The Life You Can Save

Peter Singer

Buy it at Lyon Books.

In The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, philosopher Peter Singer presents us with the moral imperative of saving and improving the quality of lives of millions of poor people. Singer points out that not all of the 855 million of us whom he classifies as financially comfortable are automatically giving. Despite our false preconceptions about how generous we think we are in first-world countries, we are shown that with merely a modest annual donation of $300 per person to the best charities—e.g. Oxfam, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders—we could lift everyone in the world out of squalor. Much of Singer’s book is dedicated to addressing the psychological obstacles (as well as the incentives) to donating money. Singer includes a seven-point plan for catalyzing the necessary cultural changes, which addresses, among other things, personal philanthropy, spreading the word and political activism. Singer is calling for no less than a cultural, social, economic and political paradigm shift that by nature must be completely voluntary in order to succeed.