Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peter Singer

Went to a seminar today at Old Parliament House about extreme poverty. The speaker was Peter Singer, an Australian philosopher with interesting views on the injustice of world poverty. 

Something he said which resonated with me, was the concept of seeing a small child in danger of drowning in a shallow pond, and the fact that most people wouldn't think twice about saving the kid. You might ruin a pair of $200 shoes, but you'd do it instinctively. Why isn't that the same for the kids we can't see?

There was also lots of talk about workplace giving, which was fine in a roomful of middle class (mostly) public servants, but I couldn't help to think that none of this is going to change. There are too many people in this world who profit from people in extreme poverty and they profit because those people make compromised choices due to their personal circumstances. 

There is too much money in keeping the poor poor.

Peter Singer has recently published a book on his ideas about poverty, and the book's website has some really interesting information in how we can all make a difference. There is also a calculator which tells you how much you should be giving based on your income. I just did the calculation and fell short by about $5000, so I should get off my moral soapbox about keeping the poor poor...

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