Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
59Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
THE LIFE YOU CAN SAVE by Peter Singer (Excerpt)

THE LIFE YOU CAN SAVE by Peter Singer (Excerpt)

Ratings:

4.36

(104)
|Views: 9,847 |Likes:
If we could easily save the life of a child, we would. For example, if we saw a child in danger of drowning in a shallow pond, and all we had to do to save the child was wade into the pond, and pull him out, we would do so. The fact that we would get wet, or ruin a good pair of shoes, doesn’t really count when it comes to saving a child’s life.

Approximately 27,000 children die every day from preventable, poverty-related causes. Yet at the same time almost a billion people live very comfortable lives, with money to spare for many things that are not at all necessary.

In The Life You Can Save, Peter Singer argues that if everyone who can afford to contribute to reducing extreme poverty were to give a modest proportion of their income to effective organizations fighting extreme poverty, the problem could be solved. It wouldn’t take a huge sacrifice.

The Life You can Save is available in stores now. Enjoy this excerpt and visit www.TheLifeYouCanSave.com to learn more.
If we could easily save the life of a child, we would. For example, if we saw a child in danger of drowning in a shallow pond, and all we had to do to save the child was wade into the pond, and pull him out, we would do so. The fact that we would get wet, or ruin a good pair of shoes, doesn’t really count when it comes to saving a child’s life.

Approximately 27,000 children die every day from preventable, poverty-related causes. Yet at the same time almost a billion people live very comfortable lives, with money to spare for many things that are not at all necessary.

In The Life You Can Save, Peter Singer argues that if everyone who can afford to contribute to reducing extreme poverty were to give a modest proportion of their income to effective organizations fighting extreme poverty, the problem could be solved. It wouldn’t take a huge sacrifice.

The Life You can Save is available in stores now. Enjoy this excerpt and visit www.TheLifeYouCanSave.com to learn more.

More info:

Publish date: Sep 14, 2010
Added to Scribd: Feb 05, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Buy the full version from:Amazon
download as PDF or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

12/15/2013

pdf

 
THE LIFE YOU CAN SAVE
 Acting Noto End World Poverty 
PETER SINGER
RANDOM HOUSE
 f
NEW YORK 
 
Copyright © 2009 by Peter Singer All rights reserved.Published in the United States by Random House,an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group,a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Random House
and colophon are registered trademarksof Random House, Inc.[Permissions acknowledgments, if any, go here.]Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataSinger, PeterThe life you can save : acting now to end world poverty /Peter Singerp. cm.Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.ISBN 978-1-4000-6710-7 (alk. paper)1. Charity. 2. Humanitarianism. 3. Economic assistance.4. Poverty. I. Title.HV48.S56 2009362.5—dc22 2008036279Printed in the United States of America www.atrandom.com9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1First Edition
Book design by Liz Cosgrove 

Activity (59)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
__lindsey__ reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Nice book. Singer makes an excellent case of why we should give to help the poor. I have to say that I never thought about some of the situations he presented. However, he did not really lay out a clear plan of HOW to do this and what charities are most effective. I believe he points you to his web site to find this information though.
sullywriter_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I read this after I saw the author interviewed on the Stephen Colbert Report. Singer, an ethicist and philosopher offers compelling arguments and humbling challenges for changing our lifestyles in very reasonable ways that could have a tremendous impact upon the poorest of the poor in the world.
hadriantheblind reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A very utilitarian view of charity. If you can do something to help out others and save lives, you must. Those who live in the first world can, efficient charities can do good, therefore one must donate. He even suggests percentile values based on your income. Those with more can afford to give away more.

Some statistical analysis is necessary to make sure that the methods you donate to and the charity itself are worth your money.

Singer may be controversial for other reasons, but this book makes a whole lot of sense. Time to sign up for volunteer work.

