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Critique 3 lifeboat ethics case against aid harms garrett

The metaphor he creates is, nonetheless, coherent, and is used to describe the limited carrying capacity a lifeboat rich nationscan hold: So here we sit, say 50 people in our lifeboat.

To be generous, let us assume it has room for 10 more, making a total capacity of 60. The boat swamps, everyone drowns.

A Review on Lifeboat Ethics Essay

Complete justice, complete catastrophe … we might let 10 aboard, but how do we choose? And what about the need for a safety factor? Hardin characterizes the safe and the drowning as rich versus poor nations, though in reality not all countries are deemed on one side of the scale, wealthy or impoverished.

Many waver on the edge, needing very little aid to push over into industrialization and development. Furthermore, Hardin assumes the earth does not hold enough resources to provide for everyone, and although correct in stating we cannot sustain an unlimited number of people, he neglects the very definition of such a word.

Hardin disregards any hint as to what this number is, a fairly important point when referencing a depletion of world resources.

Critique 3 lifeboat ethics case against aid harms garrett

By disregarding the importance of such a number, Hardin influences the reader to believe helping impoverished nations is impossible, for, after all, an unlimited number of individuals would hardly be feasible. However, if the number of people that could be helped was presented, some may change their minds, recognizing that helping some is better than helping none at all.

In knowing this, Hardin however, chooses to eliminate the statistic entirely.

Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor Essay

Within this scenario Hardin appeals to the readers with the presentation of a circumstance in which only two outcomes seem probable. Hardin disregards the idea of helping some people, even if selected in a fairly arbitrary way: He insinuates that once the decision is made to help some, the lifeboat passengers must attempt to save all of those drowning, which is clearly not feasible given the carrying capacity of the lifeboat.

It seems rather unreasonable to deny help to every individual, when, although not all can be rescued, the boat clearly holds the space for more. The same ideology may be applied in other philosophical debates, including the death penalty, as we discussed in lecture.

Ernest Van Den Haag, a defender of the death penalty, explains in his article that the critique 3 lifeboat ethics case against aid harms garrett of punishment is not whether every individuals gets what they deserve, but rather that some, rather than none, of the convicted receive their rightful punishment.

As a result, the argument can be made that pulling some into the lifeboat to be saved is far better than leaving all to drown. One may argue ignoring such a possibility serves as a way to avoid criticism from liberals who would quite obviously propose letting some individuals on board. Hardin realizes the difficulty in a rebuttal to this argument, therefore he chooses to leave out the situation entirely.

Additionally, the carrying capacity of the wealthy nations is far underestimated, and entirely misleading, within this metaphor. Realistically, the capacity of a wealthy lifeboat would be close to double the capacity Hardin presents; the boat would be, at the very least, closer critique 3 lifeboat ethics case against aid harms garrett a small yacht than a meager lifeboat.

In reality however, the problem does not necessarily go away merely because it is ignored. In the real world, there are armies and domestic dissidents who willingly sacrifice their lives and those of others to oppose policies they view as immoral. It is ignorant to assume all of the lifeboat passengers will agree with the decision that is made.

Some individuals may attempt to pull the drowning on board, and hostility would be inevitable. He creates a picture to the reader using an example of herdsman with a pasture of a certain capacity.

Hardin explains that under a system of private property, the individual more easily recognizes responsibility 3. Under communal ownership however, Hardin argues the herdsman who may choose to fill the pasture with more sheep than it can hold for his own benefit would promote his interest at the expense of the community as a whole.

It is clear Hardin attempts to propose that the commons created by aid is worse than the original problem. The incentive to leave out such facts can be seen later in the section, when Hardin quotes Alan Gregg, the vice-president of the Rockefeller foundation. When researched, one can see why Hardin would neglect such information.

In actuality, communal ownership has been tried in some countries with successful results. If each country is solely responsible for its own wellbeing, poorly managed ones will suffer. But they can learn from experience … the weather varies from year to year, and periodic crop failures are certain … should those nations that do manage to put something aside be forced to come to the rescue each time an emergency occurs among the poor nations?

The real question is, what are the operational consequences of establishing a world food bank? By claiming that blame, in this instance, is an irrelevant point to discuss, Hardin neglects to address a very important issue. Why are the liberals wrong in arguing that fault of government should not influence action in providing aid?

One may argue that faulty governments are a mere consequence of industrial deficiency, that can easily be fixed if aid is provided to nations who can then use financial assistance for education, resulting in educated political elections with educated individuals on the ballots. These political leaders may then be able to readily plan for emergencies.

Neglecting to answer this rebuttal however, results in the presentation of an argument that seems ill-prepared and unreciprocated. When analyzed closely one can see Hardin neglects to address yet another prominent issue within his argument. How are underdeveloped nations expected to set aside food for the future when they do not possess enough for the current population?

Denying aid would clearly cause death amongst many individuals, in saying this Hardin is correct. In making this statement however, Hardin incorrectly assumes the dependence on aid would diminish.

  • A world food bank is thus a commons in disguise;
  • While this last solution clearly offers the only means of our survival, it is morally abhorrent to many people.

Although crop failure would reduce population size, a stabilized population does not coincide with a more successful agricultural system. As a result, food would remain scarce, for even a drastic reduction would not guarantee enough food for the new population.

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Clearly the reduced population will suffer problems similar to the previous, food production will remain in deficit, need for aid will persist, and the crisis will continue to revolve in circles. Although many individuals propose the Green Revolution will decrease aid as well as increase food production in underdeveloped nations, Hardin neglects, once again, the importance of such a proposition in the next section of his article.

Although there is room to debate the extent to which the Green Revolution has increased the crop yields of developing countries, as well as the costs of the loss of biodiversity and other environmental concerns, Hardin neglects to even mention them; they are dismissed in a single sentence. The true issue resides in that simple, blunt statement, for these topics are exactly the point. What is that finite number of people who can be sustained, and can we nudge it further in the direction of survival?

Critique 3 lifeboat ethics case against aid harms garrett

To ignore this essential statistic is to, once again, provide an argument that lacks support and coherence. Hardin then implements a real-world example in which he emphasizes the correlation between population increases and the depletion of resources: Hardin overlooks the fact that population growth rates are affected by many complex conditions besides food supply. There are vast arrays of socioeconomic conditions that can be identified that motivate parents to have fewer children.

Thus, Hardin neglects to realize that population growth can be controlled effectively by intelligent intervention that sets up these appropriate conditions, rather than a reliance upon the statistics of natural population cycles.

Costa Rica, for example, has a relatively large population and a low GDP, but the birth rate has declined by fifteen percent since the implication of foreign aid has increased industrialization.

Hardin was correct in stating that a particular boat may only hold its limited capacity, but this article needs to push off the inaccurate claims and leave room for those that are relevant if our world is to find a way to end poverty. How to cite this page Choose cite format: