Extreme Poverty and Morality – Moral Participation

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In this post, I’m sharing one of my (expanded) undergraduate papers on applied ethics concerning John Arthur’s response to Peter Singer’s controversial paper, “Famine, affluence, and morality.” Basically, this is an essay about the poor in the world and our moral relation to them. In this paper, I have criticized Arthur and Singer regarding international aid and moral responsibility. What is the relation between poverty and morality?

Please note that the following essay mostly defends a positive argument and does not engage with counterarguments so much. I think I will further develop my argument in the future by rebutting counterarguments to this essay.

Extreme Poverty and Morality – Moral Participation

Introduction:

In the dialogue between John Arthur and Peter Singer, there is a common ground: the moral equality of all human beings. Singer, a preference utilitarian, posits that everyone deserves equal consideration regarding interests, happiness, and well-being. While the goal of utilitarianism is to maximize utility in the world, the aim must not be for the sake of utility since utility can only predicate a living entity. Thus, in a charitable view, the utilitarian goal can justify and necessitate the protection of individual rights and liberties, not as mere ancillaries but as integral aspects that prevent the reduction of persons to mere means for utility’s sake. 1

Arthur, while diverging in approach, echoes the theme of moral equality. He emphasized the rights and deserts of individuals, advocating that these rights, born from respect for human freedom, and deserts, originating from fair acquisition and possession, are critical. Arthur acknowledges the moral imperative to aid those in need but contends that the precedence of rights and deserts often tempers this obligation. This stance does not render entitlements absolute, as some libertarian views might. Instead, it offers them significant factors that can sometimes supersede the moral call to aid distant strangers.

Singer and Arthur’s conceptions of moral equality reveal distinct focuses. Singer’s utilitarian ethics leads him to advocate for redistributing excess resources from the affluent to those in need, underlining the equal worth of human well-being. In contrast, Arthur’s emphasis on rights and deserts adds a different layer, considering human needs alongside these entitlements. However, both conceptions of moral equality are missing a crucial ingredient due to their respective understanding of deserts concerning the moral status of persons. While Singer underestimates the role of deserts, Arthur overestimates it. In “What Is the Point of Equality?” Elizabeth Anderson argues that true equality is not merely about equal distribution of resources or welfare but about fostering equal moral relations. This perspective suggests that Singer and Arthur, despite their shared premise on the moral equality of humans, need to fully address the complexities of moral standing among individuals in their respective frameworks.2

In this paper, I will criticize Arthurs’ position on deserts and only briefly discuss how Singer’s position is problematic in section four.3 In section one, I will expound on the concept of desert and its desert-basis for bad brute luck cases of famine sufferers, setting the stage for the thesis defense. In section two, I will begin defending my thesis: Affluent individuals cannot legitimately exercise their desert claims to withhold international relief because doing so fails to respect famine sufferers as moral equals. The argument will be a two-premise to conclusion deduction. In the same section, I will defend the first premise and its sub-premises. In section three, I will apply my argument to criticize Arthur’s claims about his notion of desert and defend the second premise and the inference from the premise to the conclusion. In this paper, I will not have room to discuss the role of the right to non-interference; nevertheless, the discussion of desert aims to disarm libertarian-leaning views on deserts and rights against humanitarian aid.4 The implication of the conclusion is the following: Since we fail to treat some famine sufferers as moral equals, we ought to restore their ability to participate in the moral principles of deserts; some form of international aid is necessary to restore people’s ‘narrow autonomy.’5 I define autonomy narrowly in the context of this paper; it is the ability to pursue resources necessary for survival and well-being.

Preview of the deductive argument in section two:

  • P1: Moral principles apply to all morally equal persons. 
    • P1’: Desert claims are moral principles.  
    • P1’’: Famine sufferers are morally equal persons.
  • P2: Some famine sufferers cannot exercise dessert claims.
  • C: We fail to treat some famine sufferers as moral equals when excluded from the moral concept of desert.

Section 1: Concept of Desert 

Here, I will briefly sketch some relevant concepts of the desert; however, my argument does not hinge on the precise account of the desert as long as I can maintain that desert is a significant moral concept.

In Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, Amartya Sen distinguishes between poverty in an absolute and relative sense.6 I am speaking of absolute poverty in this paper. Another distinction I must make is between deserts and entitlements. Desert is a pre-institutional moral concept, while entitlements are established through some institutional or social norms. My interest here is in deserts, not entitlements. Most simply, a desert has a desert basis. In other words, one has a reason to deserve something.7 Moreover, deserts can be positive, negative, or neutral. Crudely, a good Samaritan deserves satisfaction, rule-breaking businesses deserve a fine, and a mediocre restaurant crew deserves a mediocre tip. 

