As government mandated lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic affect a rising share of the global population, fewer will die of COVID-19, as well as other transmissible diseases. But how should we weigh those benefits against the costs of unemployment, social isolation, and widespread bankruptcies? By Peter Singer and Michael Plant.
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Results for Peter Singer
Tuesday 7 April 2020
Tuesday 3 March 2020
The apocalyptic images of the locked-down Chinese city of Wuhan have reached us all. The world is holding its breath over the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and governments are taking or preparing drastic measures that will necessarily sacrifice individual rights and freedoms for the general good. ...But few mention, let alone confront, the underlying cause of the epidemic. - Peter Singer.
Tuesday 7 January 2020
We can begin with the presumption that it is wrong to take human life. President Donald Trump won’t deny that. A year ago, for example, he said: “I will always defend the first right in our Declaration of Independence, the right to life.” Trump was addressing his remarks to anti-abortion campaigners, but a right to life that applies to fetuses must also apply to older humans. Is there an exception for “bad guys,” though? Was the double assassination at Baghdad International Airport ethically defensible? - Peter Singer
Wednesday 12 June 2019
There is no such thing as an own goal in rugby, but Rugby Australia, the game’s governing body in Australia, has done its very best to score one by terminating the contract of Israel Folau. In doing so, it has lost the services of a star fullback who has played 73 tests for Australia. ... But once we allow, as a ground for restricting someone’s freedom of speech or action, the claim that someone else has been offended by it, freedom is in grave danger of disappearing entirely. By Peter Singer
Tuesday 13 November 2018
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on October 2 has focused attention on the Saudi regime. And yet the strong response to Khashoggi’s brutal murder stands in stark contrast to the relative indifference the West has shown to the vastly larger number of victims of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. Saudi airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians, including children who died when school buses were bombed. Now those deaths are themselves heavily outnumbered by the toll of the widespread famine engulfing Yemen “much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen”. By Peter Singer.
Thursday 13 September 2018
Next month, a judge in Oregon will begin hearing a case brought against the United States government on behalf of 21 young people, supported by the non-profit organization Our Children’s Trust, who allege that the authorities’ active contributions to the climate crisis violate their constitutional rights. The government defendants have repeatedly tried – so far without success – to have the case thrown out or delayed, and the trial is currently scheduled to start on October 29. - Peter Singer.
Tuesday 14 August 2018
A group of leading economists recently criticized aid to the poor for failing to address poverty's root causes. But while we wait for politicians to act – and it could be a long wait – it is important to concentrate our spare resources on effective aid that helps poor people lead the best lives they can. By Peter Singer.
Monday 7 May 2018
From 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communists triumphed in China’s civil war, until the collapse of the Berlin Wall 40 years later, Karl Marx’s historical significance was unsurpassed. Nearly four of every ten people on earth lived under governments that claimed to be Marxist.... On the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth on May 5, 1818, it isn’t far-fetched to suggest that his predictions have been falsified, his theories discredited, and his ideas rendered obsolete. So why should we care about his legacy in the twenty-first century? By Peter Singer
Wednesday 13 December 2017
A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food. - Peter Singer.
Monday 17 July 2017
When Americans are asked what percentage of US government spending goes to foreign aid, the median answer is 25%. The correct answer is 1%. No wonder, then, that when President Donald Trump justifies cutting aid on the grounds that other countries need to step up because they are not paying their fair share, many people believe him. By Peter Singer.