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Are we ever justified in buying luxuries?
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30 / M / US
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Posted 2/14/07 , edited 2/14/07
Famous article, "The Singer Solution to World Poverty", http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/19990905.htm

Basically sums it up: "In the world as it is now, I can see no escape from the conclusion that each one of us with wealth surplus to his or her essential needs should be giving most of it to help people suffering from poverty so dire as to be life-threatening. That's right: I'm saying that you shouldn't buy that new car, take that cruise, redecorate the house or get that pricey new suit. After all, a $1,000 suit could save five children's lives."

I admit, I find it hard to come to morally solid ground that one should buy that big screen t.v. rather then give the money to the worlds poor. How can one escape the guilt while living as one wishes? It seems our personal ambitions are thus in tension with living an fully ethical life.

Another article on this idea: http://faculty.smu.edu/jkazez/articles/Howgood.htm
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30 / M / San Francisco, CA
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Posted 2/14/07
^ yeah I basically have to work all the time to even begin to afford some of the cool things of today....unfortunately just like xrn I think that my hard earned money will be not used for "starving children". Sorry...
Posted 2/14/07
First off I agree with Xrn_the_Nigma. Unless I am stinking rich like Gates I'm not gonna go off giving off hard earned money like that. To me my family and my life comes first. (Gates donates a lot of money to the AIDS research cure lab.....and till date, no cure). If My life was set and I had money to throw away I would of course give money to the homeless and those in need.( And off course donate a couple hundreds to Crunchyroll )

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28 / M / VanCity, World.
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Posted 2/14/07
Usually i just give homeless people food because you never know what they would get with money... Its good to give once in a while too! But you don't need to give everything you have... My family is supporting this one kid in Africa, for schooling and everything. We donate like 30 bucks a month... But don't they take like money off of that 30 to actually get it to the child and support him... ah its messed up. I don't feel that guilty for buying things... but you gotta give once in a while!
Posted 2/14/07

pinoyeiny wrote:

Usually i just give homeless people food because you never know what they would get with money... Its good to give once in a while too! But you don't need to give everything you have... My family is supporting this one kid in Africa, for schooling and everything. We donate like 30 bucks a month... But don't they take like money off of that 30 to actually get it to the child and support him... ah its messed up. I don't feel that guilty for buying things... but you gotta give once in a while!


yeah, If i personally donate something, I would prefer to hand them the items they need. (Instead of just reallying on a company to deliver the money and all that).

Also it's not bad to reward yourself once in a while.

Diamonds on my neck? I don't feel guilty....

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Posted 2/14/07
Ugh. I hate brats who take pictures of their jewlery and shoes and shit, seeing as those items are completely pointless and they probably didn't even work a day in their lives for 'em.
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Posted 2/14/07
I must have a spidey sense like azrael's, because something told me a good thread might pop up today

First of all, let's put on the table the four domains of Morality:

1. Actions, the act (which is mainly of what my post is about)
Evaluative terms : right, wrong, permissible ***
2. Consequences
Evaluative terms : Good, bad, indifferent
3. Character
Evaluative terms : Virtuous, vicious
4. Motive
Evaluative terms : Good will, evil (bad) will
--------------------------
*** Right act: is an act that is obligatory for you to do. It's your duty. It's not permissible to refrain from doing it
*** wrong act: obviously, an act that you are forbidden to do.
*** permissible act: act that is neither right or wrong to do. It is neither obligatory nor forbidden.

Within permissible acts, there are many notions, two of them are the notions of supererogatory and infraerogatory acts, which are not morally required.
Supererogatory or highly altruistic, are acts that are not required, not obligatory, but they are morally good. They challenge us to go beyond our moral duties, and while you may have an obligation to help people in need, you are certainly not obliged for example, to sell your car, avoid buying certain luxuries, or become destitute, in order to help them.
Eros, I feel the same way as you, and I admire people who make sacrifices for others, and I try to do supererogatory acts as much as possible, that's why I want to become a doctor and help kids with vision problems. My ultimate goal would be to go back to my country and help people that live in poor areas, just like my grandfather did. But supererogatory acts are not exactly moral duties.