As Scanlon claims, in a desert-based perspective on distributive justice, the suitability of certain economic rewards is contingent on the extent to which individuals or their actions fulfill specific criteria of merit.8 People in extreme poverty, for instance, someone facing starvation, seem to lack a clear desert basis for a variety of resources. Exam-like desert-basis, where their knowledge or skill is the desert-basis and the desert is the fitting exam score, does not apply to famine sufferers. Nor can we (nor should we) systematically identify why famine sufferers warrant a negative desert of famine. Assessing the legitimate needs of those in extreme poverty through the desert with respect to merit alone becomes problematic.

A humanitarian may claim that the status of humans is the desert basis.9 However, aligning with Arthur’s view, simply being a human does not become a desert basis for someone else’s properties. Excellent moral character may warrant positive attitudes from others but not properties.10 Additionally, I do not seem to deserve my neighbor’s food in the refrigerator whenever I want. The common humanity alone cannot be a basis for redistribution; there must be an additional condition. Another may argue that compassion is the desert-basis of a neutral kind; however, this depends on the compassion felt by others. While compassion is intuitively an apt response, the moral concept will become contingent (in addition to contingency, it may even conflict among communities) depending on human emotional attitudes. Suppose there is a world where persons feel little to no compassion toward sufferers. We may still demand that they ought to assist others in need in some circumstances on a rational basis, independent of attitudes. If the demand should be made on those who do not feel compassion, compassion cannot be a desert base, or at least, there must be something additional to compassion. Now, one must explain why persons in absolute need deserve assistance and where it derives its normative force.  I shall turn to this desideratum. 

Section 2: Argument From Moral Equality

I have the following argument: 

  • P1: Moral principles apply to all morally equal persons. 
    • P1’: Desert claims are moral principles.  
    • P1’’: Famine sufferers are morally equal persons.
  • P2: Some famine sufferers cannot exercise dessert claims.
  • C: We fail to treat some famine sufferers as moral equals when excluded from the moral concept of desert.

First, I will define the “exercise of desert claim” in famine relief as the ability to withhold aid by appealing to the right to hold onto the fruit of labor. For instance, one has the right to spend after-tax income of one’s choosing. However, the desert claim is not absolute; for instance, young children seem to have a right to their parents’ disposable income in terms of childcare. Countervailing reasons can overcome its normative force; nevertheless, desert claims have normative force for one to keep their possessions.

The premise, P1, can be formulated as ‘like cases should have like treatments’, and I will assume the truth of this premise. Concerning P1’, while I reject that deserts account for the entire story of justice, deserts have been closely linked to justice and morality. For instance, Aristotle, Leibniz, Mill, and others have held a desert-based theory of justice.11 Various forms of retributivism refer to desert to justify and assess the weight of punishment. Furthermore, deserts are not properties that somebody has by accident; some person acquires deserts because of their choices.12 Beyond fairness and responsibility, desert claims entail respect for individual autonomy and dignity. Acknowledging that people’s actions and characters can warrant specific outcomes, these claims recognize individuals as moral agents capable of impacting lives. Moreover, Carritt, in Ethical and Political Thinking, provides the following intuition against a basic form of consequentialism by appealing to desert:

…if some kind of very cruel crime becomes common, and none of the criminals can be caught, it might be highly expedient, as an example, to hang an innocent man, if a charge against him could be so framed that he [was] universally thought guilty… 13

Murdering an innocent person who does not deserve death in order to benefit society is intuitively jarring, giving us good reason to believe in the normative force of the desert. Desert, thus, touches on normative ideas of fairness, respect, and social responsibilities. 

14Moreover, on P1’, one can either accept some version of the desert claim as a moral principle or reject it. Nonetheless, they face a dilemma. If they deny the desert concept, there is less rationale for others or the government to honor your desert claims. On the other hand, if there is a desert concept, all humans must participate in the concept in order to express the commitment of equal moral standing. The first horn of the dilemma fails to capture our empirical behavior about deserts; the advocate of the first horn must explain the desert talk in our lives. Even if one takes the first horn, it strengthens the argument for transferring resources from the affluent to those in need because one loses normative reasons to keep its fruit of labor. Either choice favors international aid, yet the latter horn is more intuitively and empirically appealing. Therefore, taking the second us commits us to hold that excluding another from moral participation is treating them as inferior. Concerning P1’’, rejection of this premise requires a compelling explanation by the rejector.

