“It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty”, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This fact indicates how poverty is an issue that needs more attention because of it’s significant impact on the people in the world. Peter Singer, an Australian humanist and philosopher, addresses the dilemma of poverty world-wide in his essay, The Singer Solution to Poverty. Singer argues how it is wrong for an individual to live well without giving substantial amounts of money to help people who are hungry, malnourished, and dying from easily treatable illnesses.
In the matter of defending and qualifying Singer’s argument, people should be more aware of the issue of poverty. This is because dangerous effects may be engendered for children, squandering money and wealth on ridiculous fanciful items is killing the poor, and that poverty plays a significant role in affecting lives of poor individuals. According to www. heartsandminds. org, around 2,000 children are born into poverty everyday. Children should not be exposed to deprivation of food and shelter. Children are vulnerable and innocent beings, which is all the more reason to help them more.
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During this summer, I visited Pakistan, a less-developed country. The sight of poverty and filth in the rural areas was unimaginable. Poor children desperately begged for money to people passing by, with plea and hope in their eyes. I remembered clearly how people would refuse to give the children any money, which made them immensely disappointed and full of anguish. Children in poverty also have problems with education and learning. Because of the trauma and emotional stress, children get distracted from their education, and instead, get constantly worried about the poor condition they live in.
If an individual sees that a child is in need of being taken care of, then what factors contribute to deterring that person for making a beneficial impact on the child? If a greater good would happen because of your decision to help the child, then why not make that decision? What enormous sacrifices prevent humans from helping one another in these circumstances? The simple satisfaction you have when you buy an item of your personal interest is nothing compared to the true satisfaction of knowing that you have helped a person in need. When a person helps a child, she knows that the child is enefiting, but seldom does she know that she is benefiting also. The person feels good about herself because she has become a better person than before. Children in poverty is a crucial issue to think about because children are the future of the country. If children become uneducated, physically weak, or even become criminals because of poverty, the impact on the world would be quite chaotic. Hence an individual needs to help the children in poverty. When a person is born in wealth and happiness, he does not know conspicuously that there are those who are less fortunate than him in the world.
This person may be spending ridiculously large amounts of money on useless, fanciful items that would come to benefit less in his life. Thus, lies the conclusion that the person is stuck in the world of materialism. Singer believes that not giving to the poor and needy person is as bad as the killing them. In a way, Singer is correct in his theory. When a person does not give to the poor and spends his money on extra items to satisfy himself, a poor, unfortunate person dies of hunger in Africa.
The money that person used on himself could have been used to feed a poor man in Africa, who perished in starvation. Interestingly enough, the person spent the money on something he WANTED, not something he desperately NEEDED. It was not food or shelter the person yearned for, it was a material possession he wanted because of his selfish desires. According to the Millennium Project established by the UN, more than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day, 300 million are children.
If more people were well-aware of this fact, they would put more effort into helping people with these kinds of problems. The most effective method to publicize recognition of the issue of poverty would be if ignorant-wealthy people were put in the circumstances of being poor. It would be then, when they would experience the harsh reality of the life lead by poor people, and come to the understanding of how vital it is to help the poor. Now, an important question comes into matter: What can you do about poverty and to what extent can you stop helping?
There are limitless options in helping poverty. Helping just one person in need is enough, however one must ask: How many people are willing to help? To make a world-wide difference on poverty, many people must be willing to help. Abdul Edhi, a well-known philanthropist of Pakistan, lives the simplest life one can imagine in Pakistan. He raises and funds massive amounts of money for the poor, yet he, himself, lives a simple, plain life. He sacrificed most of his worldly pleasures to dedicate himself to helping the poor.
If there were more people like Edhi, imagine how much change will come to the world. People who are oblivious to poverty, do not have much knowledge about poverty, and how it plays an important role in affecting other issues as well. People need to be more aware of poverty in that sense because poverty affects numerous other places as well. Poverty negatively affects education, economy, society, and most importantly, the people of the country. When a person is poor, he has trouble providing education for himself because he is too busy thinking about how to feed his family and himself.
He desperately needs a job, but works as a laborer instead, since this job requires less skill. He asks for some people in society to help him, but they are too absorbed in their own work to even notice his cries for help. This explains how poverty really affects the lives of poor individuals. In every decision there is a sacrifice a person must make. In a matter of giving money and help, you can choose between giving it to a person who needs it or you can spend your money on some material object you might consider “cool”.
Before buying another pair of fancy shoes or throwing away your half-finished slice of pizza, think of the people who are dying and suffering because of poverty. Think of all the trouble and conflict they go through, while you keep spending your money on items that you want. In defending and qualifying Singer’s argument, people should be more aware of the issue of poverty because it has negative effects on children, wasting money on material possessions hurts the poor, and that poverty plays a major role in affecting lives of poor individuals.