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Critical Analysis of Hardin’s Arguments in Lifeboat Ethics

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In “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor” I do find the counterclaim to be unreasonable. The counterclaim of the argument is that the government should not help the poor due to its limited resources. It is not reasonable. I feel the government should give its resources to the poor instead of using it on things we don’t need.

It would not hurt to put a few things aside in order to help the poor. In “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor” that is not the case. In the text it states “To be generous, let us assume it has room for 10 more, making a total capacity of 60. Suppose the 50 of us in the lifeboat see 100 others swimming in the water outside, begging for admission to our boat or for handouts.” which is soon followed by “But which 10 do we let in? How do we choose? Do we pick the best 10” statements after this include how this is an example of America. Here’s the issue. There is a possible way to determine which 10. Think about it, what if there’s people who already have illnesses, or are old and are not that far from death. Maybe there’s adults who can manage to find land. We could compare those people to babies and kids who have a whole life ahead of them and are too small to figure out a solution. We could pick the kids and babies over the older ones: Not because we are favoring, but because the youth need more help than the others. We could also pick the poor over the rich and give the poor more things than the rich; Not because we are favoring, but because the poor need help more than the rich.

The essay also includes information about the Food for Peace program. Garrett Hardin goes against it. Stated in the essay, “Those who proposed and defended the Food for Peace program in public rarely mentioned its importance to any of these special interests.” Garrett clearly states that the program is not a good idea. This is not true. The program has many benefits and it’s honestly a little selfish to say its a bad idea. Most people are educated on the program and don’t say the importance of it simply because the program really just speaks for itself. The program is all about giving food to the poor. Garrett argues against it saying the government is giving our food storage away. He makes it sound convincing by saying, “The combination of silent selfish interests and highly vocal humanitarian apologists made a powerful and successful lobby for extracting money from taxpayers. We can expect the same lobby to push now for the creation of a World Food Bank.” The “World Food Bank” was a perfect demonstration of how Garrett feels about the government helping the poor. He makes it seem like the world revolves around the poor which leads to the rich getting no recommendation. What he doesn’t understand is that peoples lives matter more than getting recognized more than others.

Garrett also includes information about how people give out of pity. Stated in the text, “ ‘But it isn’t their fault!’ Some kind-hearted liberals argue. ‘How can we blame the poor people who are caught in an emergency? Why must they suffer for the sins of their governments?’ The concept of blame is simply not relevant here. The real question is, what are the operational consequences of establishing a world food bank?” He makes it sound really convincing by saying what is the real question here, but let’s go back to the statements he said others say. It is true that some can’t help themselves. Garrett is saying there’s bigger concerns. What can be a bigger concern than people’s lives? Nothing can. Sure some did it to themselves, but it’s all mistakes, They want a new life, a new start. How is giving them a little food wrong? How will it ruin others lives. How will it even effect anyone even in the smallest ways? The government should take blame for the homeless. Legalizing drugs is the main issue in america. Highering the prices does nothing but make things worse. If someone gives a homeless person money, they will most likely spend it on drugs. If someone gives a homeless person food, they will eat the food. What is so wrong about the food program? If it was a money program it would be understandable, but what is so wrong about food?

In conclusion, Garrett did not have a reasonable claim. The poor needs help more than the rich. It is not about favoring, but about how we need to do all we can to save as many lives as we can. Garrett talked about how the food program wasted out food storage. We did not waste but instead used it for a good cause. We could possibly find more solutions to higher the storage, but not allowing the poor to receive food from the government is not a solution, it only makes things worse. 

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Critical Analysis Of Hardin’s Arguments In Lifeboat Ethics. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from
“Critical Analysis Of Hardin’s Arguments In Lifeboat Ethics.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021,
Critical Analysis Of Hardin’s Arguments In Lifeboat Ethics. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jan. 2022].
Critical Analysis Of Hardin’s Arguments In Lifeboat Ethics [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2022 Jan 21]. Available from:
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