Reconsider Lifeboat Ethics
In his article “Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor,” Garret Hardin argues that rich nations should not help poor nations by providing limited resources. He presents that the rich nations are morally obligated to protect their limited because sharing will only lead to catastrophe, squander and overloading the environment. He claims that poor nations should learn from the “hard way” independently and control the population by the crude way if they want to manage their poverty. Hardin, on the other hand, doesn’t completely negate that rich nations shouldn’t help poor nations, but they should provide technical support instead of material support. His arguments include the limited natural resources, tragedy of commons, no true world government to control reproduction and the use of available resources. We should take actions according to the ethics of lifeboat. At the beginning of the article, Hardin uses the lifeboat as metaphors of the earth to illustrate that saving poor nations in moral see is a dangerous and suicidal way to make overused. Suppose that our lifeboat has a capacity of 60 people and 50 of us are in the lifeboat and we see 100 others struggling in the water. They are begging for permission to get on board. What should we do? Should we save all of them in the lifeboat which only has 10 more seats since they are “our brother” or choose the best 10 since they are the neediest one? No matter which situation we choose, both of them would push us on the horns of a dilemma. If we save everyone, the boat will sink and we will all die. Even if we can let 10 more people to be on our boat, we will them lose our “safety factor.” To be honest, I can’t understand why he is so cruel to against helping the poor. Because we are equal as human beings, we have responsibility to help other when they are in emergencies. It’s brutal that we only watch the poor who appeal our handouts and we don’t pull them up. But after...
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