A practitioner of applied ethics, Peter Singer helped launch the animal rights movement during the 1970s, then later took a controversial stance on euthanasia. These days, the Princeton philosopher is working on less contentious issues. His 2009 book is called The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, and the core argument gets nicely distilled by the three minute video above. Along the way, Singer raises some basic but essential questions about how much we value human lives, both emotionally and economically. Is it worth a pair of shoes to save the life of a child? Many would say unequivocally yes if asked the question. But every day we make choices to the contrary. And that’s what Singer wants to undo. Watch the video. Read the short book. And visit Singer’s web site (thelifeyoucansave.com) and finally find out where you can make a donation that will save a young life today.
Note: You can listen to a 2009 interview with Singer where he talks about how small sacrifices can make big differences, and why we should make them (Download the MP3 here).