oh and infrareogatory acts are those which are morally permissible but below the standard of ideal morality. (oversleeping, spending too much time watching tv or *cough* hanging out on CR *cough*

theories that focus on the nature of the act are mostly the deontological ones, utilitarianism, and egoism focus on consequence, virtue ethics on character, and virtually all ethical systems, but especially Kant's focus on motive.
AOH
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Posted 2/14/07
Yuuup. We are all naturally selfish. I give ,y money away to the homeless if I see them. I don't have a job but I got alot of money saved up from over the years. But in my eyes, family and my life are first.
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Posted 2/14/07
Buying luxurious something for myself is a gift of my labor. I worked hard inorder to buy whatever i want. It is not easy as ABC to just give away your money to poor people that you don't even know. It's selfish - but i'm hypocrite if i do that. I am not that rich to throw away money - Me alone can not change the world - a dollar to a beggar is helpful but giving you guilts for buying something to your self - as it is luxury - isn't fair too. We buy cos we do things to have them.
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Posted 2/14/07

AOH wrote:

Yuuup. We are all naturally selfish. I give ,y money away to the homeless if I see them. I don't have a job but I got alot of money saved up from over the years. But in my eyes, family and my life are first.


speak for yourself. <_<
If you said that based on my post, you missed the point; if not, nevermind

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29 / M / Pennsylvania
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Posted 2/14/07
I dont make much being a full time college student with a part time job. I try to spend as little as possible, saving up for things like books and tuition. However, I do try to give to charity's that the store I work at runs.
Posted 2/14/07

Magikwok wrote:

Ugh. I hate brats who take pictures of their jewlery and shoes and shit, seeing as those items are completely pointless and they probably didn't even work a day in their lives for 'em.


I'm not a brat. I don't take a lot of pictures of things I own. ( Only one pic, the one you just saw ). I do some actual work to buy stuff I want as my mother works hard enough as she does.

You know nothing about me. You judge me for 1 post. I'm actually quiet mature.

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35 / F / By the water
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Posted 2/14/07
Sure, it is easy to justify anything, should you justify everything, no. Not all acts, or actions are justifiable.

Technically, you are not hurting anyone if you buy that brand new t.v., or dvd, or BMW, lexus, etc. It is hard to reconcile the fact that just because you can do that, does not mean you should upgrade yourself like a damn computer because of what ever status reason that you may hold.

When people reach certain stages in their life, and become busy with their career or family, the lose sight of the big picture, and are focused on their immediate surroundings. You know, Husband, Wife, 2.5 children, and a dog, a mortgage, car payments, cost of living, stress of work, stress of relationships, and having the time to do it all. Most people like rewards for doing all of their hard work and say, "why not, I work hard all of the time, love my kids, and only think about cheating on my wife/husband, lets get that fancy new car/tv/house, etc...". Sure, you may feel guilty that you do not help those who are in need, and starving to death every few seconds of the day, but ultimately a lot of peoples personal needs overshadow those who are "unknown".

I am lucky in the fact that my father is laying the ground work for me. He has done well here in American and wants to give back to his native country of Peru. Fundacion Puma is up and running in it's infancy, and we strive to make it better and more far reaching. The things that my father and I are trying to build today with all of that great American capital will ultimately go to support the foundation that my father has set up. We have the means and have the desire to give back. Not everyone can, but we can, and we will.
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30 / M / US
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Posted 2/14/07
A few things that are safe to say.
1) DON"T GIVE BUMS CASH, give them food coupons or the like.
2) The U.S. Should be giving much more then it does. "We know, too, that at least in the next year, the United States Government is not going to meet even the very modest United Nations-recommended target of 0.7 percent of gross national product; at the moment it lags far below that, at 0.09 percent, not even half of Japan's 0.22 percent or a tenth of Denmark's 0.97 percent."
3) Several of you typed something along the lines of, "I don't have that kind of money to give away." I suspect many of you, living in developed countries, are rather well off compared to the worlds population.

I think a key question is, "Can negative events be causes?" In other words,
'negative event' means these sorts of things: abstaining from acting; failing to act;
neglecting to see, hear, or do something; etc.

Damn I'm sick, I'm going back to bed.
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Posted 2/14/07
This question doesn't apply to me, at least I don't think so. The most 'luxurious' thing I ever bought was probably my computer, but even that had a service function, specifically school. I am not privy to splurging. I have a few pairs of pants and sweaters, a couple t-shirts, a tv, some exercise equipment, a microwave, a bed... I could go on, but I live off of pretty simple stuff.

However, I believe that I owe the millions around the world who live on under $2 a day something. That when I do buy some extravagence, my reasons to do so are based off of need rather than want, and that my choice is well thought out. These disenfranchised people live these lives as a result of the disproportianality of capitalism. I am so fortunate to live in North America, and it would be a sin of omission to even wipe my mind of the trade-off benefits capitalism has brought western society at the expence of Africa, Latin America, etc.
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