Well-known philosopher Peter Singer has a new book coming out next month titled The Life You Can Save: Acting Now To End World Poverty. He wants everyone to feel morally obligated to donate at least five percent of their income to promoting global poverty reduction. You can read an excerpt here. The book cites Jeff Sachs early to argue that extreme poverty could be “virtually eliminated” within a few decades.
While I am glad to see Singer make a strong case that developed country citizens ought to be more concerned with global poverty, I suspect that I will find the book frustrating on the whole. I am uncomfortable with those who think that economic development is impeded more by a lack of appropriate motivation than a lack of appropriate knowledge and incentives. Given the emphasis of the book’s introduction, I suspect that Peter Singer will be due some grief from Bill Easterly.