“We Are Moving in a More Humanitarian Direction”: An Interview with Philosopher Peter Singer (Full Text and Video)

Matthew Bieber in The Wheat and the Chaff:

Peter Singer is perhaps the world’s most influential philosopher and the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. In late August, I sat down with him to discuss his most recent book, The Life You Can Save.

At the outset of your recent book, The Life You Can Save, you lay out two goals: to challenge readers to think about their obligations to those trapped in extreme poverty, and to convince readers to choose to give more of their income to help the poor.

What do you mean by extreme poverty?

Well, when I talk about extreme poverty, I use the definition that the World Bank has, which is really based on people having enough income to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and maybe to educate their children, or some very minimal, basic healthcare.

The World Bank has calculated that in order to do that, you need to have the purchasing power equivalent in your local currency of US $1.25. So, we’re really talking about people who have less than what you can buy for $1.25 in the United States. It’s not what you would get for US $1.25 if you went to a bank in Mozambique or Mauritania. It’s what would have the same purchasing power in those local currencies as $1.25 has in the United States, and that’s what you have to live on for a day. If you have less than that, the World Bank classifies you as being extremely poor.

More here.  And here’s the video: