The limits of moral responsibility for global poverty
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Most people, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, suffer and die from lack of food, shelter, and medical care, whereas other people in rich countries are extremely well-off. Because of the globalization process neither individuals nor governments can claim to be unaware of what is happening in the Third World. In this paper I defend the claim that, since we are living in a “global village”, we have greater moral responsibility for poverty. Thus, our moral responsibility is less limited than it usually seems to be. However, we do not have to be extremely impartial, which is recommended by utilitarianism (Garrett Hardin, Peter Singer), concentrating only on the consequences of action and its utility (agent-neutral evaluation). Yet, what we can include in our moral evaluation of poverty are human rights and an individual point of view, which are defended by Amartya Sen’s capability approach and Thomist framework (agent-relative evaluation).