2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Third World Poverty: are we responsible? … Does anyone genuinely care?

Nathalie Antoinet, 2006, Stage 2

Territory: Africa has always been a focal point when discussing Third World Poverty as this vast continent contains the 24 lowest ranking nations out of the world’s 175 poorest countries. In the Western World we are frequently reminded of the poverty and suffering taking place in Africa through images in the media and events such as ‘Make Poverty History’, ‘Live 8’, and the most recent G8 summit which took place in the UK in 2005. In my project I will be exploring Africa and how it has changed over the past one hundred and fifty years; from pre-colonial times to the ‘Scramble for Africa’, through its struggle to regain independence and up to the current time. In considering how Africa has changed, or has been changed, over the last two centuries, it will also be necessary to give an account of the factors acting upon it such as Europeans as the main founders of the African colonies and the British and American governments in their political policies towards African poverty. Aims: I will look at Africa in a historical and political context and it’s relationships with Europe and America in order to determine whether or not we, in the Western World, can be held responsible for the extensive poverty in our world’s second largest continent. In addition to this, I will be assessing to what extent people actually care about those suffering in the Third World or if their way of life is so removed from our own that we view the situation as more fiction than fact. Finally, I will try to establish if the Western World has a social and moral obligation to try and ameliorate the situation and by what means. Concepts and Philosophy: In order to answer the questions set out in my aims, I will be paying particular reference to Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics and John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. This will be in conjunction with the exploration of concepts such as; responsibility (individualistic and communitarian), moral obligation, justice and equality.

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