The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty (2009)

Book List
Publishing information: 
Peter Singer. London, March 2009, 224pp  ISBN 978-1-4000-6710-7

Australian philosopher and Princeton’s touring professor Peter Singer returns to a pet topic in this book – no, not man’s treatment of animals, for which he found notoriety following the 1975 publication of his book Animal Liberation - but our collective moral duty to save lives; the tenet being “if we can save lives, then shouldn’t we save lives?”. The book is a statement of his personal optimism about the world’s ability to make a difference: “I really think we have a capacity to make a big impact on extreme poverty in a way that we didn’t in the 70s”, he said in a recent article in The Guardian (23 May 2009). In the book, Singer proposes a practical solution in the form of a scale of giving modelled on a progressive tax system, based on a percentage of earnings across several thresholds. Singer’s aspiration is for cultural change and he talks of the current economic crisis as a time for ‘reassessment’ of values and a ‘rejection’ of current consumption habits.

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