Peter Singer responds to Angus Deaton op-ed in the New York Times

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018

 Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values, wrote a letter in response to the op-ed “America’s Deep Poverty Problem.” The op-ed was written by Angus Deaton, professor of economics and international affairs emeritus at Princeton University.  

Singer contends that while extreme poverty exists in the United States, and there is certainly much to be done to help those in need, one should consider "the relative cost of making a major difference to the well-being of people in poverty in the United States versus in developing countries."

He goes on to say that organizations in developing countries "can protect a child against malaria at a cost of $4, or restore sight in someone who is blind because of cataracts for something like $100." Singer believes these small sums can make a comparable difference to the lives of the poor in developing countries, whereas the same amount in the United States has a less substantial impact, and ultimately helps fewer people.