The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty

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Random House, 2009 - Philosophy - 206 pages
11 Reviews
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This is the right time to ask yourself: “What should I be doing to help?”

For the first time in history, it is now within our reach to eradicate world poverty and the suffering it brings. Yet around the world, a billion people struggle to live each day on less than many of us pay for bottled water. And though the number of deaths attributable to poverty worldwide has fallen dramatically in the past half-century, nearly ten million children still die unnecessarily each year. The people of the developed world face a profound choice: If we are not to turn our backs on a fifth of the world’s population, we must become part of the solution.

InThe Life You Can Save, philosopher Peter Singer, named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” byTimemagazine, uses ethical arguments, provocative thought experiments, illuminating examples, and case studies of charitable giving to show that our current response to world poverty is not only insufficient but ethically indefensible.

Singer contends that we need to change our views of what is involved in living an ethical life. To help us play our part in bringing about that change, he offers a seven-point plan that mixes personal philanthropy (figuring how much to give and how best to give it), local activism (spreading the word in your community), and political awareness (contacting your representatives to ensure that your nation’s foreign aid is really directed to the world’s poorest people).

InThe Life You Can Save, Singer makes the irrefutable argument that giving will make a huge difference in the lives of others, without diminishing the quality of our own. This book is an urgent call to action and a hopeful primer on the power of compassion, when mixed with rigorous investigation and careful reasoning, to lift others out of despair.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nicdevera - LibraryThing

Here I stand, still unconverted. And yet, this book is controversial, important, compelling. In a way I read this as a continuation of the consequentialist themes in Scott Alexander's Unsong. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - arewenotben - LibraryThing

The kind of book you want to put into the hand of everyone you know. Can't recommend highly enough, has definitely made me seriously reflect upon aspects of my life and my attitude towards charity. Read full review

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About the author (2009)

\Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than thirty books, including Animal Liberation, widely considered to be the founding statement of the animal rights movement, Practical Ethics, and One World: Ethics and Globalization.

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