April 22 2012
Giving Out a Helping Hand
As I read between two articles, I will be explaining, comparing, and critiquing the ideas presented in two diametrically opposite articles: the late biologist and environmentalist Garret Hardin's article "Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor" and controversial ethicist Peter Singer's essay "The Singer Solution to World Poverty" . In each article, the author uses an analogy to make his point, and in evaluating both articles, I devoted my attention almost entirely to the analogies. Within my essay I mentioned how Hardin's article is full of pragmatic-speak, whilst Singer's article is explicitly morality centered. Out of all the essays that I have read about poverty and the link to overpopulation, I feel that I better understand and agreed with the work of Garrett Hardin and his “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor”. He makes a lot of interesting points but there were three that really stood out to me and they all had to do with overpopulation being the problem. Some people compare Earth to being a spaceship with limited space and if overpopulated the pollution can become deadly to the rest of the population, Garrett Hardin’s first point is that Earth is not at all like a spaceship but it is really more like a lifeboat because lifeboats have no captain, a really limited food supply and life or death decisions on what to do about population control. The second point Hardin makes is his tragedy of the commons; he tells about how muddy things can get when there is free land for everyone to share equally, and how easily that whole system can come crashing down. Finally, his third point has to do with the world food bank idea, and how he feels that it would only succeed in creating more poverty and overpopulation in the world. While I can agree with those three points that Hardin makes, I do have my own views of poverty as well. I agree that the problem...