Taking Hunger Seriously

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):29-57 (2004)
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An argument is advanced to show that affluent and moderately affluent people, like you and me, are morally obligated: To provide modest financial support for famine relief organizations and/or other humanitanan organizations working to reduce the amount of unnecessary suffering and death in the world, and To refrain from squandering food that could be fed to humans in situations of food scarcity. Unlike other ethical arguments for the obligation to assist the world’s absolutely poor, my argument is not predicated on any highly contentious ethical theory that you likely reject. Rather, it is predicated on your beliefs. The argument shows that the things you currently believe already commit you to the obligatoriness of helping to reduce malnutrition and famine-related diseases by sending a nominal percentage of your income to famine relief organizations and by not squandering food that could be fed to them. Consistency with your own beliefs implies that to do any less is to be profoundly immoral.
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