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The End of World Poverty

Freeman
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5/27/2010 11:33:13 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Is Peter Singer's reasoning sound? I believe it is.

"As I write this, in November 1971, people are dying in East Bengal from lack of food, shelter, and medical care. The suffering and death that are occurring there now are not inevitable, not unavoidable in any fatalistic sense of the term. Constant poverty, a cyclone, and a civil war have turned at least nine million people into destitute refugees; nevertheless, it is not beyond the capacity of the richer nations to give enough assistance to reduce any further suffering to very small proportions. The decisions and actions of human beings can prevent this kind of suffering. Unfortunately, human beings have not made the necessary decisions. At the individual level, people have, with very few exceptions, not responded to the situation in any significant way. Generally speaking, people have not given large sums to relief funds; they have not written to their parliamentary representatives demanding increased government assistance; they have not demonstrated in the streets, held symbolic fasts, or done anything else directed toward providing the refugees with the means to satisfy their essential needs. At the government level, no government has given the sort of massive aid that would enable the refugees to survive for more than a few days. Britain, for instance, has given rather more than most countries. It has, to date, given £14,750,000. For comparative purposes, Britain's share of the nonrecoverable development costs of the Anglo-French Concorde project is already in excess of £275,000,000, and on present estimates will reach £440,000,000. The implication is that the British government values a supersonic transport more than thirty times as highly as it values the lives of the nine million refugees. Australia is another country which, on a per capita basis, is well up in the "aid to Bengal" table. Australia's aid, however, amounts to less than one-twelfth of the cost of Sydney's new opera house. The total amount given, from all sources, now stands at about £65,000,000. The estimated cost of keeping the refugees alive for one year is £464,000,000. Most of the refugees have now been in the camps for more than six months. The World Bank has said that India needs a minimum of £300,000,000 in assistance from other countries before the end of the year. It seems obvious that assistance on this scale will not be forthcoming. India will be forced to choose between letting the refugees starve or diverting funds from her own development program, which will mean that more of her own people will starve in the future. [1]

These are the essential facts about the present situation in Bengal. So far as it concerns us here, there is nothing unique about this situation except its magnitude. The Bengal emergency is just the latest and most acute of a series of major emergencies in various parts of the world, arising both from natural and from manmade causes. There are also many parts of the world in which people die from malnutrition and lack of food independent of any special emergency. I take Bengal as my example only because it is the present concern, and because the size of the problem has ensured that it has been given adequate publicity. Neither individuals nor governments can claim to be unaware of what is happening there.

What are the moral implications of a situation like this? In what follows, I shall argue that the way people in relatively affluent countries react to a situation like that in Bengal cannot be justified; indeed, the whole way we look at moral issues - our moral conceptual scheme - needs to be altered, and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society.

In arguing for this conclusion I will not, of course, claim to be morally neutral. I shall, however, try to argue for the moral position that I take, so that anyone who accepts certain assumptions, to be made explicit, will, I hope, accept my conclusion.

I begin with the assumption that suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad. I think most people will agree about this, although one may reach the same view by different routes. I shall not argue for this view. People can hold all sorts of eccentric positions, and perhaps from some of them it would not follow that death by starvation is in itself bad. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to refute such positions, and so for brevity I will henceforth take this assumption as accepted. Those who disagree need read no further.

My next point is this: if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it. By "without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance" I mean without causing anything else comparably bad to happen, or doing something that is wrong in itself, or failing to promote some moral good, comparable in significance to the bad thing that we can prevent. This principle seems almost as uncontroversial as the last one. It requires us only to prevent what is bad, and to promote what is good, and it requires this of us only when we can do it without sacrificing anything that is, from the moral point of view, comparably important. I could even, as far as the application of my argument to the Bengal emergency is concerned, qualify the point so as to make it: if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it. An application of this principle would be as follows: if I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it, I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a very bad thing.

The uncontroversial appearance of the principle just stated is deceptive. If it were acted upon, even in its qualified form, our lives, our society, and our world would be fundamentally changed. For the principle takes, firstly, no account of proximity or distance. It makes no moral difference whether the person I can help is a neighbor's child ten yards from me or a Bengali whose name I shall never know, ten thousand miles away. Secondly, the principle makes no distinction between cases in which I am the only person who could possibly do anything and cases in which I am just one among millions in the same position."

