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Rich and Poor: the Moral Dilemma by Singer

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Singer’s article starts off with the question of whether or not a person feels obligated to save a child who they see drowning considering what they might be losing if they help. Different circumstances proved to be what made the outcome of their choices to help others in need different. This leads to the introduction of a moral circle. The moral circle is put together by personal morality. This circle is layered in different categories, in the center is one’s self, the next layer is the people closest to them, then their community, their country, and finally the world. Singer gives a few examples to explain morality at a different perspective. For instance, he started with a person’s individual choice on whether or not they could miss class in order to save a drowning child. In the next example, the individual has the chance to give a donation to help someone else in another country. Unfortunately this question creates conflict because they are unsure if their donation will reach the destination it needs to go to. 

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Singer then said that even the smallest amount can make a huge difference. He starts the next part of the article on global responsibility in the era we are in. This topic led to his next example of global issues where our use of chlorofluorocarbons and emission of carbon dioxide has affected individuals and the environmental changes that now occur. People’s jobs would also be affected “Thai villagers who could once earn a living by fishing to work in the factories of Bangkok”. The article, Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development has six stages of moral development which is where people follow values including dignity, respect and justice. This sixth stage also supports Singer’s side on expanding the moral circle to help people in need. Another topic Singer discusses is that success should not drive people to believe that the wealthier they are the happier they are, if this were the way the world thought the Singer believed that it set a social standard which to him was a recipe for global injustice and environmental disaster. Singer uses a multimillionaire Wall Street dealer named Boesky as an example to show that Boesky got upset over being called the wealthiest man. Singer emphasizes the need for our lives to shift. If people live with a moral circle and Singers lead on living an ethical life then that will put more meaning behind people’s purpose. 

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