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Ethics and Morality What's right and what's wrong? Discuss issues on ethics, morality, and justice.

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  #1  
Old 03-20-2010, 03:42 AM
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Saving Lives...literally

I happened across an idea which I have found difficult to refute; from a moral point of view.

If you're reading this, most likely you are rich enough to own a computer, which puts you in the same moral dilemma.

Here's the quote :-

"According to the Charities Aid Foundation, over half of all adults in the UK donated to charitable causes last year, amounting to £9.9bn. But with countless options in terms of needy causes deciding how, how much and who to give to is not always straightforward. Thirty-year-old Toby Ord, a postdoctoral research fellow in ethics at Oxford, has the answer. He's the founder of an international society called Giving What We Can (www.givingwhatwecan.org) which is dedicated to eliminating poverty in the developing world. On joining, you pledge to give away at least 10% of your income, an idea inspired in part by moral philosopher Peter Singer, who gave away 20% of his. You can also access information and share ideas online on the most effective ways to donate. Giving What We Can launched in November, but about $10m has already been pledged.

While 10% sounds like a sizeable ask, Ord insists that most of us are better off than we think. The website has a simple online tool that reveals how wealthy you are, in terms of the world population, and another to help calculate future earnings, how much you could give and the number of lives you could save as a result. "When I was on a scholarship earning £14,000 per year," says Ord, "I looked at data on the World Income Distribution List and found I was in the richest 5% of the world's population. And if I were to give 10% of that, I'd still be in the richest 5%."

Ord calculated he'd earn about £1.5m during his life and could give away about £1m because, he says, "all the things I really value I already had; quiet time with my wife, chatting with friends and reading beautiful books." So ask yourself if you already have what you need to be happy.

IN A NUTSHELL You are 10% richer than you think you are"

We read about fictional 'superheroes' who stop criminals etc. and are attracted to the stories because we applaud their intentions to do good and save lives. And yet, in the real world we seem to have the power ourselves to save tens if not hundreds of lives. OK, assuming we have looked after ourselves and our family, is it time to save the lives of many others ?

Historically and politically, the redistribution of global wealth has not had a good track record eg communism, but charities for poorer countries seems to have a real and positive impact in basic issues of life or death...and it seems difficult to argue against the idea that I could save 25 lives plus or have a slightly better car / TV / i-pod...

From a moral point of view, one can't help the feeling that it would be the most positive difference one could ever achieve with one's own life...or am I missing something; does the basic economics work ?
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2010, 12:53 PM
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economics doesn't work. Capitalism is a device for concentrating wealth in a miniscule population whilst the majority sweat to earn it for them.

We are only wealthy because the majority of people are not, and even our wealth is miniscule compared to that of the richest.

consider this, it's a story I heard years ago from a friend who sold children's clothing through holding parties at home. A child's T-shirt she could sell for #2; she purchased it in turn from the company which organised the affair for #1. They bought it from a wholesaler for 50p. The wholsesaler purchased it in turn from an importer for 20p. The importer got the T-shirt from an exporter in India for 10p. The exporter bought the T-shirt from a factory for 5p. How much do you think the person who made the T-shirt achieved?

Become an anarcho-communist.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:58 AM
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Its easy to throw money at poverty and pat your self on the back.
Then wait 20 years.

And see that the 2 poor people, are now 20 as a result
of the money you threw at them,

and now they are even poorer than before
because there are now 20 of them.

Without a culture of living correctly,
poverty will get worse when you throw money at it.

Rather build them a church
and teach them not to have uncountable illegitimate children
to roam the streets like predators.

That will do more good than all the money in the world.
Infinitely so.

At the very least you will teach them building skills!

The Church is the only institution that has ever overstood adult education,
because its foundation is that of ROCK.

Igzibeher!
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoseidonsNet View Post
Rather build them a church
and teach them not to have uncountable illegitimate children
to roam the streets like predators.

At the very least you will teach them building skills!

The Church is the only institution that has ever overstood adult education,
because its foundation is that of ROCK.
Although of course the Roman Catholic Church insists that everyone have as many children as possible - mainly so that it's priests get more opportuniity to bugger them.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:54 PM
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There is a deeper moral question to confront here.

Firstly, the argument that "...if you give them more money, they will merely breed more and create more suffering..." does not stand up. In fact, we know the opposite is true; the only reason poor people procreate more is because it's one of the few resources they have to provide for the future. In richer countries, birth rates are lower because governments / families / individuals have a more stable outlook and so don't see the need to procreate so much.

Secondly, I'm not discussing people who are about to be born; I'm talking about real people who are alive now. Put it this way - you are almost literally being confronted by, say, a dozen babies. Are you going to sit back and let each one be shot in the face, or are you going to save them ?

The reality is, you CAN save them; you have the power to do so. The aid agencies are waiting...

Can you argue that your own life is worth more as it is, than helping these people meet BASIC NEEDS, with very little cost to your own luxurious lifestyle ?
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:28 AM
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What is ethical?

To determine what correct ethical behaviour is one first has to establish what one believes. What set of ethical standards does one uphold? What kind of future does one desire? What works?
Especially that last one is very important, and its a question people cant answer at the moment. We do not know what makes people tick, we have no idea other than some gut-feelings or smart metaphores.
Also very important is getting clear what one wants with society as a whole. Where are we going, what state of the world are we trying to achieve? I know that under the banner of personal freedom we dont like to answer these questions. Every man should be able to decide for himself and all that kind of bullshit. Well we tried that a for a while and it doesnt work. We are left with complete moral uncertainty, except for some cliche's none of us really honours, and individual aimlessness.

