Lifeboat Ethics Essay

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Here we go: You were flying over the Pacific, but bad weather knocked out the plane’s communications.

To avoid the storm, the pilot then diverted from the plane’s scheduled route.

The writer Garret harden, ecologist researching overpopulation, in his article Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor gives major arguments that would both agree with you and not.

On my behalf to the article, the author intended to raise globally important issues, and having both intrinsic credibility and partially pathos, sometimes, in the text he could pursue the reader.

A terrible hour or so later he lost control and crashed the plane into the ocean. Or someone suggests that, in the interests of fairness, you draw lots to decide who will live and who will die. The first powerful person to draw a bad lot refuses to accept the result. On the lifeboat, it turns out, are an 88-year-old man, someone who broke both legs in the crash, an emotional basket-case, and a 95-pound woman with zero fat reserves — along with a healthy 20-year old male, a woman in the military Special Forces, a middle-aged man who is twenty pounds overweight, and several others.

You and some others survived and managed to climb into an inflatable lifeboat. There are ten of you in a boat designed for four people, with enough food and water for two days. You might assess the situation ruthlessly, point to the water and shout When one of your companions foolishly looks to see — you shove him overboard. Of course the rest see what’s up and begin trying to shove each other overboard. Someone then suggests that, in the interests of equality, everyone share the food and water. A big wave swamps the boat carrying ten people but designed for four; everyone dies. In the ensuing fight to shove him overboard, the strongest prevail and the weakest lose. So as a group you identify the four strongest and, unfortunately, sacrifice the six weakest. But note that they all seem to be converging on a common result: The lifeboat is a strong-versus-weak situation, and the strong will sacrifice the weak. The point of using lifeboats is to help us think through the big questions of life and death by giving us a simplified model of the factors that we must attend to.

Each step is worse than the last, by escalating the number of mismanaged poor.

Eco-Destruction You can't increase food without reducing other resources of many types (e.g., we increase pollution). Immigration What are the real reasons that rich countries permit immigration? But generous immigration means that, over time, we prefer to benefit the children of immigrants, because they will take over the commons (example: compare the lives of Native Americans with those of the people who immigrated into North Dakota.) Door-Shutting The additional problem with immigration is where to draw a line. But of course that's not right, either, since that just puts most Americans into poverty, and almost no one benefits.

The key terms and phrases I could instantly memorize were those about the UN being a toothless tiger, or the term "spaceship" that is perfectly matched with its implication.

The ground of the article is that rich countries should not take care of those of poor.


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