This book explores the nature of moral responsibilities of affluent individuals in the developed world, addressing global poverty and arguments that philosophers have offered for having these responsibilities. The first type of argument grounds responsibilities in the ability to avert serious suffering by taking on some cost. The second argument seeks to ground responsibilities in the fact that the affluent are contributing to such poverty. The authors criticise many of the claims advanced by those who seek to ground stringent responsibilities to the poor by invoking these two types of arguments. It does t follow from this that the affluent are meeting responsibilities to the poor. The book argues that while people are t ordinarily required to make large sacrifices in assisting others in severe need, they are required to incur moderate costs to do so. If the affluent fail consistently to meet standards, this fact can substantially increase the costs they are required to bear in order to address it.
Christian Barry is Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University, Canberra. His research focuses on closing the gap between theory and practice in international justice. He previously worked at the United Nations Development Programme and at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. His recent work includes International Trade and Labour Standards: A Proposal for Linkage (with Sanjay Reddy, 2008), and articles in Philosophy and Public Affairs, the Journal of Political Philosophy, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, the Review of International Studies, International Affairs, and the Journal of Applied Philosophy. Gerhard Overland (1964-2014) was Professor of Philosophy at University of Oslo. He published widely in moral theory and philosophy of war, including articles in Ethics, the Journal of Moral Philosophy, Bioethics, and the European Journal of Philosophy.