Failing To Live A Morally Decent Life

            In a 1999 New York Times article, it was revealed that philosopher, Peter Singer, donates one-fifth of his income to famine-relief agencies. He describes several scenarios to instill guilt among the masses and to encourage them to give to charities. .

             Singer refers to the Brazilian movie, "Central Station," about Dora who earns money by writing letters for the illiterate, when one day she is offered $1,000 to take a boy to a certain address, being told that he will be adopted. She takes the money and buys a new television. However, she later finds out that the boy will be killed and his organs sold for transplantation, and so she sets out to find him. Singer points out that the average family in the United States spends approximately one-third of its income on things that are as unnecessary as Dora's new television. Singer asks what the ethical distinction is between Dora who sells a homeless child to organ peddlers and an .

             "American who already has a TV and upgrades to a better one, knowing that the money could be donated to an organization that would use it to save the lives of kids in need" (Singer). .

             By Peter Unger's calculation, $200 in donations would help a sickly two-year-old transform into a healthy six-year-old, thus ensuring passage through childhood's most dangerous years. Singer compares this type of ethics question to the same kind of ethics that led many Germans to turn a blind eye when the Nazi atrocities were being committed. According to Singer, if society does not commit to contributing to the welfare of the poor, then they are "failing to live a morally decent life" (Singer).

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