Peter’s son has his tenth birthday coming up. The boy wants a birthday party for all of his
friends at a local funhouse; a new bicycle; and a portable television for his room. While
such presents will prove expensive, Peter reasons that he loves his son and is willing to
do whatever it takes to make the boy happy.
Upon learning of Peter’s plans, however, Peter’s brother, Paul — the boy’s uncle —
objects. Paul argues that if Peter sent that same amount of money to a hospital clinic
overseas, in an area where infant mortality is very high, the money could be used to pay
for vaccines that could save tens or even hundreds of lives — and this, Paul insists, is
surely a better use of such funds.
Should Peter feel uncomfortable about purchasing these gifts for his son? Does he, as
Paul suggests, have a moral obligation to do otherwise?
In formulating your answer, be sure to consider Singer’s arguments.
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