The Life You Can Save Free Essay

Counterarguments in the Response to the Book “The Life You Can Save” by Peter Singer

 

Introduction

Peter Singer challenges everyone in his hard-to-bear book The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. The author talks about the most vulnerable and controversial thing that hurts the most: the pocket.  Singer acknowledges a series of arguments, aiming at detecting how ‘bad’ or ‘good’ people can be when it comes to poverty. The moral philosopher is not flabbergasted with governmental policies or worldwide aid to dying people or individuals from low-income families in developing countries, but charity organizations and personal assistance. Indeed, poverty is vigorously heading forward in the state-of-the-art world, and it is nothing but upsetting. However, I find Singer’s argument “by donating to aid agencies, you can fight the global poverty” is incorrect, because personal charity cannot save something worldwide and own money is uncomfortable topic to even think about. The book makes everybody feels uneasy and guilty for not giving money to poor people, but the question is whether we should feel this way? Therefore, this discussion sheds light on why donation should not make us feel uncomfortable and culpable, the destiny from the religious point of view, and what actually should be done to prevent global poverty.

The Religious Point of View

We all believe in good and bad, kindness and evil, love and hate, etc. So, why not believing in wealth and poverty? Admittedly, people are either religious or not, but the point is that God creates what/whom He wishes, whether we like it or not. Again, I reckon my argument can be a bit staggering for some individuals, but this is my worldview. According to Christianity and Islam, God makes some people incredibly rich, and others – sadly poor, but it does not define that the Lord loves one group of people and loathes another one. Some are so rich that they have everything they want at their disposal and spend as much as they wish; others have to work all their lives for a small fee and constantly depend on those who pay them (Cohen et al. 76). There are also people of moderate means. They have some property and a decent salary, but they cannot afford everything that they would like to have at home. Everyone probably understands that a millionaire will never agree to distribute the wealth to own slaves and servants so that they will be equal in the living standards. The Qur’an contains prescriptions that prevent wealth from being concentrated in the hands of individuals and preserving a certain balance in society so that a single social group or several people cannot concentrate in their hands all the economic levers that influence society (Poonawala 272).

Even though God creates people differently, it does not imply that wealthy individuals should not help the needy ones. The thing is that Peter Singer sort of accuses us of not giving to those who are in need. He argues that we are ‘bad’ if we do not give the share of our money to others. But he is so wrong because we help as we can. Indeed, rich people should not cross the line and forget about their brothers and sisters, but it also does not mean they should feel guilty for not giving the half of their fortune to poor human beings. In fact, wealth and poverty are great tests from the Almighty. It implies that a rich one can turn into the poorest and the poor one can become the richest. The only essential point is how we deal with these tests and how we behave toward one another. Accordingly, everybody has own destiny, even if it means some are wealthy and some are poor, but it should not make us guilty, mainly if rich people help poor ones by means they can, not because they should be forced to, as in the Singer’s argument.

Why Donation Should Not Make Us Guilty?

Charity is always an excellent idea, but it is not obligatory. The problem lies in Singer’s ‘convincing’ words how eager we should be to spend money on charity, and if we do not, such feeling like God will punish us. I do not support his argument, because it is far from being logical. Indeed, giving the part of your soul, mind, and finances is beyond perfection, but “nobody should push on us in such matter” (Soskis 30).  Although I am always for kindness and encourage myself and beloved ones to be the part of donations, I am sure that no single person will make me do it amid my intention, desire, and ability. After reading The Life You Can Save, one can somehow feel uncomfortable with Singer’s statements, and it is understandable. Charity is more than giving money you do not need; charity is the purity, innocence, and kindness. Moreover, I do believe that even the all wealth gathered across the globe cannot stop global poverty if governments do not take this matter on the serious level. Sometimes we transfer money and even do not know whether they will reach the destination or vanish in the net – nor do we know how taxation works while we give donations. The article “The philosophical assault on philanthropy is really about extending government control” by Piereson and Riley ideally explains my point of view, because “the majority of donations are controlled by governments,” so it is an ambiguous situation (27). Hence, charity should not make us feel like prisoners or offenders when we pay a dollar or do not regularly pay; on the contrary; it should make us feel powerful, kind, and pleased with helping by accounts we are able to provide.

What Measures Should Be Done?

Do not get me wrong: I am the kindness advocate. I believe in goodwill, golden hearts, and pure intentions. However, I disagree with such strict and bit irrational arguments that Peter Singer reveals in the challenging book. His work consists of heroes and villains, and it feels like he is the one who can determine whether you are a hero or a villain. Even though a million of people around the world transfer money to charity organizations, save money for a trip to Africa, and give clothes to numerous refugees, it cannot solve the global problem of poverty. Notably, we all fight with local misery as much as we can, but we are not saint people to save every single individual from dying, even if we wish so. Nelken et al. (2017) corroborate that fighting global poverty is not an easy task, and hence, nobody and nothing should put pressure on a person, who wants but cannot help or who helps, by all means, he/she is able.

So, what are the measures? First of all, the alterations should start with governments on the international arena. They should reevaluate all factors and make more comfortable access to people in need so that we all help without hazards from the countries. Second, helping is the primary duty, which should bring us closer, not cause the feeling of uneasiness and guilt. It implies we all need to give the part of us in an amount we can, even if people like Singer calls us ‘bad.’ Moreover, lastly, big personas should stop caring about their businesses, wars, and power in the Universe, so developing countries will stop suffering from their indifference, ignorance, and violence in the form of misery.

Conclusion

Peter Singer’s book The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty can be a masterpiece for someone – no doubts, but it consists of numerous challenging and even offensive arguments. Although I always support kindness and generosity as charity, the author’s premises and explanations sound harsh and a bit unethical (however, he is a moral philosopher, which is quite ironic). I believe that we all have a responsibility to help poor people by all accounts and tools we can, but no one can force us or order to give the specific amount of money. Moreover, governments and businesses should stop making themselves authoritative and arrogant in the eyes of low-income countries and should not prevent us from giving donations. Thus, I believe that global poverty will never fade away, but with golden hearts, endeavor, and appropriate policies, we all can achieve its regression, not the gruesome upsurge.

Works Cited

Cohen, Marisa, et al. “Make Charity a Family Affair.” Real Simple, vol. 18, no. 12, Dec. 2017, p. 73. EBSCOhost, libdb.smc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=126224151&site=ehost-live.

Nelken, David, et al. “Fighting Global Poverty.” International Journal of Law in Context, vol. 13, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 512–526. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1017/S1744552317000428.

Piereson, James, and Naomi Schaefer Riley. “The Givers and Their Attackers: The Philosophical Assault on Philanthropy Is Really about Extending Government Control.” Commentary, vol. 146, no. 5, Dec. 2018, p. 27. EBSCOhost, libdb.smc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=133625793&site=ehost-live.

Poonawala, Ismail. “Wealth and Poverty in the Qur’an and Traditions of the Prophet, and How Those Concepts Are Reflected in the Rasa’il Ikhwan Al-Safa’.” Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies, vol. 8, no. 3, Summer 2015, pp. 263–287. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1353/isl.2015.0032.

Singer, Peter. The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty. New York City, NY: Random House, 2010.

Soskis, Benjamin. “Giving Cash to the Needy – a Proven Strategy in Africa – Could Transform U.S. Charity.” Chronicle of Philanthropy, vol. 30, no. 2, Dec. 2017, p. 29. EBSCOhost, libdb.smc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=126904830&site=ehost-live.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

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freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]
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