice to do for the people who feel like it.