Poverty and Lifeboat Ethics

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A famous Chinese proverb goes: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he will eat for the rest of his days.” Although this wise advice was given thousands of years ago, nowadays looks like no powerful or rich government on Earth understands that sentence.

Garrent Hardin, author of “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor” show us an honest perspective on how the rich countries in the world, by donating food and money, instead of helping poor countries get out of their misery, cause more hunger and strife. In addition, he tells us that overpopulation in poor countries should be controlled soon, or the current situation will turn ugly very fast.

Although Hardin’s evidence is almost indisputable, his position is not. I understand why the author believes that helping poor people is a bad idea but he isn’t looking at many others sides of the situation. At the beginning, my reaction was the opposite. I was totally convinced by Hardin’s theory. I desperately sought a place within a “lifeboat!” But after discussing the essay in class, and hearing myself repeat Hardin’s words that express his indifference about poor people, and also rethinking his thesis in which poor people don’t have a chance for a better life, I changed my position. I can’t support those ideas because in my own point of view, they are false. It is just not true. Some countries and some societies already made a change. Some countries like South Korea, Singapore and China have broken the poverty cycle. We shouldn’t be so negative and we must remember that even the poorest people on the planet have imagination, ideas, beliefs and an imperative necessity to change their own universe.

However, I think that the answer is within Hardin’s thesis too. Poor people don’t need food and clothes only in cases of emergency. Instead, they need a few rich governments interested in giving them tools and ways to improve their economies, to develop their ideas...
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