In “The Singer Solution To World Poverty”, Peter Singer (1999) explores moral differences between people who donate and who choose not to, and proposes numerous remedies to curb the ever-growing problem of poverty. He is an Australian moral philosopher, professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. Poverty is a major concern in today’s world and Singer believes that each one of us has a role to play in tackling this social issue. The writer initially makes use of effective argument and provides ample evidence to support his claim but later overwhelms the reader by demanding more than what anyone would be willing to part with.
Singer cites numerous examples in real-world context and makes the reader aware of their responsibility in this moral issue. He argues that giving charity should be no different than indulging in unnecessary luxuries and gives reasons why people should spend a significant amount of their income towards this humane cause. Along with the positives of charity, Singer also presents the opposing viewpoints leaving no doubts in the minds of the reader. He is adamant in his stance and puts forwards a universal solution for all people regardless of their financial condition. He believes one should first begin by donating 200 $ to any one of the charitable organizations and should be willing to donate anything that would instead be spent on “luxuries”.
Singer begins by relating an anecdote on Dora and is successful in grasping the reader’s attention. He uses a persuasive tone throughout the article that is not too overwhelming and backed up with sufficient evidence at regular intervals to keep the reader in phase. His coherent arguments cover all viewpoints on a given topic and make the reviewer conscious of their responsibility. The tone he uses in the article induces a feeling of guilt in the hearts of the reader and is positively manipulative. While relating the plight of Bob, he makes us picture ourselves in a similar position and convinces us why our situation is no different than that of Bob’s.
The article maintains its consistency and positivity throughout but where it seemingly fails is in its conclusion. Agreed that each one of us has a responsibility and that most of us fail to donate towards charity but asking the reader to make up for the other person’s lack of humanity is quite overwhelming, to say the least. At most, the general public can be probably convinced up to the point of donating 200 $, for which, Singer presents information on how this amount could technically save a child’s life but then asking your readers to donate whatever he/she would spend on so-called-luxuries is disconcerting. Giving reasons to why someone would be unwilling to donate, Singer poses a totally vague and irrelevant argument, “Is it the practical uncertainties about whether aid will really reach the people who need it?” (p. 14). Not only is this the last thought on anyone’s mind before donating but it also displays Singer’s lack of evidence in convincing the audience to finally take action.
Overall, the article will manage to convince some of its readers to take a step forward towards eliminating world poverty but adding more relevant justification in the conclusion would definitely boost its effectiveness. Still, Singer did a remarkable job in presenting facts and opposing viewpoints in nearly all topics concerning world poverty and used satisfactory arguments and illustrations throughout. The only room for improvement, as mentioned before, would be in devising the final solution. Instead of telling people to donate and sacrifice to make up for those who are less willing in extending their generosity, Singer should try to convince the entire audience to begin by giving away a small amount. By targeting a larger public, the strain on a single person can be significantly overcome and this can be the first step in eradicating poverty slowly but steadily. This will also ensure consistency in working towards the end goal in contrast to Singer’s apparently over-burdening solution.
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