Some statistics taken out of the book:
There are about 1 billion people living in what are considered affluent countries. Those countries government and private donations give an amount of money that works out to roughly $60 per person in donations.
There are 3 billion people living in poverty – living on less than $2/day. Even in countries that have very small economies, this is not considered enough money to give a person access to housing, food, education, and basic health care.
Given those two things, $60/person is clearly not enough money to be donating. Singer outlines in the beginning of the book how when people are presented with the story of a child drowning in a pond and a man wearing a new armani suit and shoes, that it is his moral obligation to rescue the child, regardless that he will ruin $3,000 worth of clothes. Although this is very over-simplified view, he expands this thought into arguments for and against helping people on a larger, and broader scale. How it is difficult for some people to offer money to people they’ve never met both in their home countries and internationally, and the arguments that can be made to cultivate a culture of giving.
Singer asks us to look at places where we spend money on things we would not miss. $3 lattes instead of making coffee at home, bottled water when we could filter, or in many places outright drink the tap water, soda at convenience stores and restaurants, clothes we don’t really wear, or more shoes we don’t need. He then asks people to look even above that for people who are capable, and consider giving even more. He argues that people should give as much as they can to just before the point that they are doing more harm to themselves than good for other people.
The book is divided into several different categories:
1.The Argument: Saving a child, why it is wrong not to help, common objections to giving
2. Human Nature: Why we don’t give more, creating a culture of giving
3. The Facts About Aid: How much does it cost to save a life, which charities do it best, and improving aid
4. A New standard for Giving: Your child and the children of others, asking too much?, A realistic approach.
His final conclusion is that if everyone who lives above the poverty line themselves contributed 5% of their income, and the super rich gave a little more than that, we would have more than enough money to combat poverty, and the three chronic health issues that he outlines: 27,000 who kids die of preventable diseases every day, at least 3 million women living with fistula who are not allowed to contribute to their local economies due to isolation, and the several million people who have gone blind from reversible cataracts.
Currently Reading: The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty
Pages read in current book: 174
Pages read total: 675
Please consider donating the charity I’m sponsoring: Child Upliftment Center
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