A person who has just purchased a new pair of shoes is witnessing a child drowning in a pond.

What should they do? Risk ruining their expensive new shoes by wading into the pond and rescuing the child, or let them drown?

Almost all of us would say saving the child is more important than a pair of shoes.

But, how can any of us justify buying an expensive pair of shoes when the price of these shoes could save a child’s life? We are, in effect, choosing the shoes over the life of a child, and the ethics of that decision don’t change just because the risk to the child’s life isn’t happening right in front of your eyes.

An Analogy by Peter Singer from “The Life You Can Save.” Peter Singer was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential thinkers in the world.