“Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor”, an incomplete view of reality.
Nowadays the world is suffering a big phenomenon in which rich countries are increasing their wealth at the same time that the need and poverty grows in poor countries. What is more, the number of rich countries is decreasing while the number of poor countries is increasing. As a consequence, many thinkersacross the world start to express their ideas of what they think that we have to do in order to face this situation; must rich countries help poor ones? How? If not, which must be their attitude? Also, this expansion of ideas generates many discussions between thinkers and the rest of the people, creating new but related polemic issues that demand our attention: What are the reasons of this phenomenon?Is overpopulation of the world responsible for this situation? Does the material wealth influence our moral wealth? Is this economic situation also a moral issue? Do we have to consider morality in order to face this economic situation? Does society influence our decisions?
Garret Hardin´s essay “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor” demonstrates to us the arguments that supportshis belief “…Hardin argues that the wealthy societies of North America and Western Europe should refuse to subsidize population growth in less-developed countries by providing them with food and other necessities, and that comparatively wealth nations should severely restrict immigration from poorer countries...” (357). Across the essay the author presents effective arguments to support his ideabut the majority of them are weak ones.
There are two reasons for his weakness:
1. The author states his arguments without considering the context in which they are developed.
2. The author contradicted himself.
Hardin presents charity as a problem that try to solve a problem instead of a solution. He says that charity is a “solution” that satisfies poor countries economic situation in ashort term but, create a new deeper problem in the future. He used the Chinese proverb to explain this “…Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he will eat for the rest of his days…” (363) Rich countries must provide poor countries the elements and the possibility to develop their selves. If overpopulation in the world is a problem, rich countries need to show poorones the ways to solve it. By education, for example, overpopulation can be controlled. “…Those lacking education fail to understand the need to prevent excessive growth of population. They are unaware of the ways to control population. They are unable to understand the harmful effects that overpopulation has. Lack of family planning is commonly seen in the illiterate lot of the world…”[http://www.buzzle.com/articles/causes-of-overpopulation.html]
Poor and rich countries live in the same world, so both are responsible for its prosperity. Rich countries become wealthy from the interaction with poor countries. They have a dependent relationship. What is more, they have a relationship that determines their economic situations. Rich countries, specifically those in Europe, are responsible forthe world globalization that exists today. They initiated the immigration process with the colonization. When looking at history we can realize that the actual situations of the different countries are the result of past actions. For instance, the triangle trade, a phenomenon produced during the colonization (1550-1800), established a relationship between Africa, Europe and the New World(Americas). When Western Europe arrived to America they started an exchange in which Europeans provided Africans with alcohol, firearms, and metal waves, while Africans provided them with slaves (African men and women). Those slaves were transported to the Americas and in turn provided Western Europe countries with sugar, tobacco, silver and other goods to Europe.
This trade motivate the development of...
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