Singer 2006 essay nyt

I n this light our obligation to the poor is not just

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Unformatted text preview: t is a disaster for resource- rich dev eloping countries, turning the wealth that should benefit them into a curse that leads to a cy cle of coups, civ il wars and corruption and is of little benefit to the people as a whole. I n this light, our obligation to the poor is not just one of prov iding assistance to strangers but one of compensation for harms that we hav e caused and are still causing them. I t might be argued that we do not w w w .ny times .c om/2006/12/17/magaz ine/17c har ity .t.html?_r =0&pagew anted=pr int Sho1/l14a1Billionair e Giv e – and What Should You? - New Yor k Times ud / 3 owe the poor compensation, because our affluence actually benefits them. Liv ing lux uriously , it is said, prov ides employ ment, and so wealth trickles down, helping the poor more effectiv ely than aid does. But the rich in industrialized nations buy v irtually nothing that is made by the v ery poor. During the past 20 y ears of economic globalization, although ex panding trade has helped lift many of the world’s poor out of pov erty , it has failed to benefit the poorest 1 0 percent of the world’s population. Some of the ex tremely poor, most of whom liv e in sub- Saharan Africa, hav e nothing to sell that rich people want, while others lack the infrastructure to get their goods to market. I f they can get their crops to a port, European and U.S. subsidies often mean that they cannot sell them, despite — as for ex ample in the case of West African cotton growers who compete with v astly larger and richer U.S. cotton producers — hav ing a lower production cost than the subsidized producers in the rich nations. T he remedy to these problems, it might reasonably be suggested, should come from the state, not from priv ate philanthropy . When aid comes through the gov ernment, ev ery one who earns abov e the tax - free threshold contributes something, with more collected from those with greater ability to pay . Much as we may applaud what Gates and Buffett are doing, we can also be troubled by a sy stem that leav es the fate of hundreds of millions of people hanging on the decisions of two or three priv ate citizens. But the amount of foreign dev elopment aid giv en by the U.S. gov ernment is, at 22 cents for ev ery $1 00 the nation earns, about the same, as a percentage of gross national income, as Portugal giv es and about half that of the U.K. Worse still, much of it is directed where it best suits U.S. strategic interests — I raq is now by far the largest recipient of U.S. dev elopment aid, and Egy pt, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan all rank in the T op 1 0. Less than a quarter of official U.S. dev elopment aid — barely a nickel in ev ery $1 00 of our G.N.I . — goes to the world’s poorest nations. Adding priv ate philanthropy to U.S. gov ernment aid improv es this picture, because Americans priv ately giv e more per capita to international philanthropic causes than the citizens of almost any other nation. Ev en when priv ate donations ar...
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This homework help was uploaded on 03/04/2014 for the course PPOL 4770 taught by Professor Martin during the Spring '11 term at UVA.

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