Congress is complicit, corrupt, and collusive, to be sure, but the onus remains with you.
In Peter Singer’s 1972 paper “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” he explores the distinction between supererogatory and obligatory actions. Supererogatory actions are those that go beyond the call of duty, while obligatory actions are those that are morally required. Using this framework, we can evaluate the failures of United States business, economic, and administration practices and their impact on middle-class, blue-collar workers, and class mobility.
- Wealth inequality and the moral obligation to alleviate poverty: In the context of Singer’s argument, the extreme wealth inequality in the US can be seen as a failure to fulfill the moral obligation to alleviate poverty. Instead of investing in programs to support the economically disadvantaged, businesses and the government have often focused on policies that benefit the wealthy, such as tax cuts and deregulation. This has had a significant impact on middle-class and blue-collar workers, who have experienced stagnant wages, limited access to essential services, and decreased class mobility.
- The environment and the moral obligation to protect it: Businesses and administrations have frequently prioritized short-term profits over the long-term well-being of the environment. This can be seen as a failure to fulfill the moral obligation to protect the environment for future generations. The consequences of environmental degradation disproportionately affect middle-class and blue-collar workers, who often bear the brunt of pollution, natural disasters, and other environmental hazards, which in turn limits their class mobility.
- Labor practices and the moral obligation to ensure fair treatment of workers: Many US businesses have failed to fulfill the moral obligation to treat their workers fairly. This is evident in practices such as outsourcing jobs to countries with lower labor standards, engaging in wage theft, and opposing unionization efforts. These practices have had negative consequences for the middle class and blue-collar workers, making it harder for them to achieve economic stability and upward mobility.
- Access to education and the moral obligation to provide opportunities for all: The US has not adequately fulfilled its moral obligation to provide equal access to education for all citizens. Public schools in lower-income areas are often underfunded, and the rising cost of higher education has made it increasingly difficult for many middle-class and blue-collar families to afford college. This has further exacerbated the class mobility issue, as education is a critical factor in economic success.
In conclusion, the failures of United States business, economic, and administration practices can be framed within Singer’s distinction between supererogatory and obligatory actions. By not fulfilling their moral obligations to alleviate poverty, protect the environment, ensure fair treatment of workers, and provide equal access to education, these practices have had a profound impact on the middle class, blue-collar workers, and class mobility. Addressing these issues would not only involve taking morally obligatory actions but also prioritizing the well-being of all citizens, rather than just the wealthy few.
Proximity is not permission. Access is not authorization. Identity is declared, not assigned. Even * said, “I am.”
Fair Warning: I’m nice until you’re not… FAFO.
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