In the following section, I will argue for P2 to yield the above conclusion. The implication of the conclusion is the following: Since we fail to treat some famine sufferers as moral equals, we ought to restore their ability to participate in the moral principles of deserts; some form of international aid is necessary to restore people’s ‘narrow autonomy.’ 15

Section 3: Arthur On Desert 

In response to Singer in “World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case Against Singer,” Arthur accuses Singer of neglecting the role of entitlements (negative rights and deserts). Arthur believes entitlement grounded in justice, fairness, and respect are morally comparable factors. In other words, he claims that Singer forgot to consider one’s right not to be subjected to an action of another person and the right to hold on to one’s fruit of labor. Therefore, he claims that we ought to weigh the value of entitlements against our moral code to help people in severe need. While I agree with Arthur’s assessment of Singer’s position, he overstates the weight of entitlements and misses the relevant difference between people in affluent nations and others experiencing starvation. 

To illustrate a point regarding the desert, Arthur compares an industrious farmer to an irresponsible neighbor. He questions whether the farmer must feed the neighbor who spent his time fishing for pleasure the entire summer. Still, the farmer’s response can be different if the neighbor is physically incapable of work due to a recent injury that requires long-term recovery. After depleting his savings, the neighbor has nothing to eat and is incapable of labor due to the accident. In this case, it seems unfair to ignore the neighbor’s needs. At least some, perhaps most, famine sufferers are in a similar circumstance to the neighbor with a severe injury. Therefore, the comparison is inappropriate for bad brute luck cases.16

Now I defend P2: Some famine sufferers cannot exercise desert. Contra Arthur, some famine sufferers do not retain sufficient autonomy to pursue and obtain resources. Beyond suffering, persons enduring famine, starvation, or war do not possess the means to labor. Some may need more nutrition or internal energy to endeavor; others may not have access to meaningful economic activities; another may require medical attention before participating in productive activities. Some arbitrarily are born into resources-rich areas, but another is born into barren land with low to no natural productive assets. In other words, many cannot become autonomous persons who can plan and acquire the fruit of their labor (including due to the absence of productive opportunities). It is a truism for children under a certain age – they lack the autonomy to participate in the moral concept of desert. Hence, they require external assistance to develop into autonomous beings.17 However, Arthur’s argument assumes that people in need have the capacity and the opportunity to pursue and obtain resources. 

The demand for restoring autonomy requires the farmer to provide a minimum amount of food to his irresponsible neighbor. In response, Arthur would raise the freeriding problem, claiming that the farmer must unfairly subsidize his neighbor. Still, the respect must be mutual; the neighbor may not repeat his behavior since he interferes with the farmer’s autonomy, and malicious intent or carelessness may require intervention. For instance, the community may use legitimate coercive means to prevent free riders, yet I acknowledge that interventions are convoluted on a societal scale. Furthermore, since the weight of the freeriding problem rests on empirical data, I may counter with an empirical observation. People strive beyond necessities. While the free rider may receive necessities, he will not have any comfort. If he desires more, he must work since there is no moral duty to assist in providing beyond necessities in this framework. Thus, the freeriding problem is not a sufficient reason to deny people from participating in the desert scheme since we can solve the problem without contradicting mutual moral respect.  

Arthur claims that concern for fairness, justice, and equality grounds deserts. Nevertheless, if the concept of desert is a matter of justice, equal persons must be able to participate in the moral concept. In addition, the ability to participate in desert acquisition concerns human autonomy, and restoring or fostering autonomy must entail human respect. Therefore, the exercise of desert claims cannot be held against persons lacking autonomy and opportunities to participate in the concept of desert.

Section 4: Why Singer’s Position is Problematic:

In his paper, “Famine, affluence, and morality,” Singer invites us to compare a child drowning in a shallow pond and people losing their lives in East Bengal due to a lack of food, shelter, or medical care. He introduces a moral principle in the following way (Arthur calls it the greater moral evil rule): If we can prevent something bad from happening without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we morally ought to do it.18 Since the only expense in the drowning boy example is dirtying one’s clothes, Singer concludes that we must have a moral duty to save the child. In parallel, he states that the cost of saving someone in famine is insignificant because it only costs a few dollars through an online donation. After addressing some relevant differences, Singer concludes that there is no moral difference between the drowning child and the dying person in East Bengal; if morality requires us to treat like cases alike regarding equal humans, one must treat the two instances equally, so he argues.19 According to Singer, most of the wealth of affluent nations is not morally comparable to human life. His point is intuitively attractive because our common sense tells us that lives are more important than luxury or excess resources. Accepting his argument would morally require affluent members of the nations to donate significantly. In fact, Singer admits that his proposal requires reducing everyone to the level of marginal utility.20 The problem lies in the excess redistribution of resources without regard to human respect. His theory undermines aid recipients because they do not need resources beyond what is necessary to restore their autonomy.

