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Are we ever justified in buying luxuries?
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27 / Martian / Estonia
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Posted 2/16/07
Well i don´t find any need in justifying said transaction, since we live in a capitalist time and most people are liberals, they should not feel guilt when buying something that they earned , indeed it is sad to watch the pictures and conditions that many people around the world are suffering from, but you must understand that giving them wealth is not the solution, as the old saying goes:"Give a man a fish and he will be fed for the day, teach him to fish and he will never go hungry." you have to go at said problems from that angle.

It will not hurt the people in poverty if you buy a luxurious product, it will probably help some poor factory worker though, as in not shutting down the factory he/she will go on living and working if you give all your money away you will become the "poor" person who needs someone to help them ,and is it not communism where everyone has to be equal and stuff, communism failed so learn from it.

Things that do hurt the starving/poverty ridden people are things like the third world dept , you can´t justify it in any way, and its really hurting the "third world" countries. So if you can do something about that then you can help them.

Conclusion: Don´t feel bad if you buy a luxurious product, if you have earnedit with work.

( :
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22 / F
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Posted 2/16/07
all.. i have to say is.. money isn't the only way to help poor.. you have to spend time with them so you would understand their situation and maybe you wouldn't find it hard to sacrifice what you worked hard for..
556
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31 / M
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Posted 2/16/07
To the question in the OP: You want me to answer how you escape guilt? Perhaps you do that by recognizing you have no reason to be guilty. Why buy a TV instead of giving the money to someone else? Do it because you worked to earn that money and they did not. There's a huge difference from earning money froma 9-5 and stealing money from someone else.

You call my post vague but I'm attacking the heart of the matter. A large chunk of the article you posted is quoted from "Living High and Letting Die" by Unger. I'd suggest you read it. It's short and easy to follow. You'll probably buy into it.

Both Singer and Unger try to get their audience to believe that our obligations to the needy are far greater than we may initially think. They do this by taking two situations side by side where your average person would be inclined to give to one group (or person) and not the other, then take the reasons that seem to cause us to act differently, and prove that those reasons have no moral significance. One can argue that they do this successfully, but when they apply this to what someone should actually do, or what one should give, they neglect to give a real arguement. They say "If you wouldn't do this, you're a bad person" but don't give a reason why.
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27 / Martian / Estonia
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Posted 2/16/07
I agree with 556.

The way Singer puts it is just really one-sided, you cant start giving your earnings away, economy is just not built on that, it just cant work, ofcourse you can make small contributions but to the extent of refusing to buy something out of guilt is just bulls#it, you earned it so its yours, end of story.
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31 / F
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Posted 2/16/07
luxury items the $1000 suit that could save 5 children's lives seems a bit excessive for a work attire, but think about all those truly wealth ppl and their spoiled children that excessively waste money they really are wasting away $ that could be spent elsewhere...
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M / Philippines
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Posted 2/16/07
sometimes we have to help other people..but they need to stand with their own feet.
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77 / F / メリランド
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Posted 2/16/07
I think people shouldn't waste money and giving your hard earned money to a company that's probably not gonna use it the way you want isn't going to help. Sure helping people is fine, but giving away money isn't the way. Money is universal and anyone in a position to use the money can just take it and use it. Instead of money, you should try and donate clothes or food. I don't think people in a third-world country are going to be able to use a dollar. But they will be able to use clothes and food.
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30 / M / US
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Posted 2/16/07
Well, one thing I find interesting is that the people who disagree with myself and mauz don't put it bluntly. Well, I'll say it for you, you would rather spend, say, $1000 of your own money on something rather unnecessary for yourself than spend it to relive human suffering. How can you come out of this not seeming like an ass? If I were on the other side I would sure as hell want people to be more charitable to at least get me to a decent position where I'm not malnourished or very fearful of malaria, aids, etc. Lack empathy?

Look my main concern is just how far should we go? Where should we draw the line between our ambitions and helping others? "According to the Urban Institute, Americans devote about 2 percent of their after-tax income each year to charitable donations." I draw the line much farther towards others then most people it seems, yet I would consider myself selfish (in that I'm concerned about myself first and foremost).
556
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31 / M
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Posted 2/16/07

Eros wrote:

Well, one thing I find interesting is that the people who disagree with myself and mauz don't put it bluntly. Well, I'll say it for you, you would rather spend, say, $1000 of your own money on something rather unnecessary for yourself than spend it to relive human suffering. How can you come out of this not seeming like an ass? If I were on the other side I would sure as hell want people to be more charitable to at least get me to a decent position where I'm not malnourished or very fearful of malaria, aids, etc. Lack empathy?


