Foreign Aid - Our Obligation to Help the Less Fortunate Essay

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What is absolute poverty? According to Robert McNamara it is "life at the very margin of existence" (Singer 219). It is a life that, if not ended by early death, causes a kind of misery unseen to those living in the United States. Compared to the estimated 1.2 billion people, worldwide living in poverty, those of us in developed countries experience a life of luxury. The things that we take for granted, such as cars, computers, microwaves, and televisions, are extravagant items that most people living in extreme economic poverty will never see. The gap between the affluent and the poverty-stricken is wide, and is getting even wider in many areas of the world. Are we morally obligated to help those less fortunate than…show more content…
Nozick feels that the absolutely affluent, under these conditions, do not have any obligation to give up their property in order to help those who are less fortunate. These people, in his view, have the rights to their property and are entitled to do with it as they please. This argument does not necessarily mean that we should not give to those in need, but merely states that there is no obligation to do so (Singer 234). Singer presents his ideas about the obligation to assist by stating, "If it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance, we ought to do it" (Singer 231). This argument seems uncontroversial and very reasonable. According to this principle, individuals must decide for themselves whether the moral significance of, for example, deciding to spend less money on restaurant dining can be compared to the significance of helping a child who is dying of hunger. This seems like a very lopsided comparison, yet many still cringe at the idea of giving up one small luxury in order to give to those less fortunate than themselves. Why is this such a difficult decision for us to make? One reason is that many feel a pull to give to those near to them before helping strangers in distant lands. Most loving parents want to make sure that their children have the things that will
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