Anderson describes the misconception of egalitarian aim as follows: “[P]eople lay claim to the resources of egalitarian redistribution in virtue of their inferiority to others, not in virtue of their equality to others.”21 Singer falls into the same misconception, implicitly creating a moral hierarchy and treating the recipient of international aid with pity, not respect or compassion.22 Embedding a moral duty to alleviate suffering beyond the restoration of ‘narrow autonomy’ does not express compassion but a systematic moral hierarchy, a paternalistic one, created by arbitrary, contingent factors. Moreover, while attempting to optimize utility and treat every person’s utility equally, Singer disregards the plurality of human ends and one’s desire to build one’s life as one sees fit.  Even on preference utilitarian grounds, respect, entrenched with personal interest, must affect utility; nevertheless, Singer fails to consider those moral factors.23 Singer’s revised account must consider famine sufferers’ preference; however, in doing so, he must revise the greater moral evil rule he employs in arguing for his position on excessive resource redistribution.

While there is a case to save the drowning child and famine sufferers in East Bengal, it does not imply that we must transfer resources until the level of marginal utility. Equal moral respect aligns with supporting one’s autonomy, but an excess transfer of resources is unnecessary. In addition, it is common to feel indignant about an offer of undesired charity grounded on a belied version of fairness and respect. Therefore, the consequences and attitude of Singer’s position on international aid are deeply troubling. Finally, if the P1’ (desert is a moral concept) is true, any theory must account for it.

Conclusion of Extreme Poverty and Morality – Moral Participation

Since this is a short paper, I have not addressed negative rights, such as the right to noninterference. Nonetheless, I insist that the right to noninterference is insufficient to justify withholding international aid from people in extreme poverty because doing so treats famine sufferers as inferior, which is a moral harm that demands a positive duty to restore the autonomy of sufferers. I must further defend this point on another occasion.

By restoring autonomy in reference to moral equality, we may deny Singer’s focus on minimizing suffering and maximizing well-being because suffering does not imply incapacity. After the restoration of autonomy, one does not require assistance; any additional moral demand would be considered pity from unnecessary, paternalistic duty. Of course, reduction of suffering matters, but a reduction of suffering beyond the restoration of autonomy may be characterized as moral aspiration instead of duty. For instance, morality will demand a village to raise a guardian-less infant, but it will not require charity for a healthy adult buying a used vehicle for new employment. Similarly, providing food and water for famine sufferers would be a duty, but providing transportation infrastructure may be a moral aspiration. 

Arthur does not hold negative rights as omnipotent, unlike what some libertarians may believe. He believes that morality for aid must depend on the balance between entitlements and the needs of others. By agreeing with Arthur on the importance of fairness and justice, I have argued that equal humans must have the means to participate in the desert principle to maintain respect for equal moral humans. Further, I have argued that the freeriding problem is preventable based on mutual respect for moral equals. However, by rejecting Arthur’s entitlement claims against people in absolute or extreme poverty, we can strengthen or establish a moral obligation to help people in severe famine. At the same time, we can reject Singer’s conclusion that morally requires transferring resources excessively merely to reduce suffering without regard to one’s autonomy or self-determination.

As Temkin cautions us, there are elements of utilitarian, deontic, and virtue ethics reasons to aid those in extreme need.24 While I have argued for a narrow positive duty from a deontic and relational egalitarian perspective, consequences and virtues may inform us that justice demands much more, which I believe so; however, this paper’s aim is narrow in scope. At least, in a Kantian sense, there is a perfect duty to restore and sustain basic autonomy for moral participation in the concept of desert. Finally, I welcome counterarguments and will address libertarian views (for instance, the Lockean Proviso) on entitlements in the subsequent paper.

Afterthought on Extreme Poverty and Morality

While making philosophical arguments about restoring autonomy for those in extreme poverty, I also implied the importance of recognizing our abundance. Ingratitude often fuels a sense of entitlement and a reluctance to share, which only exacerbates the conditions of those in need. Let’s take action today to help someone in need and make a positive difference!


