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[Comment] Offline: Four drowning children

“When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.” George Bernard Shaw’s acerbic view on moral obligation might not achieve the distinction of a universal ethical principle. But his scepticism does point to difficult truths about human responsibility. What do I owe to you, or you to me? This question frames so many aspects of global health. How much money should you be prepared to donate to improve the health of those with the fewest resources on our planet? How many migrants escaping humanitarian disaster should your community be prepared to welcome and accommodate? How much of your behaviour should you change to mitigate climate change? How much should you be prepared to give in your tax returns to those less well off than yourself? In other words, what are the limits of your obligations to others? Presumably a line must be drawn somewhere.

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