In discussions of world poverty, a controversial issue has been how to provide aid to countries in need. On the one hand, some argue that aide should be immediate relief of famine, dehydration, and sickness. From this perspective, we should try to save every life that we can. On the other hand, however, others argue that providing immediate relief makes the problem worse. In the words of Garret Hardin, one of this view’s main proponent’s, “As a result of such solutions to food shortage emergencies, the poor countries will not learn to mend their ways, and will suffer progressively greater emergencies as their populations grow” (332). According to this view, famine relief will be detrimental in the long run. There is a shortage of food because the population is too large, and by allowing more people to live and reproduce, the food shortage will become more severe. In sum, then, the issue is whether aid should be used for immediate relief.
I have mixed feelings about Hardin’s lifeboat model. Though I agree with Hardin when he says that immediate relief is allowing the cycle of destruction to continue, I maintain that aid can be used to create self-sustaining and regenerative infrastructure. Although some might object that ignoring people who are dying is wrong, I would reply that it is more important to prevent the problem from continuing in the future. The issue is important because almost half of the world lives in poverty.
Providing aid as immediate relief doesn’t inspire countries to take care of themselves. The World Food Bank is a system where countries deposit excess food and other countries withdraw what they need. However, Hardin makes a bold claim that, “If it is open to every country every time a need develops, slovenly ...
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...ectric car that outclasses the common combustion engines because he moved to the United States where he was able to flourish, taking half the world out of poverty, billions of people, and connecting them to the global community will undoubtedly reveal great thinkers and innovators that we need to save ourselves.
Short term planning for foreign aid is detrimental, but long term planning can increase quality of life for everyone involved. Hardin’s essay has a lot of convincing arguments and really explains the ways that we shouldn’t give aid, but he doesn’t consider how aid could be beneficial for the people who give. For people like me, we need to have a reason to give up what we’ve worked for. All I need to do is think about the role model Elon Musk is for me, and how many more Mr. Musk’s there must be in the four billion people who don’t have opportunities like us.
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