In this issue

Autumn 2009: Innovative Thinking about Social Impact

From the Editor

Welcome to the third issue of Knowledge Connect, CSI’s review that seeks to connect readers to ideas and debates related to social impact.

This issue highlights articles that deal with innovation – a fashionable term in social impact circles. The summaries below highlight social innovators at work and some of the behind-the-scenes work required to make these innovative ideas stick.

Writer and activist Peter Singer pushes innovative thinking directly onto the world stage with his new book, The Life You Can Save. This book challenges us to focus on what our obligations are to those trapped in acute poverty around the world. It is an ambitious effort to subvert dominant moral paradigms on giving.

Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University’s Centre for Human Values, spends part of each year in Australia at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. He has made a career out of introducing radical ideas that eventually find their way into the mainstream. You may recall that his Animal Liberation (1975) is among the founding texts of the contemporary animal-rights movement.

In his recent work, Singer asks whether there is something “deeply askew with our widely accepted views about what it is to live a good life” given our knowledge and inaction in the face of widespread poverty and suffering. These arguments have been percolating since at least 1972 when Singer published the essay ‘Famine, Affluence and Morality.’ Will it eventually become the norm, as Singer suggests, for individuals in wealthy nations to see it as their duty to give in order to help alleviate world poverty? With time, his arguments may again prevail.

Links are provided so that you may investigate and comment on those that interest you.

Editor, Knowledge Connect

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