Talking about ethics and merely bringing up said cliche's is neither constructive nor helpfell in any way. We could help the poor, noone should have to die, lets care about nature. All fine things, after we all conclude that we will, and can, achieve what we want by aiming for these goals.
When we look beyond our direct family any one of us will conclude that life is a mess. Retreating into the family shelter is not a new moral code, its shutting your eye's and turning away. And we cant turn away, people are connected we need eachother. But in what way and how badly is left to discover.

When considering helping the poor now, one should also consider that we could try to focus on us and let millions die so we can leap forward and help the potential billions in the future. All sound questions which only become ethical when one decides they are in fact part of our ethical context.
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
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What is ethical?

When considering helping the poor now, one should also consider that we could try to focus on us and let millions die so we can leap forward and help the potential billions in the future. All sound questions which only become ethical when one decides they are in fact part of our ethical context.
Since you are willing to let millions die, you have no moral opinion worth listening to. In fact, if millions do die, I hope you are one of them.

Going back to my original question, we have the power to save many live NOW; why don't we ? Because we don't know them ?
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by leo54321 View Post
Since you are willing to let millions die, you have no moral opinion worth listening to. In fact, if millions do die, I hope you are one of them.
Actually, he's got a good point.
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by leo54321 View Post
Since you are willing to let millions die, you have no moral opinion worth listening to. In fact, if millions do die, I hope you are one of them.

Going back to my original question, we have the power to save many live NOW; why don't we ? Because we don't know them ?
That rounds up the conversation rather nicely.

Since you are not even able to ponder these possibilities you are not a moral thinker. Since when became saving lives the the focal point of ethics? When did saving lives become the most important thing ever? What is your ethical goal, to save every life?

Dont get me wrong, nobody wants millions to die...
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Old 04-12-2010, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durin View Post
I know that under the banner of personal freedom we dont like to answer these questions. Every man should be able to decide for himself and all that kind of bullshit. Well we tried that a for a while and it doesnt work. We are left with complete moral uncertainty, except for some cliche's none of us really honours, and individual aimlessness.
This is bull. Reason why it hasn't worked to your standards is because too many people give up to easily. Too many think that they need someone else to solve their problems, rather then use the intellect they have and move out of the position they are in. Too often in many of today's different societies, we have this entitlement mentality. Life is an uncertainty, that is fact. No one can predict the future. And also as far as morals and ethics, it is based on individual mandates and decisions, not group think.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Durin View Post
When we look beyond our direct family any one of us will conclude that life is a mess. Retreating into the family shelter is not a new moral code, its shutting your eye's and turning away. And we cant turn away, people are connected we need eachother. But in what way and how badly is left to discover.
And this is the main problem we have today, this thought process of we need each other notion. Its one reason why we are in this mess. Its one thing to use each other to our own benefits voluntarily, its another to abuse others rights when it comes to individual decision making and responsibility.

Some call me callous, but I call it living in reality.
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:27 PM
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"Actually, he's got a good point."Symptom777
Maybe she's referring to a million of enemy soldiers invading our great nation. Some countries couldn't care less about the red cross symbol on helicopters (with their prior mission to save lives) and would shoot them on site. But that happens during war.

Last edited by Nef Raven; 04-18-2010 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:36 PM
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Life is only a mess if you cannot balance your check book. As for other countries trying to destroy my nation, it's people, and it's heritage, I think we should stomp on the enemy with a massive hammer turning them into a bunch of flat pancakes ready for the skillet!


If they send bomb threats, burn them up like toast! ( This should only happen if they doubt the power that we have as a country.)

Last edited by Nef Raven; 04-18-2010 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:47 PM
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I also do not ever want to see our enemies even attempting to suck up our basic resources.

Yeah, call me selfish.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:09 PM
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Hold On

Hold on, this isn't about giving basic aid to terrorists, or about supporting a government which is at war with your own.

What about the millions who do not live in an 'enemy' country and who we know for a fact are dying due to a lack of basic support ?

In fact, even in the height of WW2, the West may have nuked a couple of cities but was anyone seriously advocating that every person in the Japanese nation should die ? I don't think so. Once the regime, with unacceptable political views was overthrown, the nation was rebuilt.

In fact, let's go further and say that every single person in need in the world loves you if they ever got the chance to know you. Depending on the individual there might be a large number who would...

They are in a different country / speak a different language / are not visible to you. It is obviously in your power to save 1 / 10 / 100 lives ? Yet, nothing happens...please defend yourself; I cannot see a moral defence...
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:28 PM
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Family shelters? What rich families are giving up their property to shelter the homeless? Because I personally think they deserve an enormous reward for being amazingly generous and concerned for the public's welfare. Surely we can get enough of the homeless, food, clothing, and shelter and maybe a little education so they can fend for themselves instead of aimlessly roaming the streets and sleeping on park benches.
maybe if we get enough of the people who have careers and an education to donate any family inheritance they may have in the future by filling out a form giving any future possessions and assets from their ancesters to the government to provide for the needy.Naturally we could assume that those kind of benevolent and generous people would not ever be coerced or placed under duressed conditions to sign such a document and they can build their homes elsewhere and forever forget any sentimentality about the property knowing that they placed the endowed inheritance into the hands of a reliable source like our government.

Thank you.
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