Pogge argues that the world poverty is morally required and that we fail to fulfill our negative duties relating the global poor. However, Pogge’s advisability on the solution of the global poverty is not good for moral problem but this view will be discussed some other time on a different paper. Poggie gives three main approaches to the global poverty to convince people to let them know that poverty is bad and that people must make actions to go against the poverty.
The three approaches are 1) the effects of shared institutions, 2) uncompensated exclusion from the use of natured resources 3) the effects of a common and violent history and they are all compatible with each other. They basically require that better off people are responsible to make actions to make worse off people better. Throughout this essay, I will be defending and focusing on the view of injustice of radical inequality which not only does it exist but also is unjust. This view goes with the Second approach, which is compatible with redeems, and the rest of the approaches will be left for another time.
Poverty is avoidable but there are many moral reasons we can prevent or make the poverty that we have on earth less. Radical inequality and responsibility are part of the many reasons why people face poverty in the world. Pogge gives five elements of the radical inequality, which each are defined below. 1) “The worse-off are very badly off in absolute terms”- People who belong to this term are not comparable to anybody. They are extremely bad off. They almost have no access to anything; healthcare, food, etc which lead to a death. Why do we have such big groups of people in this term?
First, because of the government, institutions and the people themselves. Government does not support those poor people as much as they should. Government does not provide health care for this people. Government does not give enough food for this people. Government does not make enough actions to become powerful. Why? Because the leaders get the money and be better off by themselves. Not only does the government affects this poverty but also the people have no motivation to become better off. Since their lives are horrible, some people give up on their lives and become unmotivated. ) They are also very badly off in relative term-Africa is an example of this term, which they are worse off than America. Some kids are born in a poor family and they continue to be poor for the rest of their lives in Africa. Because of the parents are poor, they don’t usually do better than how their parents do. Kids are unable to go to school to get an education, which an education is actually the key to a better life. Since they don’t get a chance to go to school, kids work under harsh conditions in absolute terms.
Whereas, the kids in the US are better off than those in Africa. They go to college, get an education and try to achieve success. They have the base for a better life. However, the kids in Africa don’t even have the base to live better off. 3) “The inequality is impervious: it is difficult or impossible for the worse-off substantially to improve their lot; and most of the better-off never experience life at the bottom for even a few months and have no vivid idea of what it is like to live in that way” (Pogge, pg 60)- This is very true.
First, nothing improves rapidly, usually takes certain time to become better. Africa is the example of that as well. If Africa gets a donation on the amount of preventing its poverty, it doesn’t mean they will totally become a better off nation. They will more likely face the poverty again in the next few years. In order to understand this term, the better off people should imagine putting themselves in worse off people’s situation and think how it would be like for them. For example, my father was in a worse off life when he was very young. He had 4 sisters and a brother.
My grandmother raised all of them by herself since my grandfather passed away at an age of 33. They were all raised in poverty. My dad hated to live in that situation so he tried so hard to get over that horrible poverty. My dad always tells his young life story to us which he would go mountains to pick some onions and sell it to the people at the market. Poverty is avoidable, it in one point depends on the person whether he will walk forward or stay poor. Therefore, from my father’s true story, I kind of have sense of how bad the poverty is and that we must follow our positive duty. ) “The inequality is pervasive: it concerns not merely some aspects of life, such as the climate or access to natural beauty or high culture, but most aspects or all”. (Poggie, pg 60) 5) “The inequality is avoidable: the better off can improve the circumstances of the worse-off without becoming badly-off themselves. ”. (Poggie, pg 60). Yes, the inequality is avoidable. However, people who have a better life than those worse-off should take responsibility to make worse off a better off. Every human kind should live fairly. There should not be inequality among us.
For example, today I was in my Environmental Studies class and there was the fact that Canada has 0. 5% of the world’s population but uses 20% of the world’s fresh water. On the other hand, China owns 19% of the world’s population and uses 7% of the world’s fresh water. We definitely can see the inequality here that makes Pogge’s 5th element of radical inequality accurate. Radical inequality not only does it exist, but also it is unjust. According to Pogge’s research, among six billion human beings, 790 million lack adequate nutrition, one billion lack access to safe water, 2. billion lack basic sanitation and two hundred and fifty million children who are between 5-14 years old work under harsh or cruel conditions. (Pogge, pg 60). Pogge gives two ways of conceiving global poverty, which are positive duty and negative duty. Positive duty is basically when we think that we must make actions for others whereas negative duty is we must not make actions for others. If we are better off, we have to follow the positive duty to make others who are worse off to make them better off without hurting ourselves.
In Africa, some people don’t even have an access to fresh water whereas we, in the US, waste the fresh water a lot by not knowing its beneficent value. Instead of wasting that valuable water, why don’t we let those worse off use it? We are all living under the same God, thus we have to live evenly. However, some will think, why should I have to help a stranger and give away from my own life to someone who doesn’t belong to me at all? This is not the case and that the person is violating the positive duty. Helping someone in need is not just helping; we make a whole difference to his life.
