Similarly, his argument that severely disabled infants should, in some cases, receive euthanasia has been praised as courageous by some -- and denounced by others, including anti-abortion activists, who have protested Singer's Princeton appointment.Singer's penchant for provocation extends to more mundane matters, like everyday charity.Her neighbor spoils the fun, however, by telling her that the boy was too old to be adopted -- he will be killed and his organs sold for transplantation.
Most affluent people are at least partially aware of the great magnitude of world poverty.
A great many of the affluent believe that the lives of all people everywhere are of equal fundamental worth when viewed impartially.
Going out to nice restaurants, buying new clothes because the old ones are no longer stylish, vacationing at beach resorts -- so much of our income is spent on things not essential to the preservation of our lives and health.
Donated to one of a number of charitable agencies, that money could mean the difference between life and death for children in need.
She would then have become, in the eyes of the audience, a monster.
She redeems herself only by being prepared to bear considerable risks to save the boy.For one thing, to be able to consign a child to death when he is standing right in front of you takes a chilling kind of heartlessness; it is much easier to ignore an appeal for money to help children you will never meet.Yet for a utilitarian philosopher like myself -- that is, one who judges whether acts are right or wrong by their consequences -- if the upshot of the American's failure to donate the money is that one more kid dies on the streets of a Brazilian city, then it is, in some sense, just as bad as selling the kid to the organ peddlers.Then nobody will be killed -- but the train will destroy his Bugatti.Thinking of his joy in owning the car and the financial security it represents, Bob decides not to throw the switch. For many years to come, Bob enjoys owning his Bugatti and the financial security it represents.How much would we have to give one of these organizations to have a high probability of saving the life of a child threatened by easily preventable diseases?(I do not believe that children are more worth saving than adults, but since no one can argue that children have brought their poverty on themselves, focusing on them simplifies the issues.) Unger called up some experts and used the information they provided to offer some plausible estimates that include the cost of raising money, administrative expenses and the cost of delivering aid where it is most needed.In the Brazilian film '' Central Station,'' Dora is a retired schoolteacher who makes ends meet by sitting at the station writing letters for illiterate people. All she has to do is persuade a homeless 9-year-old boy to follow her to an address she has been given.(She is told he will be adopted by wealthy foreigners.) She delivers the boy, gets the money, spends some of it on a television set and settles down to enjoy her new acquisition.Bob's conduct, most of us will immediately respond, was gravely wrong. But then he reminds us that we, too, have opportunities to save the lives of children.We can give to organizations like Unicef or Oxfam America.