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Life Boat Ethics

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Summary and Analysis on Lifeboat Ethics

In his essay “Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor,” Garrett Hardin focuses on his argument against helping the poor. He argues that poor countries will have a massive population which will overload the environment, the poor are complacent, and also the fact that earth can only support a finite amount of people. Hardin’s argument is convincing because it is based on a known fact; each population requires a specific amount of resources in order to maintain itself, but when the population exceeds this finite number, there will be an insufficient amount of resources. Hardin believes that ignoring poor countries and focusing on wealthy countries will ensure the prosperity for the future.

Hardin states the increase in population differs from rich countries and poor countries. In Hardin’s argument, he states that, “As of 1973, the U.S had a population of 210 million people, who were increasing by 0.8 percent per year … another 210 million people (say the combined populations of Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines) who are increasing at a rate of 3.3 percent per year. Put differently, the doubling time for this aggregate population is 21 years, compared to 87 years for the U.S.” as we all know, the earth has a limited amount of resources, this justifies Hardin’s argument of ignoring poor countries (page 2 line11-15). But with Hardin’s argument is a prediction error. Hardin stated that the population of India (starting at 600million people) will swell to 1.2 billion people within 28 years, yet the population of India did not reach that number until 2010 with a population of 1.206 billion. Never the less, Hardin‘s argument of overloading our environment is a known truth; due to the massive populations being unable to support itself, the united nations created an...

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