D E B at E

The main thrust of my argument was that ad hoc su gge s ti ons of ch a ri ty cannot replace a systematic and theoreti c a lly inform ed approach to poverty rel i ef . Ch a ri t a ble don a ti on som eti m e s h elps—and som etimes harm s — but is no general solution to global poverty, and can be po s i tively dangerous wh en pre s en ted as such. We need to consider, and often choose, other routes to helping the poor—including ethical to u rism and fair trade in lu x u ry goods. We will not be able to invest in such feasible routes if we give away all our extra income, as Singer recommends. Sticking to donation above all, when a combination of other strategies is necessary, is highly likely to harm the poor. Si n ger doe s n’t re a lly en ga ge my argumen t . In s te ad , he cari c a tu res our “f u n d a m ental disa greem en t” :a pp a ren t ly, Si n ger rej ects va ri o u s policies because he takes into account the “f act s” ; wh ereas Ku per is the one seeking a “f a i t h ,” a “po l i tical ph i l o s ophy. . . i m mune to ref ut a ti on on the basis of evi den ce .” Anyon e who has re ad my arti cle (pp. 1 07 - 2 0) must fin d this puzzling. The arti cle explains at len g t h wh i ch kinds of b ack ground theories help us to d i s cern and re s pon s i bly con s i der the rel eva n t f act s . I show that Si n ger sel ects and uses fact s u n c ri ti c a lly prec i s ely because he has no po l i tical econ omy, no po l i tical soc i o l ogy, and no t h eory of ju s ti ce . We are seri o u s ly misled if we do not draw adequ a tely on the wi s dom and..
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    Peter Singer (2002). Achieving the Best Outcome. Ethics and International Affairs 16 (1):127-128.
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