Chapter 3: Common Objections to Giving

Chapter 3: Common Objections
to Giving
Matias Beeck & Ari Pompas
• As the title suggests, this chapter covers the
common objections people would have and
the arguments many people would make
towards giving aid. Throughout the chapter
Singer presents these objections/arguments
and refutes them.
Major Argument
• Despite the objections people have or
arguments they make, people should still give.
People give multiple reasons/excuses for not
giving, but the majority of these reasons are
not good enough to justify not giving.
Common Objections
• People work for their
money and they have the
right to spend it on
• All people are entitled to
follow their own beliefs
• This is not fair to say because
people are born into different
financial opportunity. Some are
more fortunate than others with
the place they end up working in.
• We don’t owe anything to
someone we have done
nothing wrong to
• Giving money away will
reduce future growth
• We still have a responsibility to
those in need and there are many
ways in which we hurt the poor
that go unnoticed.
• We cannot ignore moral
• Growth is based on your
investment abilities. You can still
give at some points.
• “Charity begins at home” (24).
• “Social capital” is responsible for
at least 90% of what people earn
in wealthy societies (26).
– Herbert Simon
• “But we could still think that to
choose to do these things rather
than use the money to save
human lives is wrong, shows a
deplorable lack of empathy, and
means that you are not a good
person” (27).
• “You are causing aggression to us
by causing global warming” (32).
• In the U.S., charitable giving is
around 2.2% of gross national
income (23).
• U.S. ranks as the world’s 3rd most
generous nation (23).
• In 2006, the U.S. fell behind
Portugal and Italy, leaving Greece as
the only industrialized country to
give a smaller percentage of its
national income in foreign aid (33).
• “Just two percent of the world’s
people own half the world’s wealth,
and the richest 10% own 85% of the
wealth. In contrast, half the world’s
people have barely 1% of the
world’s assets to split among them”
Discussion Question
• “We are certainly responsible for evils we inflict
on others, no matter where, and we owe those
people compensation…Nevertheless, I have seen
no plausible argument that we owe something,
as a matter of general duty, to those to whom we
have done nothing wrong” (28).
– Canadian Philosopher Jan Narveson
• Even if we as individuals have not done anything
wrong to the people in need, is it our moral
obligation to help them? Why or why not?

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