Yeah. I'd rather buy the TV than help people, and have no problems with it. So would most people.

Their situation sucks, and that's too bad, but I'm not at fault. It might be nice of me to help the unfortunate (sometimes I do), but there's no obligation.
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27 / Martian / Estonia
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Posted 2/16/07
Well Eros ill put it bluntly, i disagree.

If you cant save them all, then what the hell are you gonna say to the ones that you did not help, "ohh sorry i helped your brother so i cant help you, go suffer in a corner over there while i feel good because i did some charity."?

Things like STD-s in African countries are spreading like a plague. Why? Because one one side they have these health workers who pass around condoms , aying they are important and whatnot, and on the other side you have Priests telling them not to use condoms for it will cause them strife with their god, now which one do you think they will side with? The point is that, for the most part, the problems that these countries have, is that they are uneducated.
And as i previously said, its OK to do charity work and all that but there are things that you as a person have to do for yourself, if you have dreams, you got to follow them. Its not that i lack empathy, its more like if i don´t look out for myself first ,whose going to?

Giving 1000$ is very charitable indeed, but you come off as some rich bastard like that. That kind of money is a months work to someone living where i live, 1,2 months even.
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28 / M / currently residin...
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Posted 2/16/07
i think that helpin those in need is somethin that is defenetely the job of those that have.. but i say it depends on who u give the help to cuz no offense or nothin but i believe that there is no excuse to b a bum here in the US or in other countrys where the economy is as it is here.. i mean the government helps out and there are jobs everywhere so if u dont take advantage the fault is on u.. but there are a lot of pplz in need in other third world countries like in africa or latin america where there is real neccesity.. and i noe that its hard not buyin that new cell phone or ipod that comes out cuz its hard for me too.. but we shud try n help pplz like that because reality is whoever lives here is blessed
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30 / M / US
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Posted 2/16/07
lol... By all means if your barely making it by, then your not expected to give.

Well, I think we have gotten somewhere at least. It is "nice" to help even if it is not a responsibility. Or duty. Or obligation. Tricky words.

But, it seems you have not thrown morality out the window totally. We both seem to value doing the right thing, but disagree where the responsibility falls. It seems I put some responsibility on negative events, that is, failing to act. What about a more normal causation? If you were on a game show and had the choice between saving 5 people from death or $1000, what would you pick. No need to answer.

So, what is diffrent about the cases? A bit more control is all I can come up with quickly. Control, to my mind, comes on a scale though, less to more. So sure, there is more responsibility as one has more control. A standard ethical axiom is that one is not responsible if they could not have done otherwise. So, I suggest, there is some responsibility if someone has even a little bit of control.
Posted 2/16/07
When I look at the money I will spend on education over the next couple years, I fully understand how fortunate I am that I can dream of scraping by.

The truth about blood gifts and mantles is that no one ever does anything to deserve being born into them. Great gifts do not come with any rhyme or reason, and there is nothing we can do to deserve good luck. In my heart, I can never give enough.

Before you freak out, I am no one's babie's-daddy. But I have a kid in Tabaco, Philipines named Eric whose education I will sponsor for the next eight years. When I start worrying about whether or not I'll make it, I kick my butt into gear because if I fall, he'll fall. I know it sounds stupid, but I don't mind working a couple extra hours a week to give him something he didn't get from his blood; a couple hours on my side allows him to dream a little.
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77 / F / in the club
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Posted 2/16/07
What makes a person to do an act is within his heart. If you want to do charity, it doesn't mean you're doing it cos of sympathy – some are actually up to something. However, i bow my head to those people who are 'really' willing to help – which are only few in the world.

I want to help especially to children. It always breaks my heart everytime i see children running around the street asking money for their living. Many times, i blame their parents - and if only i can help them financially, i will; but it's not an obligation.

Who will ask the waiter to pack their leftovers – if plenty of it will be wasted- in a restaurant? I do – laugh at me cos yes i am – and i gave it to the children outside helplessly sitting in the corner – waiting for someone to give them something to eat cos they're starving.
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Posted 2/16/07
I've done community service at a homeless shelter once. O___O Really changes how you view homeless people. I think its a pretty cool thing to spare some change to a person in need. Most charities you 'donate' to, take a huge chunk out of what you give. So I don't believe in most of them.
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