Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Is a Singer Solution Possible?

Many people have proposed solutions to poverty in both national and global contexts and Peter Singer in his article "The Singer Solution to World Poverty" offers an interesting perspective on the problem. He speaks directly to citizens of the wealthy U.S. and tells them that they are not doing enough. The facts are behind him as well, since people could feasibly donate their excess income while continuing to live at a high standard. I think it is impossible at this time for his solution to be implemented, however, as the culture in the U.S. is too focused on the status that material wealth brings. The latest technology or the highest fashion seems to outrank anything else in our consciousness.

This idea is not a new one and appears even in Shakespeare's King Lear.  In Act III Scene iv, Lear also thinks about poverty:
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp.
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.
In a moment of clarity, he suggests that the wealthy do have a responsibility to the poor. He also states that empathy is the only way for people to realize that this responsibility exists. Perhaps the only way for Singer's solution to be implemented is to increase the empathy of the country.

1 comment:

  1. You make a really good point. Every solution seems so difficult though! How do we increase the empathy of our country? That's something I think a lot of people would say we need to do, but the immense dilemma lies in the how. I, for one, have no idea. It's quite frustrating.