Singer Essay 2

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Feathers and Fur

Rich and Poor

Peter Singer makes some excellent points in his argument that the rich should prevent some absolute poverty. Peter first describes what poverty is and the degrees to which certain people experience poverty. Some folks in Australia who live in relative poverty are, in fact, much better off than folks living on pensions in Britain. He goes on to state that even the pensioners in Britain are much better off than those folks who live in abject poverty in Ethiopia for example. For purposes of his article, he will use the abject poverty of places such as Ethiopia, where infant mortality is horrible, as is the longevity rate of adults.

As for the rich, Peter describes them as having more than enough money to pay bills with a considerable amount left over to buy non essentials such as stereos, fashionable clothes, etc. Folks in this category buy houses not for shelter but because they want to live in better neighborhoods or they want an extra play room for the kids during inclement weather.

A wealthy nation will often feed grain to our farm animals so that they will convert it to meat, mil me 23% of the world?s population live in absolute poverty. Absolute affluence is what Singer describes as having more than one needs to provide themselves with basic necessities.

One of the examples that was provided in opposition to the argument that the rich should help some of the poor was that if the rich were adrift in a boat and the poor were drowning about them, the boat would surely sink if the rich began to pull the drowning into the boat. This is true. But also provided was the theory that if a man saw a child drowning in a pond, he would be compelled to help the child, for by walking away would have been considered very wrong. Also offered was the triage theory.

The triage theory came about during the war when there was not enough medical personnel available to help everyone. Those who would survive whether or not they received care were in the first category. Those would survive if they received medical care but would otherwise surely died comprised the second category. Those who were sure to die whether or not they received medical care were in the third category. Based on the triage theory, only those in the second category were helped by the medical teams. (This sure gives me a different take on triage units! I had no idea this is what was meant by triage.)

Given the triage theory, a wealthy or industrialized nation should pick and choose which nation to receive and which nation to allow to wither and die without any aid whatsoever. It is truly a repugnant thought.

Having read both sides of the arguments, it seems only fitting that anyone with means should feel, if not be, obligated to assist any one or group of persons who are less fortunate than he. We in the United States certainly have many vehicles to select from in order to get funds to the needy. This was a great argument!

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