Lifeboat Ethics and People

Category: Ethics, Poverty
Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
Pages: 3 Views: 508

Garrett Hardin (b. 1915) is interested in natural science who publishes this to the people who does not know that much information. He graduated at the University of Chicago and at Stanford University where he received Ph.D. which help him in his passion of being a connector between society and an environment. The books he has written so far are for example, Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor (1974).

Helping people that are less fortunate perpetuates the cycle of misfortune and has nothing to help them. In terms of studying an environment earth is called a “spaceship” to better develop the idea of world ethics where people live in societies with different rules and powers. Those who are seen as rich ones live on lifeboats and poor ones are in water swimming around them. People from not developed countries keep trying to board on the “lifeboat” in order to survive but “we must recognize the limited capacity of any lifeboat” (Hardin 478) because otherwise no one will survive. The reason for this is the significant difference between growth of population the poor and rich countries.

The amount of increasing poor countries would in quarter of the decade significantly damage the rich ones by consumption and after a decade they might sink them down completely. “The fundamental error of spaceship ethics, and the sharing it requires, is that it leads to what I call the tragedy of the commons” (480). The way how to help poor people to survive was to create a world food bank but “a wise and competent government saves out of the production of the good years in anticipation of bad years to come” (481), moreover the not advanced countries would take it all and not give back.

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The final decision goes from old Chinese adage: “Give a man a fish and he will east for a day; teach him how to fish and he will eat for rest of his days” which solves the situation. However, the environment, such as, forests or beaches at the expense of the rising population decreases for example, India and its increasing population every year by 15 million.

The author seems that he know what he talks about in this article according to his evidence that he is deep focus in his passion for nature and received degrees in high status universities in a similar subject. He did not mention any sources of information he used which could prove his believes. He truly stated facts such as, the population growth is increasing with an example, of India or that rich countries drive the world principles and not economically advanced countries need a help from them and makes the article persuasive.

The whole piece leads to conclusion where the author comes back to his first paragraph including information about ethics and control of people’s behavior. People sometimes do not always choose the right decisions based on their culture, location, and thinking. Author tries to explain how they should perceive the world around them and be aware of change in a future according to environmentalists. Even though that the article was written more than thirty years ago it apposite the people’s way of doing things and especially the population growth and the end of the text leads into overall successful summary.

According to what is happening in the world in the 21st century this paper shows its true contain. He gives a real manner of how society should look like in order to establish the atmosphere which could consequently better associate people from different side of a boat. People without any rules will live with a status called Anarchy which has never accomplished any success. People’s ancestors for example, in Babylon used to have a social system where rich were in head of the town and poor had to work hard for them. Although Babylon disappeared most likely because of natural disaster, the system brought them power and prosperity.

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Lifeboat Ethics and People. (2016, Jul 03). Retrieved from

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