The Case Against Helping The Poor

1247 Words5 Pages
One of the most pressing matters the world is facing today is the problem of poverty. There are many things that should be done about poverty, yet much of the world is split, on one side people wanting to help and on the other side people not knowing how to go about it. In Garrett Hardin’s “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor,” Hardin present this case to us using the lifeboat as an analogy for nations on earth. Hardin asserts that all nations on earth are viewed as a series of lifeboats adrift at sea. Each lifeboat has a Foreign limited carrying capacity and limited resources. The richer lifeboats have more capacity, more resources, are better managed, and are self-sufficient. Whereas the poorer lifeboats are overcrowded, and their resources are overburdened, so much so that passengers are abandoning poor lifeboats in hopes of being rescued by the richer lifeboats or at least to be aided threw handouts. With limited resources, and very little capacity, what are the passengers on the rich lifeboats to do? Morally, the just thing to do would come to the aid of the passengers in the water and allow them to board the rich lifeboats. This is the argument Peter Singer proposes in his essay “Famine, Affluence, and Morality.” But here lies the dilemma, by allowing the passengers in the water on board, the Mitchell 2 rich lifeboats soon becomes overcrowded, overburdened, and eventually sinks killing everyone onboard. Thus, Hardin successfully uses the lifeboat metaphor to illustrate the problem of aiding the poor. In doing so Hardin asserts that helping the poor and the underdeveloped ... ... middle of paper ... ... Mitchell 5 Hardin’s argument is more persuasive. I will say this though, before reading “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor,” and writing this essay, I would have agreed with Peter Singer’s point of view. Having said that, I have found myself swayed to Hardin’s side of the argument. As Hardin asserts in his last paragraph, “For the foreseeable future, our survival demands that we govern our actions by the ethics of a lifeboat, harsh though it may be. Posterity will be satisfied with nothing less” (Hardin 592). It is Hardin that proves more persuasive in his argument against helping the poor.
Open Document