Global Poverty the World Bank Essay

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In that regard, anyone who spends on luxury items could indirectly be causing the suffering or death of a person whose pain or demise is as a result of poverty related issues, i.e. lack of food and/or medical attention.

Promoting the Common Good: Singer's Utilitarianism

In an attempt to further reinforce his assertion, Singer (1999) in one of his many presentations on global poverty recounts an imaginary example originally given by Peter Unger. In the said example, Bob has a rare Bugatti car which has been rising in value over time. With that in mind, Bob is certain that on retirement, proceeds realized from the sale of the car will most likely see him live comfortably during his retirement. One day, Bob decides to go out for a drive and ends up packing his Bugatti at the edge of a railway siding. Soon, Bob notices a child idling down the railway track. On the other side is a train running down the track. Bob has two options, i.e. To divert the train by throwing a certain switch or to let the train proceed on track and thus crush the kid. Throwing the said switch will however send the train crushing towards Bob's Bugatti. No passengers are onboard at the time and hence the former option would have no fatalities. Bob chooses to save his Bugatti. The child is crushed.

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According to Singer (1999), although most of us would accuse Bob of cruelty and insensitivity, we are guilty of similar 'offenses'. For instance, we all have a chance to save the life of children threatened by diseases which are easily preventable by donating to organizations that concern themselves with the elimination or control of such diseases. In my opinion, Singer's argument is the most plausible when it comes to the effective promotion of the common good. For instance, it does not make much sense for an individual to own numerous pairs of shoes (some of which may never be worn anyway) while at the same time there is a needy soul miles away in need of immediate medical attention. A simple sacrifice on our part could result in the promotion of the well-being of millions of people from across the world.

In Response to the Issue

TOPIC: Essay on Global Poverty the World Bank Assignment

Although Singer's perspective seems most effective when it comes to ending global poverty, there are a number of ethical considerations which come to the fore. For instance, which criteria should be used to determine who is dying? It is important to note that in this particular case, Singer's arguments are largely hinged on saving people who are likely to die as a result our failure to intervene. Therefore, this argument in its most basic form regards those at the risk of dying as a result of our inaction as the ones worthy of our aid. I am however convinced that such a strict view of Singer's perspective is too rigid. In my opinion, our aid should be directed to not only those who are dying but to also those who cannot afford necessities considered basic. We must therefore be mindful of those who cannot afford education, healthcare, decent meals, etc. As Singer (1999) points out, money spent on an expensive dinner could save the lives of several kids elsewhere in the world. The amount spent every month on expensive dinners could settle the school fees of a youngster wasting away in a far away place like Africa or India.


Deen, T. (2004). Development: Tied Aid Strangling Nations, Says U.N. Retrieved October 6, 2012, from the Inter-Press Service website:

Galston, W.A. & Hoffenberg, P.H. (Eds.). (2010). Poverty and Morality: Religious and Secular Perspectives. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Joseph, S. (2011). Blame it on the WTO? A Human Rights Critique. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mizzoni, J. (2009). Ethics: The Basics. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

Singer, P. (1999, September 5). The Singer Solution to World Poverty. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from The New York Times Magazine website:

World Bank (2012). Poverty Overview. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from the World Bank Website:

World Council of Churches (2006, Feb 16). Ecumenical Conversation: Changing Social and Economic Context. Retrieved October 6, 2012, from the World Council of Churches website: [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Global Poverty the World Bank" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Global Poverty the World Bank.  (2012, October 8).  Retrieved December 6, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Global Poverty the World Bank."  8 October 2012.  Web.  6 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Global Poverty the World Bank."  October 8, 2012.  Accessed December 6, 2021.