Continued Below...
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Freeman
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5/27/2010 11:34:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
"I do not think I need to say much in defense of the refusal to take proximity and distance into account. The fact that a person is physically near to us, so that we have personal contact with him, may make it more likely that we shall assist him, but this does not show that we ought to help him rather than another who happens to be further away. If we accept any principle of impartiality, universalizability, equality, or whatever, we cannot discriminate against someone merely because he is far away from us (or we are far away from him). Admittedly, it is possible that we are in a better position to judge what needs to be done to help a person near to us than one far away, and perhaps also to provide the assistance we judge to be necessary. If this were the case, it would be a reason for helping those near to us first. This may once have been a justification for being more concerned with the poor in one's town than with famine victims in India. Unfortunately for those who like to keep their moral responsibilities limited, instant communication and swift transportation have changed the situation. From the moral point of view, the development of the world into a "global village" has made an important, though still unrecognized, difference to our moral situation. Expert observers and supervisors, sent out by famine relief organizations or permanently stationed in famine-prone areas, can direct our aid to a refugee in Bengal almost as effectively as we could get it to someone in our own block. There would seem, therefore, to be no possible justification for discriminating on geographical grounds.

There may be a greater need to defend the second implication of my principle - that the fact that there are millions of other people in the same position, in respect to the Bengali refugees, as I am, does not make the situation significantly different from a situation in which I am the only person who can prevent something very bad from occurring. Again, of course, I admit that there is a psychological difference between the cases; one feels less guilty about doing nothing if one can point to others, similarly placed, who have also done nothing. Yet this can make no real difference to our moral obligations. [2] Should I consider that I am less obliged to pull the drowning child out of the pond if on looking around I see other people, no further away than I am, who have also noticed the child but are doing nothing? One has only to ask this question to see the absurdity of the view that numbers lessen obligation. It is a view that is an ideal excuse for inactivity; unfortunately most of the major evils - poverty, overpopulation, pollution - are problems in which everyone is almost equally involved.

The view that numbers do make a difference can be made plausible if stated in this way: if everyone in circumstances like mine gave £5 to the Bengal Relief Fund, there would be enough to provide food, shelter, and medical care for the refugees; there is no reason why I should give more than anyone else in the same circumstances as I am; therefore I have no obligation to give more than £5. Each premise in this argument is true, and the argument looks sound. It may convince us, unless we notice that it is based on a hypothetical premise, although the conclusion is not stated hypothetically. The argument would be sound if the conclusion were: if everyone in circumstances like mine were to give £5, I would have no obligation to give more than £5. If the conclusion were so stated, however, it would be obvious that the argument has no bearing on a situation in which it is not the case that everyone else gives £5. This, of course, is the actual situation. It is more or less certain that not everyone in circumstances like mine will give £5. So there will not be enough to provide the needed food, shelter, and medical care. Therefore by giving more than £5 I will prevent more suffering than I would if I gave just £5.

It might be thought that this argument has an absurd consequence. Since the situation appears to be that very few people are likely to give substantial amounts, it follows that I and everyone else in similar circumstances ought to give as much as possible, that is, at least up to the point at which by giving more one would begin to cause serious suffering for oneself and one's dependents - perhaps even beyond this point to the point of marginal utility, at which by giving more one would cause oneself and one's dependents as much suffering as one would prevent in Bengal. If everyone does this, however, there will be more than can be used for the benefit of the refugees, and some of the sacrifice will have been unnecessary. Thus, if everyone does what he ought to do, the result will not be as good as it would be if everyone did a little less than he ought to do, or if only some do all that they ought to do.

The paradox here arises only if we assume that the actions in question - sending money to the relief funds - are performed more or less simultaneously, and are also unexpected. For if it is to be expected that everyone is going to contribute something, then clearly each is not obliged to give as much as he would have been obliged to had others not been giving too. And if everyone is not acting more or less simultaneously, then those giving later will know how much more is needed, and will have no obligation to give more than is necessary to reach this amount. To say this is not to deny the principle that people in the same circumstances have the same obligations, but to point out that the fact that others have given, or may be expected to give, is a relevant circumstance: those giving after it has become known that many others are giving and those giving before are not in the same circumstances. So the seemingly absurd consequence of the principle I have put forward can occur only if people are in error about the actual circumstances - that is, if they think they are giving when others are not, but in fact they are giving when others are. The result of everyone doing what he really ought to do cannot be worse than the result of everyone doing less than he ought to do, although the result of everyone doing what he reasonably believes he ought to do could be.

