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Volume 28 • Number 1

January 2014



A "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" for Climate Change?

by Avram Hiller

Peter Singer wrote his landmark paper "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" (hereafter FAM) in 1971 in response to the refugee crisis facing Bengal at the time, concluding that affluent people are obligated to contribute a large portion of their wealth to help those in need throughout the world. The core of FAM is a now-famous example: it would be wrong not to save a drowning child even if it means ruining one's clothes, and Singer argues that our obligation to people in need in developing countries is no different than our obligation to the drowning child nearby. This example is easy to grasp, and although Singer's argument has certainly not been universally persuasive, it is hard to doubt that it, rephrased in books and in major newspapers and magazines by Singer and others, has had significant effects on many people.

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ISSN: 2152-0542