Episode 15: Peter Singer

Professor Peter Singer talks on Development Drums about his new book, The Life You Can Save. This book sets out an ethical case for why people should give more money to people in developing countries.

Here are the links mentioned in the podcast.

Running time 58 minutes; size 22.1 Mb.

Download transcript (pdf)

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Another fascinating and — this time — challenging interview. My only rather self-serving reservation about Professor Singer’s injunction to individuals to obey the moral imperative to give money for third world poverty reduction is that in practice private contributions by individuals are never going to be more than a fraction of the money spent for the same purpose by governments: which arguably means that each individual’s top priority should be actively to support whichever political party is likely to carry out generous and effective development policies in office (including development aid but also trade and other policies likely to contribute to poverty reduction). In other words, collective action, as always, is incomparably more likely to be effective than any number of individual acts. But of course the two things are not in any sense alternatives and I accept that we should all do both.


Your podcast with Singer was fanstastic. It was my pleasure to add you to my subscriptions on iTunes. Best regards from Ontario, Canada.

I thought the discussion was very interesting indeed. The conflict between morality and human nature is an important one to solve.


Singer writes really well and his point comes across really well in the book. I can recommend anyone interested in development aid to read it.

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