If my argument so far has been sound, neither our distance from a preventable evil nor the number of other people who, in respect to that evil, are in the same situation as we are, lessens our obligation to mitigate or prevent that evil. I shall therefore take as established the principle I asserted earlier. As I have already said, I need to assert it only in its qualified form: if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything else morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it."

Continued below...
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Freeman
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5/27/2010 11:35:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
"The outcome of this argument is that our traditional moral categories are upset. The traditional distinction between duty and charity cannot be drawn, or at least, not in the place we normally draw it. Giving money to the Bengal Relief Fund is regarded as an act of charity in our society. The bodies which collect money are known as "charities." These organizations see themselves in this way - if you send them a check, you will be thanked for your "generosity." Because giving money is regarded as an act of charity, it is not thought that there is anything wrong with not giving. The charitable man may be praised, but the man who is not charitable is not condemned. People do not feel in any way ashamed or guilty about spending money on new clothes or a new car instead of giving it to famine relief. (Indeed, the alternative does not occur to them.) This way of looking at the matter cannot be justified. When we buy new clothes not to keep ourselves warm but to look "well-dressed" we are not providing for any important need. We would not be sacrificing anything significant if we were to continue to wear our old clothes, and give the money to famine relief. By doing so, we would be preventing another person from starving. It follows from what I have said earlier that we ought to give money away, rather than spend it on clothes which we do not need to keep us warm. To do so is not charitable, or generous. Nor is it the kind of act which philosophers and theologians have called "supererogatory" - an act which it would be good to do, but not wrong not to do. On the contrary, we ought to give the money away, and it is wrong not to do so."

Etc. http://www.utilitarian.net...
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/27/2010 11:55:05 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I begin with the assumption that suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad.
More important, he assumes that "bad" is some out-of-context platonic form. It is not. It is bad for you if you starve to death. It is of little to no importance to me. Sure, I might glean some grain of benefit from waving a wand that fed you, but I can't feed you by waving a wand, and the other things I could spend my money on (this computer for example) if "you" is the average member of the human race, or, indeed, as far as I can tell, you in particular Freeman, are far more important to me than your survival.

There may well be a rare human for which the value I glean from my computer is less than the value I glean from feeding them. I don't know of any at this moment however.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/27/2010 11:55:39 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
There may well be a rare human for which the value I glean from my computer is less than the value I glean from feeding them. I don't know of any at this moment however.

Any other than myself of course.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Freeman
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5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
belle
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5/28/2010 12:16:21 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.

sooo people should give up the things you don't approve of but the things you do approve of are exempt? sounds consistent!
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/28/2010 12:20:04 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing
I don't buy designer clothing.

and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.
Or buy hardware or software improvements, or pay down my student loan debts...

(Or attempt to get out of the house for once and feed someone who probably doesn't need the food some very inefficiently made food for feeding but very efficient food for pleasing the taste buds, due to a trait they have that a person in Bangladesh does not- the potential for romance and sex, or just sex).

Given the whole "student loan debt" thing I clearly don't have much money to spare (incidentally, reread Singer, he thinks reducing to the point of marginal utility considering their utility equally with mine is justified, i.e., yes, computer must be sold)... but even if I did, I could find more useful things to spend it on than a few lives in Bangladesh.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Freeman
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5/28/2010 12:22:06 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:16:21 AM, belle wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.

sooo people should give up the things you don't approve of but the things you do approve of are exempt? sounds consistent!

Well, a computer is kind of important for all sorts of reasons. Designer clothing is not, unless you're a fashion model. How am I not being consistent?

If a child was drowning in a pool filled with dirty water, would you ruin an expensive suit that you bought to jump in and save the child?
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/28/2010 12:24:47 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:22:06 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:16:21 AM, belle wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.

sooo people should give up the things you don't approve of but the things you do approve of are exempt? sounds consistent!

Well, a computer is kind of important for all sorts of reasons. Designer clothing is not, unless you're a fashion model. How am I not being consistent?

If a child was drowning in a pool filled with dirty water, would you ruin an expensive suit that you bought to jump in and save the child?

No. I wouldn't buy an expensive suit unless an employer required it, but either way, no. At least, not for a randomly selected child.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/28/2010 12:26:18 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:03:35 AM, belle wrote:
awwww ragnar is lonely :(

I just realized the irony that this came before the real "lonely" content. Lol.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
belle
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5/28/2010 12:26:37 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:22:06 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:16:21 AM, belle wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.

sooo people should give up the things you don't approve of but the things you do approve of are exempt? sounds consistent!

