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lifeboat ethics

No one can deny that both rich and poor countries exist today. There has been much debate as to whether or not wealthy nations are required to help poor nations. Absolute poverty and absolute affluence are two terms that are critical in defining whether a nation is poor or wealthy. Absolute poverty is when one does not have the resources to fulfill basic biological needs, such as a proper diet, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Absolute affluence is when all of these things can be obtained without any problem. There are nations such as our own where absolute affluence is common and absolute poverty is a rarity, and there are many nations in which absolute poverty affects millions.
Peter Singer argues the following:
1. If we can prevent something bad from happening without sacrificing anything of comparable moral value, we ought to do it.
2. Absolute poverty is bad.
3. There is some absolute poverty we can prevent without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance.
4. We ought to prevent some absolute poverty.
Supporting this argument is the fact that the UN has set forth for affluent nations a target percentage of their respective Gross National Product to help poorer nations. The amount suggested is seven-tenths of a percent, with only a few of the qualifying nations meeting this goal. It should also be noted that the United States only contributes 0.0015 percent.
Many people feel that the poverty situation in the US should be taken care of before we begin to solve the problems of other nations. Singer feels that the idea of "taking care of our own" is just as illogical as those of European descent helping only other European descendants rather than helping those of African descent. The distance between the affluent and the poor shouldn't make any difference. In addition, the "poor" in our nation may be very well off compared to those in absolute poverty in another nation.
There are those who argue that by gi...

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