World Poverty and Human Rights
Some 2.5 billion human beings live in severe poverty, deprived of such essentials as adequate nutrition, safe drinking water, basic sanitation, adequate shelter, literacy, and basic health care. One third of all human deaths are from poverty-related causes: 18 million annually, including over 10 million children under five.
However huge in human terms, the world poverty problem is tiny economically. Just 1 percent of the national incomes of the high-income countries would suffice to end severe poverty worldwide. Yet, these countries, unwilling to bear an opportunity cost of this magnitude, continue to impose a grievously unjust global institutional order that foreseeably and avoidably perpetuates the catastrophe. Most citizens of affluent countries believe that we are doing nothing wrong.
Thomas Pogge seeks to explain how this belief is sustained. He analyses how our moral and economic theorizing and our global economic order have adapted to make us appear disconnected from massive poverty abroad. Dispelling the illusion, he also offers a modest, widely sharable standard of global economic justice and makes detailed, realistic proposals toward fulfilling it.
Thoroughly updated, the second edition of this classic book incorporates responses to critics and a new chapter introducing Pogge's current work on pharmaceutical patent reform.
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A must-read book for any person alive today. Pogge carefully articulates the (empirical and philosophical) reasons why those living in the developed world are complicit in a global system that keeps over a billion people in extreme poverty. Each citizen in a developed country thus has a responsibility to not contribute to an unjust system which causes deaths of over 18 million annually. We must at the very least act in ways so as to restore those harmed by such system to a position where they would have been without such system.
This book blew my mind every few pages. It is full of insight, amazing analogies that help you understand the faults in others' reasoning about the issue, and solutions to the predicament we all share and sadly perpetuate.
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