Footnotes:

  1. See Singer (2017) and Mill (1966) on the discussion of the inherent value of humans or humans as subjects of utility. ↩︎
  2. It is important to note that this paper is addressed to scholars committed to moral equality, and I do not intend to defend this philosophical commitment. ↩︎
  3. For the sake of space, I will mainly engage with Arthur’s position on this paper, which is more philosophically interesting. In a longer paper, I will argue against both sides and propose a middle ground. This nuanced ethical stance recognizes a moral duty towards humanitarian aid without imposing an excessive demand for resource redistribution. ↩︎
  4. See Pogge (2005) for a discussion of the duty to non-cooperation with regimes that harm their citizens. Pogge argues that this duty is derived from the negative rights of non-interference. By cooperating with oppressive regimes, for instance, the sale of weapons, we implicitly harm and violate the right to non-interference of citizens of the regime. I hold that he is correct in holding that developed nations have been violating the negative rights of people of governments engaging in the oppression of their citizens. My approach is different from Pogge’s. My approach is not about violating negative rights but violating equal moral status, which I think has a subtle difference. ↩︎
  5. I hold that justice demands that society advocate for autonomy for all beyond ‘narrow autonomy.’ For further discussion on autonomy, the capability approach developed by Sen, Nussbaum, and others comes to mind. ↩︎
  6. Sen (1981: §2). In Amartya Sen’s analysis, absolute or extreme poverty is when an individual falls below a critical threshold of resources or income essential for basic sustenance. Absolute poverty is tied to the concept of “entitlement failure,” which Sen highlights as a crucial factor in famines. According to Sen, famines are not solely the result of food scarcity; the inequitable distribution of food and resources has been a significant factor. In contrast, relative poverty compares an individual’s or group’s resources in their society. This form of poverty is not about the struggle for survival. However, it reflects social inequality and exclusion, occurring when a person’s living standards are substantially lower than the societal average, regardless of meeting the individual’s basic survival needs. ↩︎
  7. There are a variety of positions on what the ‘reason’ ought to be, but I will not enumerate the major views here.  ↩︎
  8. See Scanlon (2013: 111) for the argument that while desert has a role in a moral claim to one’s fruit of labor, it does not inherently justify significant economic inequalities among, for instance, US employees. If his claim is true, this can undermine Arthur’s view of withholding aid by referring to the moral desert because one will be less deserving of their fruit of labor, but I will not pursue this line of argument against Arthur. ↩︎
  9. See O’Neill (2016:34 – 8) for her criticism of human rights as the basis for helping those in need. She holds that moral duties precedes human rights, and human rights are often arbitrary institutional concept that are detached from moral duties. Moreover, she emphasizes that moral duties have the duty bearer, and mere talk of rights misses the crucial aspect of duty bearer. Like O’Neil, my approach is not of human rights but moral duties that stem from equal status of humans.  ↩︎
  10. See Rawls (1971: 103 – 4, 312) on whether one must deserve a desert-basis (a discussion of merit concerning natural and social endowment). Scanlon rejects that one must deserve a desert-basis and interprets Rawls as separating moral responses from fitting expressions of those responses. He claims that the difference in social endowment, including effort, is an inappropriate basis for determining different levels of economic benefits. If the distinction is real, it undermines the role of desert as a significant moral concept. However, even if the distinction undermines the justification of economic inequality, as Scanlon admits, it still plays a role in our evaluative attitudes and expressions of those attitudes. ↩︎
  11.  Aristotle: ‘…all men agree that what is just in distribution must be according to merit (axian)…’ (Nicomachean Ethics, V, 3). Sidgwick: ‘Men ought to be rewarded in proportion to their deserts’ (1907, Bk III, Ch. 5). Ross: ‘The duty of justice is particularly complicated, and the word is used to cover things which are really very different – things such as the payment of debts, the reparation of injuries done by oneself to another, and the bringing about of a distribution of happiness between other people in proportion to merit. I use the word to denote only the last of these’ (2002: 26–27), in Feldman, Fred and Brad Skow, “Desert”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). ↩︎
  12.  T. Brooks, Punishment (London: Routledge, 2013), .20. ↩︎
  13.  E. F. Carritt, Ethical and Political Thinking (Oxford: Oxford University Press). 1947.
    ↩︎
  14.  Institutional arrangements can still protect properties; nevertheless, they lose the pre-institutional moral force and justification to protect personal property or resources. Similarly, this shall reframe the limits of constitutional law in favor of less property protection. ↩︎
  15. Who is ‘we’ in the context of international relief? O’Neill (2016:36) states, “But the advocates of subsistence rights have so far produced no convincing arguments to show who should bear obligations to feed others. Yet this is the question that matters most if ‘rights to subsistence’ are to meet human needs.” This is a fair point, which any theory must address. I sympathize with Pogge’s position on global resource dividend. See Pogge (2011). ↩︎
  16. Dworkin (2000: 73 – 4). Bad brute luck refers to bad consequences due to luck beyond one’s control. In contrast, bad option luck refers to consequences from deliberate calculation or choice. I hold the position that there is a moral duty to require international aid to restore people’s autonomy, even with bad option luck, since commitment to moral equality cannot eradicate moral participation. I will not expound on this position in this paper, for there is insufficient space. ↩︎
  17. Morality demands metaphysically possible means to restore autonomy. In the case of young children, it is impossible to make them instantaneously autonomous, but they require nourishment to develop into autonomous persons. Thus, helping them develop into autonomous persons ensures that others treat them as moral equals.  ↩︎
  18. Peter Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” in Ethical Theory: An Anthology, ed. Russ Shafer-Landau, 2nd ed. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). 466-467. ↩︎
  19. Singer (2013: 467). ↩︎
  20. Singer (2013: 471). ↩︎
  21. Anderson (1999: 306). ↩︎
  22. Anderson (1999: 306 – 7). While Anderson is critiquing luck egalitarianism, the critique applies to utilitarianism because aid recipients, especially in famine relief, are in a position of bad brute luck. Anderson makes a critical distinction between compassion and pity. Compassion stems from recognizing someone’s inherent suffering. Pity, conversely, emerges from comparing our situation with that of the person we pity. The key sentiment in pity is not “they are in a bad situation,” but “they are in a worse situation than I am.” When the comparison involves internal states that are sources of pride, pity essentially implies “they are unfortunately lesser than me.” While both compassion and pity can lead to benevolent actions, pity carries an undertone of condescension. ↩︎
  23.  Singer (2021). Peter Singer’s preference-utilitarianism position diverges from classical utilitarianism. His approach attaches significance to individual preferences, suggesting that the best action aligns with and satisfies these preferences. Additionally, he emphasizes that preferences should be informed and rational. ↩︎
  24.   See Temkin (2004: 352 – 3). ↩︎

