Political Advocacy is something I think of constantly. Personally, I am getting ready to return to school and I plan to study for a Masters in Public Policy. What I find interesting is the idea of studying and understanding our problems and having a chance to truly consider what types of actions will benefit those who need help most. Often times the perception of our problems and the reality of our problems are not aligned, and we bemoan a particular policy even though it may not be as serious or have the negative consequences that our voices suggest. For Peter Singer in his book The Most Good You Can Do, political advocacy is presented in another light, as a way to make changes that impact those who live in the most profound poverty, and to provide the means for changing situations which drive so many into poverty.
“Political advocacy is an attractive option because it responds to critics who say that aid treats just the symptoms of global poverty, leaving its causes untouched” Singer writes to show that simply providing aid may not be the most effective way to improve the lives of individuals. Organizations and groups that help develop fair trade, fight corruption, and advocate for the citizens of a country can shape the world for those living in poverty. Advocacy can help them find a more stable economic base, and it can provide for more clear paths out of extreme poverty.
Singer seems to be on the fence about the true impact of donations and efforts related to political advocacy. He argues for it but it is clear that he is concerned about how much anyone can claim that their lobbying impacted the decisions that were made. He finds it a useful way to make donations or become involved to help others, but the difficulty of measuring ones true impact makes political advocacy seem to be a second tier form of difference making in Singer’s views of effective altruism.