Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”: Three Libertarian Refutations

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Peter Singer’s famous and influential essay is criticised in three main ways that can be considered libertarian, although many non-libertarians could also accept them: 1) it mistakes the relevant moral principle, which more plausibly relates to easily-satisfied local contracts (fitting Hayek’s “Great Society”) rather than impractically-onerous global intuitions (with evolutionary origins); 2) its suggested principle of the immorality of not doing good is paradoxical as it overlooks the converse aspect that would be the positive morality of not doing bad, and thereby it conceptually eliminates innocence; and 3) free markets—especially international free trade—have been overwhelmingly demonstrated to be the real solution to the global “major evils” of poverty and pollution, while “overpopulation” does not really exist in free-market frameworks; hence charity is a relatively minor alleviant to the problem of insufficient free markets.
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First archival date: 2018-10-29
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