Rich and Poor by Peter Singer Both absolute poverty and absolute affluence exist. • Absolute poverty. – Defined as malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, squalid housing, high infant mortality, low life expectancy. – Characterizes 23% of world’s population. • Absolute affluence. – Ability to meet all basic needs + afford luxuries. – Characterizes the majority (but not all) in advanced industrial countries. There is sufficient production of economic goods in the world that no one has to live in absolute poverty. • This is certainly the case for food. – Sufficient food is produced today to provide every person on earth with a nutritionally adequate diet – and – This is without putting more land into agricultural production or bringing the “green revolution” everywhere. What does Rawls’ theory say? • Apply the second principle. – The current inequality does not leave enough for everyone. – No one could place themselves behind the veil of ignorance and assent to this pattern of distribution. • The current world-wide pattern of poverty and wealth is not just, and therefore is not ethically acceptable. What does Singer say? • Every serious ethicist would say we should prevent what is bad when we can do so without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance. – In the case of world poverty, this means that helping is morally required – not merely something it is nice to do for the people who feel like it.