by Peter Singer
published by Random House
© 2009 by Peter Singer
Click on image to purchase.
From Publishers Weekly
Part plea, part manifesto, part handbook, this short and surprisingly
compelling book sets out to answer two difficult questions: why people
in affluent countries should donate money to fight global poverty and
how much each should give. Singer (Animal Liberation) dismantles the
justifications people make for not giving and highlights the successes
of such efforts as microfinance in Bangladesh, GiveWells charitable
giving and the 50% League, where members donate more than half their
wealth. Singer alternately cajoles and scolds: he pillories Microsoft
cofounder Paul Allen, who has given less than his former partner, Bill
Gates, and lives far more extravagantly: His toys include a large collection
of vintage military aircraft and a 413-foot oceangoing yacht called
Octopus that cost him over $200 million and has a permanent crew of
sixty. Singer contrasts Allens immoderation with the work of Paul Farmer
(a cofounder of the international social justice organization Partners
in Health) and the cost of basic health services in Haiti ($3,500 per
life saved), or malaria nets ($623–$2,367 per life saved). Singer
doesnt ask readers to choose between asceticism and self-indulgence;
his solution can be found in the middle, and it is reasonable and rewarding
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