Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor

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Garrett Hardin, biologist from Stanford, used the metaphor of Earth being a “spaceship” persuading other countries, industries and people to stop polluting and washing natural resources of the world. He illustrates that the “spaceship” is represented by the wealthy countries, and the natural resources are represented as the poorer countries of the world. The wealthy people of the world have all the resources they need to survive and more, while other hand the poorer countries are unfortunate. Their rations are broken up into smaller and smaller portions because of their growing population and it lessens the resources to everyone of that country. Hardin's argument is based on sharing. He proposes that the bigger countries should share what they have with the unfortunate countries of the world. He eventually reveals the meaning of his metaphors. The natural resources are exposed to be food. His argument is that there are so many countries in this world that are dying and suffering from lack of food. Hardin believes that if the wealthier countries share their “wealth then the weaker countries will have an opportunity to survive. Through the “lifeboat” metaphor, the use of logos, and the discovery of food bank, Hardin uses these key points as his argument.

With regards to the population of the poor, Hardin uses a lifeboat for better understanding of the situation. “Metaphorically each nation can be seen as a lifeboat, full of comparatively rich people. In the ocean outside each lifeboat swim the poor of the world, who would like to get in or at least share some of the wealth” (415). This metaphor explains to the people that there are people out in the world that need help. People that are on the verge of dying, all they need is a helping hand for their survival. “For example, the weather varies from year to year, and periodic crop failures are certain. A wise and competent government saves out of the production of the good years in anticipation of years to come....
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