The life you can save

The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer. Picador. ISBN: 978033 045 4582 £14.99

On your way to work you pass an unaccompanied toddler, drowning in a shallow pond. ‘Wading in is safe and easy, but you will ruin your new shoes… get your suit wet and muddy… and be late for work.’ Practically everyone would agree that you have a moral duty to rescue the child, even at a significant cost to yourself. Suppose that, at an equivalent cost, through some body like Oxfam, you could save the life of a child you don’t know and have never seen, living in extreme poverty on the other side of the world, would you not, Peter Singer asks, have an equally compelling moral duty to do so?

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