Famine, Affluence, and Morality Essay

1371 Words 6 Pages
Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Webster's English Dictionary defines "morality" as: the conformity to ideals of right human conduct. With this in mind, I wonder who determines right human conduct? Religion aside, there is no literary context that strictly states the rights and wrongs of human behavior. So who decides? Who determines what we ought morally to do and what we are obligated to do as a society? An Australian philosopher, Peter Singer attempts to draw the line between obligation and charity with the moral incentives to providing food for the starved in East Bengal. Although he presents many sound arguments, the reality of his utopian world is that it cannot exist. In the following expository, I will justify my reasoning
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The United States Government has numerous support groups that's sole purpose is to fend for impoverished countries like Bengal. For example, the U.S. Peace Corps, National Guard, Amnesty International, and American Red Cross, all of which raise funds and lend aid to areas of greatest need when it concerns the general welfare of the human race. Not only do governments lend aid, but BANDAID, Salvation Army, Tibetan Peace Conference, and numerous individual parties contribute moneys and rally support, march the streets, and demand relief to these countries. Singer states "neither individuals nor governments can claim to be unaware of what is happening there [Bengal]." (page 152) My colleagues and I knew absolutely nothing of the recent developments in Bengal, which is not to say that we don't read newspapers or watch the evening news, but rather that the United States has priorities within its own country. American citizens tend to focus on the hardships that are within their spectrum, just as the British focus on troubles within The United Kingdom. "The uncontroversial appearance of the principle just stated [without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance], if it were acted upon, even in its qualified form, our lives, our society, and our world would be fundamentally changed." --Singer (page 153) Indeed, if this principle were to be carried out effectively, it would bring about change, but no matter what kinds of relief were provided,
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