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The Life You Can Save
How to Play Your Part in Ending World Poverty
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What is a human life worth? Can we put a figure on it? We say we believe in the equality of each individual life, but do our actions bear this out? From acclaimed philosopher Peter Singer comes a radical challenge to Western affluence and apathy, and a series of seaching questions. Writing on ethics for more than 30 years, he was nonetheless astonished to discover that if the top 10% of America's rich were to give 10% or their earnings in aid, world poverty could in theory be eliminated. And in a world in which more than a billion people are richer than ever previously known, yet more than a billion others struggle to survive on less than a dollar a day, he believed this to be not simply an arresting statistic, but a burning moral issue. In his groundbreaking new book Singer argues, with unerring logic, against the traditional view that it is good to practise charity but that it's not wrong if you don't. Exploring the ethics of philanthropy and the implications of a demanding morality for what we know of human nature - its drive towards self-interest, its limited capacity for altruism - he exposes the vagaries of our thought processes and interactions. More than an emotive call to arms, The Life You Can Save is a persuasive, rigorous and searing philosophical lesson in how we might, and why we should, mobilize ourselves to give.
Pan Macmillan; February 2010
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