Well, a computer is kind of important for all sorts of reasons. Designer clothing is not, unless you're a fashion model. How am I not being consistent?

If a child was drowning in a pool filled with dirty water, would you ruin an expensive suit that you bought to jump in and save the child?

what sorts of reasons? my guess is that they all boil down to your personal happiness... designer clothing makes some people happy. and you declare it is wrong to prefer designer clothing to starving children but not computers to starving children. so in other words... your personal preferences are fine, but the preferences of those who differ are immoral. sounds... well actually it sounds like most moral arguments in the end. but my point was that it sounds arbitrary.

why is your personal computer more valuable to "the greater good" than a designer suit?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Freeman
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5/28/2010 12:28:26 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:24:47 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:22:06 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:16:21 AM, belle wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.

sooo people should give up the things you don't approve of but the things you do approve of are exempt? sounds consistent!

Well, a computer is kind of important for all sorts of reasons. Designer clothing is not, unless you're a fashion model. How am I not being consistent?

If a child was drowning in a pool filled with dirty water, would you ruin an expensive suit that you bought to jump in and save the child?

No. I wouldn't buy an expensive suit unless an employer required it, but either way, no. At least, not for a randomly selected child.

Hmm.... Your worldview must place a heavy emphasis on compassion.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/28/2010 12:29:30 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:28:26 AM, Freeman wrote:
Your worldview must place a heavy emphasis on compassion.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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5/28/2010 12:30:06 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
gah, forgot not to post that. Oh well, tis sigged.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Freeman
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5/28/2010 12:40:49 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 12:26:37 AM, belle wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:22:06 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:16:21 AM, belle wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:13:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 12:03:17 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Also, the fellows who sell off your computer and give the money to the poor in Bangladesh will be arriving in 4-6 weeks.

You don't need to sell your computer. A person can give up buying designer clothing and save dozens of lives with the money they would have spent.

sooo people should give up the things you don't approve of but the things you do approve of are exempt? sounds consistent!

Well, a computer is kind of important for all sorts of reasons. Designer clothing is not, unless you're a fashion model. How am I not being consistent?

If a child was drowning in a pool filled with dirty water, would you ruin an expensive suit that you bought to jump in and save the child?

what sorts of reasons? my guess is that they all boil down to your personal happiness... designer clothing makes some people happy. and you declare it is wrong to prefer designer clothing to starving children but not computers to starving children. so in other words... your personal preferences are fine, but the preferences of those who differ are immoral. sounds... well actually it sounds like most moral arguments in the end. but my point was that it sounds arbitrary.

why is your personal computer more valuable to "the greater good" than a designer suit?

Among other things, my computer is the medium through which I can rapidly learn about starving children around the world in the first place. If it were not for technology, most people wouldn't know as much about Darfur, world poverty rates, ethical reasoning etc. A computer is an essential thing to have in the 21st century for business, school, and numerous other things. The world is only better insofar as I and other people are well informed. The computer, with the aid of the internet, has one of humanity's richest bastions of knowledge ever. Ergo, a computer is indispensable.

Designer clothing and Starbucks may give people enjoyment, but should that very marginal enjoyment be valued higher than the lives of starving children?
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
belle
Posts: 4,113
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5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Freeman
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5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

For example, if Bill Gates had given away most of his money to the poor when he was younger, he would not be able to give away the tens of millions of dollars he now gives away to the third world. By hoarding his money back then, he is now in an extremely good position to help starving children.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Cody_Franklin
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5/28/2010 10:56:40 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

Neither. Either option just assumes that your greatest moral imperative is providing for the welfare of others. That's just a question of "give my stuff away now, or give more of my stuff away later?"

For example, if Bill Gates had given away most of his money to the poor when he was younger, he would not be able to give away the tens of millions of dollars he now gives away to the third world. By hoarding his money back then, he is now in an extremely good position to help starving children.
Freeman
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5/28/2010 11:03:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 10:56:40 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

Neither. Either option just assumes that your greatest moral imperative is providing for the welfare of others.

Do you disagree?
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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5/28/2010 11:06:52 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 11:03:07 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:56:40 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

Neither. Either option just assumes that your greatest moral imperative is providing for the welfare of others.

Do you disagree?

