June 2005

Improving the World vs Improving my Country

I'm pretty sure that Singer is right that both reasonably well off individuals in the developed and developing world and the governments of the developed world could and should do a lot more to help ameliorate global poverty. I'm not sure that I agree that well off individuals in the developed world directly owe it to individuals in the less developed world to donate money to various charitable organizations. Being a good thing to do and being obligatory or a matter of duty are two different things.

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Negotiating Identities: The Crash Solution

I want to try to dig a little deeper in this post into a question that kind of simmered beneath the surface of our discussion, but wasn't really addressed head on. The issue has a little bit to do with identities that are regarded by those who adopt them as in some ways "non-negotiable" and as more or less direct sources of directives about how to live one's own life, and a source of directives about how to live one's life in relation to others who don't share one's identity and may even be hostile to it in some ways.

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Intergenerational Obligations and the Rope of Lives

Yesterday on the show, John came up with a really nice metaphor. He compared a generation to a small strand in a long rope. Each strand is closely intertwined with a number of other nearby strands, but mostly the strands don’t make direct contact with each other. If you think of the rope as growing over time, the metaphor captures a very nice fact about relationships among the generations.

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