A famous Chinese proverb goes: “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.” Although this wise advice was given thousands of years ago, nowadays looks like no powerful or rich government on Earth understands that sentence.
Garrent Hardin, author of “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor” show us an honest perspective on how the rich countries in the world, by donating food and money, instead of helping poor countries get out of their misery, cause more hunger and strife. In addition, he tells us that overpopulation in poor countries should be controlled soon, or the current situation will turn ugly very fast.
Although Hardin’s evidence is almost indisputable, his position is not. I understand why the author believes that helping poor people is a bad idea but he isn’t looking at many others sides of the situation. At the beginning, my reaction was the opposite. I was totally convinced by Hardin’s theory. I desperately sought a place within a “lifeboat!” But after discussing the essay in class, and hearing myself repeat Hardin’s words that express his indifference about poor people, and also rethinking his thesis in which poor people don’t have a chance for a better life, I changed my position. I can’t support those ideas because in my own point of view, they are false. It is just not true. Some countries and some societies already made a change. Some countries like South Korea, Singapore and China have broken the poverty cycle. We shouldn’t be so negative and we must remember that even the poorest people on the planet have imagination, ideas, beliefs and an imperative necessity to change their own universe.
However, I think that the answer is within Hardin’s thesis too. Poor people don’t need food and clothes only in cases of emergency. Instead, they need a few rich governments interested in giving them tools and ways to improve their economies, to develop their ideas and to use their creative minds. Without that little help all life in this planet will disappear. So, helping the poor is also a way of helping everyone else, even rich people. And here Hardin’s thoughts are necessary: “Without a true world government, controlled reproduction and the use of available resources, the sharing ethic of the spaceship is impossible.” (Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor. Pg. 310.) If the poorest destroy their natural resources, the consequences will be for everyone, regardless of how much each possesses.
In conclusion, I think Hardin is correct when he asks about the future on Earth, if we take statistics and analyze their results for the year 2050. However, his position against helping poor people and trying to eliminate them from the face of the Earth is wrong. I believe in a true world, where rich countries use their development technology and their healthy, well-nourished minds to decrease the percentage of poverty in the world, and where everyone wins the right to live in this, our planet Earth.
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Topic: Poverty and Lifeboat Ethics
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