Yes.
Reasoning
Posts: 4,456
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5/28/2010 11:08:14 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
To day that man ought not be bad is one thing. To say that he has the obligation to be good is a different thing entirely.
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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5/28/2010 11:11:33 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 11:06:52 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:03:07 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:56:40 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

Neither. Either option just assumes that your greatest moral imperative is providing for the welfare of others.

Do you disagree?

Yes.

If everyone in Europe was going to die tomorrow unless you released a vaccine that you invented, would it be ethical for you to not release the vaccine.

Let us presume you have no family, friends etc. that live in Europe.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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5/28/2010 11:17:38 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 11:11:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:06:52 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:03:07 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:56:40 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

Neither. Either option just assumes that your greatest moral imperative is providing for the welfare of others.

Do you disagree?

Yes.

If everyone in Europe was going to die tomorrow unless you released a vaccine that you invented, would it be ethical for you to not release the vaccine.

Let us presume you have no family, friends etc. that live in Europe.

I love how every ethical question necessarily comes down to some kind of unrealistic emergency situation, with no regard to everyday life (where an ethical code actually applies).

To answer your question, though: I'm not under any kind of ethical obligation to release the vaccine. It's commendable to say "I released a vaccine that saved hundreds of millions of lives", but it's not a moral obligation.

Plus, you have to establish a coherent standard of ethics before you can weigh a particular course of action.
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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5/28/2010 11:25:50 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 11:17:38 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:11:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:06:52 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:03:07 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:56:40 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

Neither. Either option just assumes that your greatest moral imperative is providing for the welfare of others.

Do you disagree?

Yes.

If everyone in Europe was going to die tomorrow unless you released a vaccine that you invented, would it be ethical for you to not release the vaccine.

Let us presume you have no family, friends etc. that live in Europe.

I love how every ethical question necessarily comes down to some kind of unrealistic emergency situation, with no regard to everyday life (where an ethical code actually applies).

To answer your question, though: I'm not under any kind of ethical obligation to release the vaccine. It's commendable to say "I released a vaccine that saved hundreds of millions of lives", but it's not a moral obligation.

Good... that's all I wanted you to say. At least you're consistent.

Plus, you have to establish a coherent standard of ethics before you can weigh a particular course of action.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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5/28/2010 11:43:25 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/28/2010 11:25:50 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:17:38 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:11:33 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:06:52 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 11:03:07 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:56:40 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 5/28/2010 10:46:56 AM, Freeman wrote:
At 5/28/2010 8:29:07 AM, belle wrote:
i thought you would say something like that. but i mean your computer specifically. right now. you already know about starving children all over the world. the fact that you're still using it now when the value (about the same a designer suit when you get down to it) could be redirected to helping starving children now is based on the fact that using it makes you happy, and you value your happiness more than the lives of starving children...

I own other things that are less important to my wellbeing and more valuable than my computer. If I were to sell anything, they would go first.

This topic begins to broach some rather difficult philosophical questions. For instance, if I'm a successful businessman, should I give away much of my disposable income to the poor or should I hoard it so that one day I will be in a better position to help others?

Neither. Either option just assumes that your greatest moral imperative is providing for the welfare of others.

Do you disagree?

Yes.

If everyone in Europe was going to die tomorrow unless you released a vaccine that you invented, would it be ethical for you to not release the vaccine.

Let us presume you have no family, friends etc. that live in Europe.

I love how every ethical question necessarily comes down to some kind of unrealistic emergency situation, with no regard to everyday life (where an ethical code actually applies).

To answer your question, though: I'm not under any kind of ethical obligation to release the vaccine. It's commendable to say "I released a vaccine that saved hundreds of millions of lives", but it's not a moral obligation.

Good... that's all I wanted you to say. At least you're consistent.

Yeah. I hate those people who are individualists until you ask a question like that, then adopt that whole "Oh, of COURSE it's wrong not to release the vaccine!"

Plus, you have to establish a coherent standard of ethics before you can weigh a particular course of action.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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5/28/2010 12:11:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
If everyone in Europe was going to die tomorrow unless you released a vaccine that you invented, would it be ethical for you to not release the vaccine.
Wouldn't I make a great deal of money from releasing the vaccine? I'm assuming they're willing to pay a pretty penny for not dying tomorrow. Surely then, whatever my goal, it's in my best interest to release the vaccine once a bargain is hammered out. Indeed, my goal obliges me to do it :).

Now if you mean release it for free, that's a whole different question.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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5/28/2010 12:11:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Or almost whatever my goal. Most goals have a great deal of use for a great deal of money.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.