Reference:

  1. Anderson, Elizabeth S. “What Is the Point of Equality?” Ethics 109, no. 2: (1999): 287–337.
  2. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
  3. Arthur, John. “World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case Against Singer.” In Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, edited by Stephen M. Chan, Oxford University Press, 2009.
  4. Brooks, T. Punishment. London: Routledge, 2013.
  5. Carritt, E. F. Ethical and Political Thinking, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1947.
  6. Dworkin, R. Sovereign Virtue, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
  7. Feldman, Fred and Brad Skow, “Desert”, In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2020 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta. URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2020/entries/desert/>.
  8. Mill, John Stuart. On liberty. Macmillan Education UK, 1996.
  9. O’Neill, Onora. “Rights, Obligations and World Hunger.” Chapter. In Justice across Boundaries: Whose Obligations?, 29–42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. doi:10.1017/CBO9781316337103.003.
  10. Pogge, Thomas. “Allowing the Poor to Share the Earth.” Journal of Moral Philosophy 8, no. 3 (October 2011): 335–52. doi:10.1163/174552411X588982.
  11. Pogge, Thomas. “World Poverty and Human Rights.” Ethics & international affairs 19, no. 1 (2005): 1–7.
  12. Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.
  13. Ross, W. D. The Right and the Good, edited by Philip Stratton-Lake, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  14. Scanlon, T. M. “Giving Desert Its Due,” Philosophical Explorations, 16, no.2 (2013):101–116.
  15. Sen, Amartya. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford University Press, 1981.
  16. Sidgwick, Henry. The Methods of Ethics. London: Macmillan, 1907.
  17. Singer, Peter. “Animal Liberation or Animal Rights?” Animal Rights, 2017, 165–76.Singer, Peter. “Famine, Affluence, and Morality.” In Ethical Theory: An Anthology, edited by
  18. Russ Shafer-Landau, 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  19. Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021.
  20. Temkin, Larry S. “Thinking about the Needy, Justice, and International Organizations.” The journal of ethics 8, no. 4 (2004): 349–395.