Global Ethics







Thearticle of famine, affluence, and morality by Peter Singer ideallymajors on the suffering and death of people in Bengal from lack ofbasic needs. According to the article, the deaths can be prevented.This can be easily attainable by addressing the cause of the problem.The main cause for these deaths and suffering is poverty and can beaddressed if the rich nations can offer a helping hand to this state.By dwelling on these issues, this paper presents a summary review ofmorality, affluence, and famine.

Argumentspresented in the article

Thisarticle was written in 1971, a time during that there were manyreported cases of deaths and suffering for people living in EastBengal. The deaths resulted from insufficient food, lack of shelter,and inappropriate medical care (Peter, 1972). This number is largestretching up to nine million people in the world suffering andlosing life because of poverty issues. According to the writer, thedeath and suffering is something that could be easily taken care ofand prevented if the neighboring wealthy states would extend ahelping hand. This encompasses taking care of the root cause thatstems from poverty. Although various countries and states sufferedfrom this similar challenge, the difference in Bengal resulted fromthe extremes of the challenge (Chris, 2010). The article is keen topresent applicable solutions to the prevailing situation in Bengal.Peter argues that numbers and distance should not be a hindrance inundertaking moral actions in the prevention of an evil. The articlegoes further to elaborate on the morals concerns surrounding suchissues through elaboration of charity and duty and their correlation. It is simply argues on the right morals being applied to addresschallenges arising from famine, to have affluence in a moral way,just as the name of the article suggests.

Therelationship between arguments above and ethical perspective inglobal ethics

Globalethics refers to ethical perspectives in that there exist significantethical relations and between states and individuals from differentstates (Jay, 2014). Such ethics stipulates the claims on theexistence of universally defined roles and responsibilities whosescope can be said to be global in nature. The article by Singer onFamine, affluence, and morality presents a case of unapplied ethicalperspectives in global ethics. According to the author, there is achallenge facing the state of the East Bengal. The challenge has beentremendous to the extent of claiming people’s lives because of theliving conditions. In such a case, global ethics would have beenapplied if the neighboring states offered a helping land. From thearticle, it is clear that suffering and death caused by lack ofshelter, food, and health care is something that would have beenmanaged and stopped.

Therelationship between the argument Peter presents and ethicalperspective in global ethics is that global ethics was not applied inthe issue of Bengal. Global ethics calls for good ethical relationsbetween states. Although Bengal is surrounded by powerful and richstates, there was no offer tabled at their disposal to help curb thechallenges it faced. The challenges are drawn from ethical issuesfamine and lack of proper medical care. The rich neighboring stateswould have easily applied global ethics, for instance, offering aidin terms of relief food or funds to help Bengal stop the sufferingand deaths resulting from famine.

Thearticle proposes that any undertaking that is within one’s powerand will help prevent something bad from happening and is within themoral standards should be done. This relates to the ethicalperspectives in global ethics that stipulates that global ethicshelps fulfill the needs of human beings and achievement of securitythrough cooperation (Jeremy, 2015). This is similar to the argumentby Peter that, the situation at Bengal could have been taken care of,if the neighboring states with the power and ability to help hadoffered the aid. The distance from a challenge that can be preventedand the number of individuals undergoing through a challengingsituation should not be a hindrance for us to help out. This isbecause the deed will be of great benefit to a good number of peopleand prevent them from experiencing the evil resulting from thechallenges they are going through. This is relative to the ethicalperspectives of the global ethics that call for pursuance of goalsthat are morally acceptable and important to the receiving party(Vanessa, 2015).

Evaluationof the arguments in famine, affluence, and morality article

Fromthe summary of the arguments in the article by Peter, it is clearthat the strengths by far outweigh the weaknesses. The argumentpresented shows that the author understands the ethical perspectives.The author is sure to go ahead to explain the mode of ensuring thatsuch evils can be prevented if states in power offered to be of help.The author applies ethical perspective by arguing that the stateswith the ability to take care of the situation should by all moralmeans be of help to prevent the evil (Guy Et al, 2015).

Peterargues that distance from an evil that can be prevented and thenumber of with capability to help being more than those subjected toevil should not have influence on our responsibility to help in theprevention of the evil. This can be said to be strength because itpegs its principle on the ethical perspective that as long as anaction is morally right, then we have the obligation to undertake itto prevent evil from happening. This argument helps bring out a cleardifference between charity and duty. A charitable act is done out offree will and ability while a duty is an obligation and should not beskipped under whichever conditions. The author is very clear topresent the difference that helps in understanding the best way to beof help in addressing an evil. It brings out our moral objective thathelps us make a moral judgment when making a decision on how to helpin the prevention of an evil (Chris, 2010).


Theauthor argues that numbers should not be a factor to consider as longas one is willing to be of help to prevent an occurrence of an evil.He proposes that it should not matter if millions of people can helpor if only one person has the capability to help prevent an evil.Although this makes no difference to the moral obligations bestowedto us, to some extent it does not support global ethics. Thisargument rather than encouraging people from raising up to be of helpin preventing evil may make them develop a bad attitude inundertaking their moral obligation by thinking that even if they donot stand in the gap, somebody else will. A reinforcement that peopleought to undertake moral obligations united that have been disputedby this article would have been of great importance in the preventionof evil.


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Guy,K. Et al., 2015, Utilitarian judgment in sacrificial moral dilemmasdoes not reflect impartial concern for the greater good, Cognition.134,193-209.

Jay,D, 2014, Foundational issues: How must global ethics be global?Journalof global ethics. 10,1, 16-25.

Jeremy,R, 2015, Collectivizing Rescue obligations in Bioethics, Americanjournal of bioethics. 15,2, 3-11.

Peter,S, 1972, Famine, Affluence, and Morality. Journalof philosophy and public affairs. 1,3, 229-243.

Vanessa,C, 2015, Sacrifices of self, Journalof ethics. 19,1, 53-72