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The Ethics of GivingPhilosophers' Perspectives on Philanthropy$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190648879

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190648879.001.0001

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Severe Poverty as an Unjust Emergency

Severe Poverty as an Unjust Emergency

Chapter:
(p.103) Chapter 4 Severe Poverty as an Unjust Emergency
Source:
The Ethics of Giving
Author(s):

Elizabeth Ashford

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190648879.003.0005

On the one hand, recent literature on global justice urges us to correct features of global structures that contribute to the persistence of severe poverty. On the other, Peter Singer has argued that our obligations to donate to agencies such as Oxfam are at least as stringent as the obligation to rescue a child we happened to pass who is drowning in a pond. His argument has triggered a movement, known as “effective altruism,” which encourages people to donate a substantial proportion of their income to the most effective NGOs and advises them on how they can do the most good with their money. This paper examines the debate between these two positions and argues for a pluralist view, according to which duties to correct global injustice should be seen as back-up duties to those duties of aid which (as Singer rightly argues) are of the utmost moral urgency.

Keywords:   global justice, structural injustice, effective altruism, Peter Singer, the human right to subsistence

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