Comparison of the Views on Global Poverty Issue in the Most Good You Can Do and What Am I Wearing

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This paper is about how Peter Singer and Kelsey Timmerman view the problem of global poverty and labor in poor countries. Both authors are utilitarian’s but have a very different outlook on the problem that is occurring. “Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism. What the consequentialist takes into account when working out whether an action or practice is morally right or wrong in the consequences” (Widdows, 44).

Peter Singer who wrote The Most Good You Can Do, talks about a colleague and how he is an effective altruist. “Altruism is contrasted with egoism, which is concern only for oneself, but we should not think of effective altruism requiring self-sacrifice, in the sense of something necessarily contrary to one’s own interests (Singer, 5). There have been studies that show people who give money to charities feel good, regardless of how little money they donate. These people are known as warm glow givers. Many people donate money to the Make a Wish foundation but do not realize that an average wish costs about $7,500. “Effective altruists would, like anyone else, feel emotionally drawn toward making the wishes of sick children come true, but they would also know that $7,500 could, by protecting families from malaria, save the lives of at least children and maybe many more (Singer, 6). They know that saving a life is going to be better than making a child’s wish come true and that saving three lives is better than saving one. Singer and his wife are giving away about one-third of what they earn to a charitable organization. “Utilitarianism asserts that the correct social and moral goal is to make as many people as possible as happy as possible. At its simplest, utilitarianism is the moral theory that promotes the “greatest good of the greatest number” (Widdows, 44).

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Kelsey Timmerman who is the author of What Am I Wearing?talks about how he was unaware that globalization was such a foreign problem and how against it he is. Once he began college, he finally learned and understood the many aspects that go behind globalization. While many of his friends were buying houses, working normal jobs, and living normal lives, Kelsey was traveling to the countries where his clothes were made. “I understood that the people who made my clothes were probably not living a life of luxury, but I didn’t automatically assume they worked in a sweatshop. I found this connection rather disturbing” (Timmerman, 6). Timmerman traveled to the numerous countries where his clothing was made. It became obvious how poorly these people were being treated with the long work hours and the small amount of money they are making. “What are we to do as consumers? If we buy garments made in some developing country, we are contributing to an industry built on laborers whose wages and quality of life would be unacceptable to us. But if we don’t, the laborers might lose their job” (Timmerman, 10).

Within the Public Health field, many people haveto have the utilitarian standpoint. Their main focus in life is to be better the people and to bring them happiness. When working in the industry, an individual / provider must think what is best for the group that is being focused on. There are many things that can go the right way, but there are so many things that could go wrong. The Public Health Industry does not get enough finical support for non-profit organizations, so it is extremely difficult to be able to help out certain individuals / groups.

What has been proven in this essay is that both Singer and Timmerman are Utilitarian’s, but they both seem to have similar views on the problem of global poverty and labor in the poorer countries. Singer talks about how money goes to these big name organizations like Make a Wish because it is so widely broadcasted and we are able to see the child get their wish and that the money was put towards it. People don’t donate enough money to the not so known organizations because we as donators don’t know if they money is actually going to that specific organization. Timmerman visits the countries where his clothing is made to see how much of an issue it is with the people being treated poorly and that steps need to be taken in order to change this.

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