前回エントリで引用したシンガーインタビューで言及されていた「飢えと豊かさと道徳」の原論文「Famine, Affluence, and Morality」がネットで読めることに気づいたので、インタビューでシンガーが「これ以上施したら当該の人物に恩恵を与えるのと同じくらい自分が損害を被る、という時点だけが本当の停止点」と描写した「可能な最も高い道徳基準」を、自分や家族の事情を考慮して緩和することについて同論文でどのように書かれているかを確認したところ、以下のように一蹴していた。

On the more moderate principle, it may not follow that we ought to reduce ourselves to the level of marginal utility, for one might hold that to reduce oneself and one's family to this level is to cause something significantly bad to happen. Whether this is so I shall not discuss, since, as I have said, I can see no good reason for holding the moderate version of the principle rather than the strong version.


Even if we accepted the principle only in its moderate form, however, it should be clear that we would have to give away enough to ensure that the consumer society, dependent as it is on people spending on trivia rather than giving to famine relief, would slow down and perhaps disappear entirely. There are several reasons why this would be desirable in itself. The value and necessity of economic growth are now being questioned not only by conservationists, but by economists as well. There is no doubt, too, that the consumer society has had a distorting effect on the goals and purposes of its members.


Given a society in which a wealthy man who gives five percent of his income to famine relief is regarded as most generous, it is not surprising that a proposal that we all ought to give away half our incomes will be thought to be absurdly unrealistic. In a society which held that no man should have more than enough while others have less than they need, such a proposal might seem narrow-minded. What it is possible for a man to do and what he is likely to do are both, I think, very greatly influenced by what people around him are doing and expecting him to do. In any case, the possibility that by spreading the idea that we ought to be doing very much more than we are to relieve famine we shall bring about a general breakdown of moral behavior seems remote. If the stakes are an end to widespread starvation, it is worth the risk. Finally, it should be emphasized that these considerations are relevant only to the issue of what we should require from others, and not to what we ourselves ought to do.

*1:原注:See, for instance, John Kenneth Galbraith, The New Industrial State (Boston, I967); and E. J. Mishan, The Costs of Economic Growth (London, I967).