deesirings reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I really felt engaged and persuaded by this book until the last bit. That last bit really didn't sit well with me. You see, the book, up until that point, seems aimed at everyone in the first world, regardless of income level, and our obligations as members of these richer countries towards the world's poorest people, whose situation is so dire that every day is a question of life or death. I really did feel quite moved. But, at the very end, the plan that is proposed for giving is largely aimed at the top 10% income earners in the United States. It seemed like an unexpected about face. Up until then, I thought the moral argument had not only been aimed at everyone in the first world, but was also empowering because all of us could save lives. Then, in the end, it honed in on the rich and showed how, if the top 10% earners made significant contributions of their wealth towards world poverty, then the problem of life-threatening poverty could be entirely funded just by these folks. I found this last bit so ineffective that it really watered down the rest of the message which had been so powerful.
snat_3 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I chose to read Singer's book because I've often wanted to do more for the world's poor, but I wanted to do so in an informed way and see to it that my money was going to be used in a meaningful way that did not have politically or religiously motivated strings attached. I've tried to research charities before, but quickly became frustrated with the lack of information out there and the lack of solid evidence as to their efficacy that even the most well-known charities couldn't provide. So I was already sold on the idea of giving to those in Third World countries, but didn't really know how to do so and I hoped Singer's book would offer me some practical advice as to which organizations to give to and some information regarding the difference these organizations are making. The first part of the book is dedicated to making the philosophical case for our responsibility as a wealthy, industrialized nation to give to help end worldwide poverty. This part of the book I would give more of a 3 star rating, namely because this was a part of the book that I didn't really need. I was already convinced; I just wanted to know how. However, there are some interesting tidbits that explain our psychological and social aversion to giving which do help explain why so many of us can turn a blind eye to the world's poor. For example, if we're on our way to work and a small child is drowning in a nearby lake, almost all of us would rush out to save the child. We wouldn't worry about being late to work or about risking our own life; we would simply act because we know a child's life is in danger. And yet 1 in 5 children living in Third World countries die before the age of 5. We know that, but statistics don't move us to act in the same way witnessing one particular child whose face we can see and whose voice we can hear can. An argument that I found compelling in this part of the book is his case against the "give close to home" idea. While Singer is not advocating do nothing for those in your community (indeed, he does argue that we need to be more involved in our communities and give more of our time and resources to volunteering), he does argue that there is a difference between what poor in America looks like and what poor in Ethiopia, Nepal, or the Congo looks like. Whereas 1 in 5 children die before the age of 5 in impoverished countries, 1 in 100 of children die of poverty in the U.S. (and, yes, that is definitely too much, but it does show where our money can do the most good). The American poor still have access to education, health care, and social services. 3/4 of their households have a car, air conditioning, and a VCR or DVD player. 97% of them own a color TV. There's American poverty has its own set of challenges and setbacks, but, as Singer points out, it's not necessarily the kind of poverty that kills as viciously and indiscriminately as it does in the Third World.The last part of the book is the part that I found most effective for my purposes and, for those of you who are like me and just want some practical advice on how and to whom to give, you might want to skip ahead to this part of the book or you may just want to visit GiveWell.org, a website that reviews the effectiveness of various charities and advises as to which ones are efficiently making a true, quantifiable difference in the lives of the poor. I've already chosen two charities that I'll be giving to in 2011: The Fistula Foundation and The Small Enterprise Foundation.What I found interesting about many of the negative reviews is that the number one reason cited for disliking the book was "it made me feel guilty about not doing more." Well, no shit, Sherlock. And, frankly, you should. I should. We all should. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day--the Starbucks coffee I drank while reading this is approximately someone's salary for 4 days of work. If I have to skip the occasional Caramel Macchiato or bottled water or pair of shoes to help save a life, it's hardly a sacrifice on my part considering what's at stake.
jfballenger reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I confess that I have read very little of Peter Singer’s work before this book, persuaded by his many critics that his style of philosophical reasoning and utilitarian values are blunt instruments more likely to do harm than good. But here Singer wields these blunt instruments to very good effect against the wall of complacency and convenient pessimism that the affluent use to deny their responsibility for the problem of global poverty. Singer’s argument is simple, premised on the obvious truth that if we are in a situation where we could save someone who is dying, we are morally obliged to do so unless in so doing we would be sacrificing something very nearly as valuable as the person's life. For example, failure to save the life of a drowning child because we do not want to risk ruining our shoes would be morally reprehensible. Singer then points out that globally 27,000 children per day die from causes related to extreme poverty (defined as living on less than $1.25 per day), and that these children could easily be saved by funding the expansion of existing health and development programs that are demonstrably effective. Doing so would not require affluent individuals to give up more than a trivial amount of the money that they spend on luxuries, nor would it significantly harm the economy of affluent societies. Singer thus concludes that failure to save these children is morally unacceptable, and challenges the reader to commit to supporting any of the charities that work effectively to eradicate global poverty. To my mind, Singer effectively counters every conceivable objection to this argument. He is not naïve about the problems associated with global relief and development agencies. He is skeptical of government efforts, arguing that they are generally too entangled with the economic and political interests of wealthy nations to provide effective help. He argues that non-governmental organizations are much better, though he argues that they must be scrutinized carefully to make sure that they are working effectively. So how much giving is enough? Singer argues that in principle, we are obliged to give to the point where we would be risking the loss of something nearly as valuable as the lives that are lost due to causes associated with extreme poverty. However, because the amount of money actually needed to ameliorate poverty is actually quite modest (the maximum estimate of additional funds needed to meet the millennial challenge goals for cutting global poverty in half by 2015 are only $189 billion), Singer argues that a much more modest level of giving would be sufficient to virtually eliminate extreme poverty. He calculates that if Americans of comfortable means donated roughly 5% of their income, and the rich and super-rich considerably more, America alone could raise $471 billion per year. Singer persuasively argues that ending poverty is easily within our grasp. One of the most surprising facts in the book was how much progress has in fact already been made. In 1960, an estimated 20 million children died of poverty-related causes. The most recent estimates show that the number has fallen to 8.8 million — a remarkable achievement given that in the same time period the world’s population had risen from 2.5 to 6.5 billion. Singer concludes not only that this level of giving would make little negative impact on the lives of the affluent, but that it might add significantly to their happiness and sense of fulfillment. The life you can save may be your own.
heidilove_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Singer continues to impress me not only with his words, but the way he constructs his argument in such a simple, concise, approachable manner.
hivahoa liked this
Bree Jackson added this note
materialistic items
1 thousand reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download