Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping The Poor
Hardin’s thesis is that food distribution in the world is a moral issue that can and will affect the future of the entire world and it inhabitants I quote , “Since we all share life on this planet, they argue, no single person or institution has the right to destroy, waste, or use more than a fair share of its resources. In the thirty some years since this essay was published, we are feeling the effects of his subject daily. The price of food products are going up due to the cost of energy to grow crops, the ever increasing demand, and the use of taking land once used for growing food now being used for growing energy producing crops.
Hardin uses the lifeboat metaphor as a metaphor for two reasons. First, due to the life and death signifance of this subject a lifeboat conjures up an image of survival. A spaceship gives one the image of a trip. Secondly, as Hardin points out,” A true spaceship would have to be under the control of a captain since no ship could possibly survive if its course were determined by committee”. It is very apparent that earth has no, nor will it ever have a, single captain, therefore making the metaphor a non-realistic one.
Hardin uses the tragedy of commons, as a way to explain that the “haves” sharing with “have-nots” does nothing to enable the have-nots to become haves. He contends that the haves have a sense of responsibility to protect what they have and have acquired but the “have-nots” do not and would ruin it out of this lack of proprietorship.
The Food for Peace program cost the U.S. taxpayers in two ways. Taxpayers had to pay increased taxes to pay for the program and pay more at the grocery store because of an artificially created (by the Food for Peace program) scarcity of certain food products.
Hardin sees this same scenario being repeated if a World Food Bank program is established. He feels that these programs benefit mainly the...