Should we let people starve – for now?

Analysis 66 (291):240–247 (2006)
Abstract
Many philosophers believe that just as moral reasons do not diminish in force across space, so they do not diminish across time, and that we should accordingly be neutral between the interests of present people and future people. This allows them to make the plausible claim that we should not discount the interests of future generations when making decisions about things like consuming scarce resources.1 However, when this outlook is combined with a small number of fairly weak assumptions, it becomes difficult to resist answering the title-question in the affirmative.2 By analogy, it also becomes hard to deny that we should delay aid intended to prevent suffering short of death as well. Although I will be arguing that we should take this view seriously, my goal is to explain it, not to vindicate it.
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