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In the article, Lifeboat Ethics: the case against helping
the poor, the author’s: Garrett Hardin main argument is that rich nations
should not help poor nations I disagree with Hardin’s argument because he seems
to make assumptions about nations. First, he describes nations as lifeboats but
are they really? No. Because of science we can prevail over any natural imposed
limit. Secondly, he only considers the capacity of the boat as the only factor
to cause a boat to sink. However, there are natural disasters and other factors
that can cause lifeboat nations to sink. I believe an ethical egoist would
agree with Hardin’s argument because they believe that the rich nations denying
help to poor nations is their way of pursuing their interest, which is
completely right. While, Act utilitarians would disagree with Hardin’s argument
because his decisions will not produce the best overall results for all nations.

Hardin gave an example
in the article, where they are fifty persons in a lifeboat with maximum
capacity of sixty and surrounding the boat on sea are one hundred individuals
wanting to come on board. What should be done? First, he states that allowing
one hundred persons to come aboard would be catastrophic and therefore is not
the right solution. Unfortunately, not everyone can be saved so then should be
allowed? Hardin says that ten swimmers can be offered the space based on who
comes first or the ten most advanced individuals. Regardless of the decision,
ninety persons will still be excluded. There will be some on the lifeboat who may
feel guilty of leaving the others, but they have the option of giving up their
seat in exchange for one of them. Lastly, Hardin proposes that a solution that promise
the fifty persons’ survival is to not allow any extras on board. This will make
sure that the carrying capacity is not exceed.

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In the World Food Bank
section, Hardin talks about the purpose of the World food bank; is an
international depository of food reserves to which nations would contribute
money per their abilities to help feed the hungry. He believes giving to the
food bank and subsequently to the hungry in poor nations, will continue the
cycle of hungry and drain the world’s food reserve. He supports this claim with
the notion that poor nations population increase faster than rich nations, and
will always grow and need more food even if giving aid.

In immigration versus
food supply, he argues that world food banks move food to the people thereby
hastening the destruction of the environment of the rich countries, he reasons
that the  

because the United
States is quick to accept immigrants into the country because they provide
cheap labor, is not only bad to the carrying capacity of the Americas Lifeboat
but to the resources used by the lifeboat. He also believes that immigrants are
supported by selfish interests and humanitarian whims.

I disagree with the authors argument for these reasons,
First, Hardin focuses on the idea that nations of the earth are like Lifeboats,
as explained. However, due to scientific research, nations have no carrying capacity.
While it’s true that countries waste and abuse non-renewable resources, I do
not believe without them our countries cannot survive. The quickness, precision
and advancement of scientific research should be able to provide answers address
population issues.  Let’s say, Hardin is
correct in describing nations as Lifeboats with a specific carrying capacity
but does having the right amount of people on the Lifeboat guarantee its
survival, no. There are other factors that can make a lifeboat sink such as a
large enough wave, a natural disaster or malfunctioning of the boat, it is not
relevant whether the lifeboat is filled or scantily filled, the boat can still
drown. Again, Hardin makes assumptions about how poor nations will rceive help
but not give anything in return, which is untrue. As from the article, the poor
give by offering cheap labor and the country’s economy grows, hence boosting
the economy. He makes another assumption that giving aid will give rise to the
needs for more aid but this might not be true. It is possible that because of
the help, the poor focus on getting a job rather than looking for food and when
getting a job earn money and thereby their needs decreases.

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