If we put ourselves in that person’s shoes; can’t drink fresh water, no opportunity to work, always stay starving, always distressed, can’t even sleep restfully, and so much more negative things, it is totally horrible and no one would want to live in that situation. Therefore, the stranger or whatever is not the case. We have to make actions for poor to make them better off by thinking what if it was we who lived in that situation. Radical inequality is unjust and it is wrong. The better off people have been taken more than their fair share.
If there is a full of diamond inside the cave and that doesn’t belong to anybody, the better off try to take all of them, instead trying to share with other worse off people. It doesn’t mean that they can’t take what they want, but they also have to leave some for others as well so that the other people can live better than living worse off. In that way, the worse will not be living unjustly badly off. A better off and a worse off stand in front of the giant box with a full of jewelries and that the better off grabs them all, giving nothing to a worse off.
The rich guy will keep it and die at the end by only living better off by himself. The worse off ends up starving and suffering. Instead of that, if the better off also gives some from the jewelries to the worse off, then he will keep the poor from suffer and starvation by not hurting himself. Therefore, if someone is not becoming worse off himself, then he must make actions to share with the worse off. Radical Inequality exists all over the world and it is bad. The people in Bengali suffer from hunger or chronic undernutrition because they cannot grow or buy enough food to meet their basic needs.
In addition, those people suffer from chronic malnutrition, which is a deficiency of protein that makes them weak and vulnerable to diseases. Due to that, 250,000-500,000 children who are younger than 6 years old go blind every year because of a lack of Vitamin A and more than half of those kids die after a year. On the other hand, 68% of the Americans are overweight and they have problems with overnutririon, which happens due to an excessive energy use, or body fat. In the world, approximately, 925 million people have health problems because of not enough nutrition, whereas about 1. billion people face health problems because they get excessive nutrition and fat. Therefore, those who are under overnutrition die due to heart diseases, stroke etc. The injustice of the inequality is definitely shown in this example and we can see how bad it is. Instead, why not overnutrition people make actions for those undernutrition people, because the overnutrition people are not hurting or becoming worse off by themselves but helping to get healthier. This is the part of the current situations that are taking place in the world and is unjust.
I am going to convince you by giving my claim that why you should give away to the worse off to make them better off. It is the responsibility of the better offs to make worse off to live better and the better off people must consider this seriously. Since the better off owns what is not owned by anybody by not leaving some for the worse off, then they must take responsibiltity for the worse off or take only some from their fair shares. Why judge a poor by lazy? People in Africa are not lazy but they do not have the base to live better.
Due to the famine, a lot of people get serious diseases and become disabled to work. It doesn’t mean they are lazy to work. They don’t get enough health care to prevent their diseases or have good hospitals that make treatments for them. Africa doesn’t even get enough access to a freshwater for all their citizens. Whereas, people in Canada, America waste the water while brushing their tooth, having shower, or even watering their gardens. As I mentioned above, Canada owns only 0. 5% of the world’s population but uses 20% of the world’s fresh water.
Instead, people in Canada must take responsibility to reduce their use of fresh water and let the worse off use it efficiently. People in well-developed countries just don’t really know the value of the water and also because the government does not charge the water with its external costs, people think that the water is there all the time they need and they don’t have to care much as how people in Africa values it. If one family in America saves their use of water by only 20%, it will give 10 families an access to a freshwater in Africa.
A little action makes a huge difference. Religion is another reason why people make actions for the poor. Whether a person believes in God or not, a God does exist. A person can be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Shaman, Mormon, or Catholic, but there is only one God. By helping the poor, a person is blessed by the God and he/she feels morally good. There are many people who don’t believe in God on earth, but they will challenge it once they go to the other world. Some people help to a certain point where they feel that the poor must learn to help themselves.
That way, better off people will let the poor understand why they are helping them and how they got to where they are now so that the poor can change themselves. Making actions for the poor should have its boundary, if they are keep being helped; it’s leading them to a harm than a good. Therefore, religion takes a huge part when it comes to make actions for the poor. To go to a better level on the other side of the world, people should follow what God wants them to do which includes try making the worse off a better off. Poverty is unjust.
Do we have an obligation to radical inequality? This is a question that is related to moral principles. The better off people do have an obligation to the radical inequality and as I mentioned above, the better off must be responsible trying the worse off to live in a better situation. Because, better off people have been taken more than their fair shares. The combination of empirical fact and moral principle involves suffering but the better off can prevent this from not happening by making actions for the worse off to lift them up.
Radical inequality is unjust and it exists but the solution is that the better off must be responsible for making the worse off a better off by not hurting themselves. Pogge’s Global Resource Dividend is not a good solution to prevent poverty in worse off country but as I said this issue will be discussed some other time. Justice requires the solution. If my arguments were convincing, then people should radiate the poor; thinking of their fair shares and because it is part of what God wants us to do to go to a better level on the other side of the world.