Monday, February 15, 2010

Class Entry

A few days ago, we all read an excerpt that talked about world poverty. But more specifically, the essay was about how to end world poverty and how almost every individual living in the United States is morally obligated to donate any excess of their income to help support the starving children in third world countries. I must admit that this essay had an excellent point, but I do not wholly agree with this aforementioned obligation.
Unfortunately, I am ironically writing this journal entry in the Bahamas, I am on a family vacation which is the very thing this essay is against, so I do not remember the author’s name. Anyways, the author of this essay argues that we are all hypocrites for not sending even the smallest of donations to non-profit organizations, like UNICEF. This argument is presented in the form of some hypothetical examples. One example in particular was a scenario where a man is placed in quite the pickle. This man has the opportunity to save switch the tracks of a speeding train that will otherwise hit a child dead on, but if this man were to switch the tracks then his prized car would be irreparably damaged. The author argues that anyone who would throw the switch to damage their car is a hypocrite for not sending the car’s monetary equivalent value to third world organizations thus saving the life of a child.
The aforementioned scenario is provocative to say the least, but the author tries to argue that there is virtually no relevant difference between saving a child from a speeding train than from saving a child in a third world country. However, I do believe there is a difference, because if one does not save the child from the speeding train, then there will be consequences. Personally, I would suffer from nightmares about how I was responsible for the killing of a child especially if I were to witness the horror of a speeding train hitting a child. This is different than if I chose to not donate some money to help a starving child in another country, because I would most likely not suffer from nightmares.
Later in the essay, the author continues his argument stating that an average family uses $30,000 a year to pay for necessities and thus should donate any excess of that income to help the many starving children. This is not only unrealistic, but if such an outcome were to become a reality, then there would be noticeably terrible consequences. If everyone only spent their money on minimal food expense, minimal clothing expense, and minimal shelter expense, then what would happen to the entertainment industry? The airline industry would also suffer as not as many people could afford to travel. Basically, any company that depends on their customers spending their extra cash would be out of commission thus eliminating a staggering number of jobs. But perhaps this economic downturn would be worth the lives of many children, because assuredly if every family and individual donated their income surplus then world hunger and poverty could perhaps be purged.

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