Reflection #9

What do you think of Peter Singer’s arguments? Do you feel obligated to help those in need? Why or why not? If so, what are you going to do about it? If not, how would you support your reasoning to someone who sided with Singer?

I believe Peter Singer’s ideology about giving to charity is founded in good morals and a solid argument. It is easy to ignore the distress of others when we can’t see them. It is easy to forget their suffering. However, it is also easy to help them if we open our eyes. It doesn’t take much.

As Americans, most of us are in the top 1% of the world in regards to income. Of course, things cost more here than they do in third-world nations, but many of our basic necessities are easily accessible, such as clean, running water. Much of what we buy is luxurious items. And if things cost more here, things cost less there, meaning we don’t have to donate a lot of money to make a large difference in someone’s or many someones’ life. As Singer says, if you don’t buy just one thing that you want but don’t need, you could save a child, perhaps many children.

This week and the next, we are talking in class about and researching charities who use their donations morally and efficiently. I have begun thinking about how I can give once I know more about who my money should go to. This line of thinking has led me to consider what I buy that I don’t necessarily need. One of the things that came to mind is my affection (and perhaps addiction) to Coca Cola. After entering college, I’ve begun buying it for myself more often and have realized just how much money it takes to support this habit, money that could save or vastly improve someone’s life. While I have absolutely no desire to try to stop drinking Coke, if I matched the money I spent on it, I would be donating a substantial amount. In this way, I can get what I want and help others at the same time.

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