Rich and Poor
"None are so poor that they have nothing to give.....and none are so rich that they have nothing to receive."-Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II states that even the poorest human beings have something to give, whether it be hope, or amazement, or pleasure in little things, just something that they can be pass on to others. He also states that even the richest human beings have something they can receive, whether it be love, or truth, or even hope, just something that they can bring into their lives. What is money? Dictionary.com defines money as "a medium that can be exchanged for goods and services and is used as a measure of their values on the market..." So, money and the value of money is relative. Where exactly is the line that defines "rich" and "poor?" There is no line. Peter Singer, author of Rich and Poor, is a utilitarian and outlines many terms on how to look at richness and poorness, and at what level should help be given to those who are in "absolute poverty." A person practicing utilitarianism will decide if an action is morally right only if it generates at least as much good for all people affected by the action than any other action could have created at the time the action is carried out. Rich and Poor discusses poverty, wealth, murder, obligations to assist, and four potential objections to the argument Singer puts forth. Singer believes that if we can prevent something bad from happening without compromising anything of an equal moral significance, we ought to prevent it. (Singer 2001) Singer presents objections to his argument, well thought out objections, however, I disagree with him on the topic of property rights.
Singer lays down some basic facts about poverty and wealth at the beginning of the article. According to Singer (2002), ˜absolute poverty' is "the lack of sufficient income in cash or kind to meet the most basic biological needs for food, clothing, and shelter (pg.