Various areas across America represent all points on the spectrum between rich and poor, poverty and privilege.
View one or more of the following Vimeo/YouTube videos related to poverty or wealth in America:
“Poverty in Chicago” Documentary Program (43:37) (Links to an external site.) from Schodorf Media Creative.
Poor Kids Of America Child Poverty Documentary Real Stories (58:51) (Links to an external site.)
Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream | Why Poverty? | Documentary (58:52) (Links to an external site.)
The Rise of the Super Rich Untold Wealth of the One Percent 1 (45:03) (Links to an external site.)
Proceed to the “Questions to Address” section before continuing to the next page.
After watching the video(s), address the following questions:
What were the main points of the documentary? What moral/ethical issues were addressed?
What was your reaction to the issues? Did any aspect surprise you?
Why do you think there is such a large gap between the richest and the poorest in our society?
Were the issues presented in a biased or unbiased manner? Were the arguments grounded in fact or opinion? Did the presenters/producers appear to have an underlying agenda that they were pushing forward?
What is a moral/ethical response to the identified issues? Should we intervene to “fix” the problems identified? Why or why not?
Philosophers, psychologists, and scholars have long argued about whether true altruism really exists or if it is, in fact, just another manifestation of egoism, albeit a veiled one. These skeptics argue that altruism is actually a form of self-interest, including aspects of pride, satisfaction, or the reinforcement of one’s self-worth. Still others, like author and philosopher Ayn Rand, outright reject altruism and instead consider selfishness a virtue.
View the following YouTube TED Talk videos about the essence of altruism:
Understanding Extreme Altruism (14:21). (Links to an external site.)
Why Some People Are More Altruistic Than Others | Abigail Marsh (12:21). (Links to an external site.)
What do you think? Does altruism exist? Is it a “good” thing, or is it destructive to the self-sacrificing individual?
After you have viewed the videos, address the following questions:
What are the different opinions about helping others and/or sacrificing that are portrayed in each of these video clips? What do you agree with? What do you disagree with? Why?
Is altruism real? Common? Are people, by nature helpful or selfish?
Is altruism morally “right”? Or morally “wrong”? Explain your perspective.
Can a selfish person be a moral person? A self-interested person? What is the difference, if there is any, between being selfish and being self-interested? Between acting prudently and acting morally?
Is there a difference in sacrificing for a loved one (as in the Hunger Games scenario) and sacrificing for a stranger? Is one more altruistic than the other? Explain your perspective.
How is the bystander effect related to issues of altruism and/or egoism?
Please add in-text citations to all assignments.