LIFEBOAT ETHICSIn the article, ‘Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helpingthe Poor’, the author: Garrett Hardin’s main argument is that rich nationsshould not help poor nations. I disagree with Hardin’s argument because he makesassumptions about nations such that poor nations will take from rich nationsand will not pay back, populations of immigrants will increase thereby speedingthe rate of the nation reaching their carrying capacity and poor countries willbe dependent on rich nations. I believe an ethical egoist would agree withHardin’s argument even though ethical egoism focuses on individual’s actionsnot nations because rich nation will be pursing their best interest by denyinghelp to poor nations, because they are preserving their resources, andminimizing the rate at which they reach the nations carrying capacity. While, anAct utilitarian would disagree with Hardin’s argument because his decisionswill not produce the best overall results for all nations. Due to the fact theymake their decisions solely by themselves without considering how many individual’swould be affected.
Hardin gave anexample in the article, where they are fifty persons in a lifeboat with maximumcapacity of sixty and surrounding the boat on sea are one hundred individualswanting to come on board. What should be done? First, he states that allowingone hundred persons to come aboard would be catastrophic and therefore is notthe right solution. Unfortunately, not everyone can be saved so then should beallowed? Hardin says that ten swimmers can be offered the space based on whocomes first or the ten most advanced individuals. Regardless of the decision,ninety persons will still be excluded. There will be some on the lifeboat who mayfeel guilty of leaving the others, but they have the option of giving up theirseat in exchange for one of them. Lastly, Hardin proposes that a solution thatpromise the fifty persons’ survival is to not allow any extras on board. Thiswill make sure that the carrying capacity is not exceed.
In the World Food Bank section, Hardin talks about thepurpose of the World food bank; is an international depository of food reservesto which nations would contribute money per their abilities to help feed thehungry. He believes giving to the food bank and subsequently to the hungry inpoor nations, will continue the cycle of hungry and drain the world’s foodreserve. He supports this claim with the notion that poor nations populationincrease faster than rich nations, and will always grow and need more food evenif giving aid. In immigration versus foodsupply, he argues that world food banks move food to the people therebyhastening the destruction of the environment of the rich countries, he reasons becausethe United States is quick to accept immigrants into the country because theyprovide cheap labor, is not only detrimental to the carrying capacity of theAmericas Lifeboat but to the resources used by the lifeboat. He also believesthat immigrants are supported by selfish interests and humanitarian whims.Ethical Egoismstates that each person ought to pursue his or her own self-interest or in thiscase nations ought to pursue their self-interest exclusively.
An Ethical egoistwould agree with Hardin’s argument because it is important for a nation to puttheir needs/interest above others, in this case the rich nation because that iswhat is morally right. An Ethical egoist may say that in the best interest of rich countries, they should not help poorcountries so as to save their resources , decrease poor nations dependency onthem and reduce the speed at which the carrying capacity would be met. While Act utilitarianism states that an action when it produces thegreatest good for the greatest number of people, in this case nations, becomes morally right. An Act Utilitarian woulddisagree with Hardin’s argument because it does not produce the greatest goodfor most nations. I say this because Hardin argues that helping poor nations willdeplete resources, increase dependency on rich nations, damage the carryingcapacity and increase population of poor nations but he fails to consider howmany individuals would be affected by this decision.I disagree with the authors argumentfor these reasons, First, Hardin focuses on the analogy that nations of theearth are like Lifeboats, as explained. However, scientist have not be able togive us an exact time and figure regarding exceeding the carrying capacity. Whileit’s true that countries waste and abuse non-renewable resources, I do notbelieve without them our countries cannot survive.
The quickness, precision andadvancement of research done how to extend our resources, manage global warming,and manage population should be able to provide answers on how tominimize the implications. Again, Hardin makes assumptionsabout how poor nations will receive help but not give anything in return, whichcould be wrong,. As from the article, the poor give by offering cheaplabor and the country’s economy grows, hence boosting the economy. He makesanother assumption that giving aid will give rise to the needs for more aid butthis might not be true. It is possible that because of the help, the poor focuson getting a job rather than looking for food and when getting a job earn moneyand thereby their needs decreases. The argument in immigration versus foodsupply talks about rich nations not helping the poor because of the lowstandards of conditions they will receive if immigration is allowed but It didnot in any way discuss or tie it back to the lifeboat ethics and because of theassumptions of immigrants, the argument is not sound.
Again, the argument in ‘PopulationControl the Crude Way’ also makes another assumption about how the populationrate of poor nations continue to risebecause of the system of distribution by world food banks.I would disagree with an Ethical Egoist because of theselfishness of their assessment. Also, it makes me feel their decisions caneasily be swayed or changed depending on the outcome of a situation. I believe helpshould be given especially when you have the capacity to do it which is thecase of rich nations. While, I somewhat may agree with an Act Utilitarianbecause they might try to see how the rich nations actions affect everybodyincluding the poor nations, even though they may still change their minds tonot help poor nations because it might benefit most but they will try toconsider most nations.