One World: The Ethics of Globalization" by Peter Singer

People, nations and leaders must learn to work together to foster a more open and global
economy, system of criminal justice and idea of ethics if we are to survive. This is the idea that
is espoused in Peter Singer in his book, “One World: The Ethics of Globalization”. This
insightful book is full of ideas on how the world could be better served by nations letting go of
the idea of one-nation sovereignty and working together to create a global government and
The author starts off the book right away by giving evidence of how certain events going
on in our current world prove that we are blind to the fact that we live in a world where there are
very few boundaries and that our state sovereignty is hurting us, rather than helping us. He states
that the bombing of the World Trade Center shows us that terror can reach anyone despite
security and that American’s gas guzzling SUV’s affect a global atmosphere that must shelter not
only us but all other nations on the planet.
After this introduction Singer argues one of the main points of his book which is that
world leaders must look beyond their own borders and that their actions must benefit not only
their own citizens, but all of the citizens of the world. He ponders, “To what extent should
political leaders see their role narrowly, in terms of promoting the interests of their citizens, and
to what extend should they be concerned with the welfare of people everywhere?” (Singer,
2004). His argument is backed up with some strong statements about how the United States
actions against Afghanistan following 9/11 were very similar to the actions of Germany against
the Serbs at the beginning of the First World War. He states that “there is no world political
community” (Singer, 2004), and that because of this we do not intervene in humanitarian matters
when we need to and punish whole countries for the crimes of a few political dissidents. Singer
then argues that a “sound global system of criminal justice” (Singer, 2004), would deprive this
type of dissident the support that they need as well as allowing all countries to behave ethically
in matters where humanitarian issues and genocide are being committed.
Singer then moves on to the topic of global climate change. He notes that even with all
of the changes that have been made many of the industrialized countries continue to hem and
haw about changing their usages because it is bad for the economy. Singer argues that this is a
very narrow view because we increasingly deal with a global economy. In addition to that fact
the industrialized nations are still the biggest polluters and that affects the whole world including
smaller, less industrialized nations well being and economies.
Singer then focuses a lot of attention on the World Trade Organization and how it is not
helping the advent of global ethics or a global world view. Singer states that he thinks that the
UN is in need of reform and is undemocratic because of the power that is given to the
“permanent members” which are ultimately all wealthy industrialized nations. In order for there
to be a true global democracy he argues that there needs to be a fair majority vote available to all
nations. He also debates forming a global justice system to deal with issues of genocide and
humanitarian injustices. He argues that there should be universal jurisdiction for those crimes
that have been defined by the UN Security Council as crimes against humanity. That in order for
there to be a global law that those laws should be enforceable despite the laws in the country at
the time and that any country should be able to try a person for crimes against humanity. This
way if a person responsible for war crimes is captured in a country other than their own then they
could be tried there without having to worry about jurisdictional problems. The author also
states that. He offers an opinion that the U.S. could be responsible for helping to build up the
United Nations into a more powerful organization and work towards a more global justice force
and organization.
The last, and most powerful, point that Singer makes in his book is that every individual
is in charge of helping to create a worldwide community. He notes that even though there was
an outpouring of aid from American citizens for those who dealt with the tragedy of 9/11 that the
amount of aid, especially given to other countries in need is still negligible every year. He
argues that we draw the line at helping others in other countries because “Charity begins at
home” (Singer, 2004). Even though many Americans “unquestioningly support declarations
proclaiming all humans have certain rights, and that all human life is of equal worth” (Singer,
2004), we still ignore the data that shows there is an average of “30,000 children” (Singer, 2004)
a day that die from simple things that could be cured by the donation of time or money on the
part of indivi 

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