Ethics & International Affairs

Debate: Global Poverty Relief

Poverty, Facts, and Political Philosophies: Response to “More Than Charity”

Peter Singer*

Andrew Kuper begins his critique of my views on poverty by accepting the crux of my moral argument: The interests of all persons ought to count equally, and geographic location and citizenship make no intrinsic difference to the rights and obligations of individuals. Kuper also sets out some key facts about global poverty, for example, that 30,000 children die every day from preventable illness and starvation, while most people in developed nations have plenty of disposable income that they spend on luxuries and items that satisfy mere wants, not basic needs.

Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. His books include Animal Liberation (1975); Practical Ethics (1979); How Are We to Live? (1993); and Writings on an Ethical Life (2000).His most recent work, One World: Ethics and Globalization, will be published by Yale University Press in the fall of 2002.


* I am grateful to Paula Casal for helpful comments on a draft of this response.