Are the Rich Obligated to help?

Poverty is all around us. You can see it as you walk down the street and a homeless person is holding a sign saying, “Anything helps”.  The question is do the rich have any responsibility to help the poor?  According to Peter Unger and Singer they have a utilitarian look on it.  In the article I read it gave a scenario: Suppose that Bob is on his way to the University and he passes by a shallow pond. As he walks by the pond that morning he sees a little child who appears to be drowning. What should he do? He has two choices. One is to go into the pond and save the child, though he would at the same time dirty his clothes and thus miss his class. The second choice is to walk pass the child to get to his class and leave him to drown to death.  Obviously you would stop and help the child. But the other questions asked were: what if other people were around? Or what if the child was from a far away country but Bob could safe him/her with little cost to him?  In the article it explains that it is more of a moral fulfillment to give the homeless person money, send money to a third world country, and help charities out by donating money.  For Bob, by saving the baby it isn’t a charitable act but his obligation. The article explains that if someone could give money to different organizations and not see it as a charitable act but a responsibility because they can afford it without sacrificing much in return then it will be just like saving the baby as an obligation. 

Honestly, you always see the commercials to send like 25 cents a day over to a starving child in Africa and you want to send money but you don’t.  I don’t personally think that it is the rich’s obligation to help the poor. The people who help the poor most of the time are people who have the biggest hearts and care about helping.  I feel like the rich are the people who care the least.  I worked at a church serving food to the homeless over Jan Term and the church started out by serving six people and now every Saturday they serve around 100 homeless people.  The people there aren’t rich but have a heart big enough to help these poor people. 

 

 

http://www.tigweb.org/youth-media/panorama/article.html?ContentID=7143&start=5197

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3 thoughts on “Are the Rich Obligated to help?

  1. You made a valid point in saying the rich are not obligated to help. I believe the rich are rich only because they hold on to their money unlike like others who spend and spend. Those people who donate their time to organizations are rich too, rich with love for those less fortunate.

    I enjoy donating money but I am always cautious about those sitting on at an intersection asking for money. I have heard about incidents where these poor people walk away from the corner and drive off in a nice car. I personally have never witness such act but it breaks my heart knowing scrupulous people take advantage of other’s goodwill.

  2. Devon your point hit it right on the nose. You do not want to depend on the rich to make a difference. We need to concentrate the efforts on those with the big heart to help the poor. With people who care about the less fortunate prompts other to join in to make a change around a cause like homelessness. Those who look for the rich to make a difference try to justify themselves not helping. I have been guilty of doing this, but I realize it has to start with myself first. I think the story with the drowning child is a good example of how to approach the problem. In donating to the homeless or poor you do not get dirty, but somewhere down the line you realize it’s for the greater good of where you live.

  3. I also think that the rich are rich because they make a lot of money and are smart with it. I would think that celebrities would donate more of their time or money to charities and hunger. But the people who are the best and the richest are the ones who are filled with love and truly care and just write that check. The people who take the time to care are amazing because they put so much effort into what they do and continue to try to bring new people in to help. I agree that people who are looking for the rich to help out is because they are not willing to help out.

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