Hardin - "Living on a Lifeboat" in James E. Although people talk about our common bonds here on "spaceship earth," that metaphor is misleading. A better metaphor is a lifeboat. The rich people of the world are in one of the lifeboats, and the poor are in the water, drowning. Most people are drowning.

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Hardin, also states that while the resources available are limited the human population is constantly on the rise and hence there must be stricter policies to control the ever-expanding population.

While explaining this, Hardin compares the land occupied by a group of people to a lifeboat. A lifeboat can accommodate only a certain number of people and there is an unused excess capacity that contributes to the safety factor of the boat.

Likewise, there must always be room for excess capacity within a nation without overpopulating the land available and it is the responsibility of every individual to ensure that this capacity is always maintained irrespective of being poor or rich. The needs of any given nation will rise with an increase in the population and any amount of sharing between the richer and poorer nations will not improve the situation any further. Citing the tragedy of commons, Hardin explains that the sharing of common resources without the responsibility to protect them would only lead to ruins.

The misuse of air and water which is common to all can be adequately controlled by creating awareness through education. While supporting the establishment of humanitarian groups such as the world food bank and programs like the food for peace initiated by the U. S, the author does not hesitate to point out to the vested interest of the governments which are indirectly benefited through such schemes at the cost of the taxpayers.

Thus all such acts of humanity should be devoid of any selfish interest and must work towards doing better than harm. Additionally, without solely relying on aid from others even the poorer countries should learn the art of budgeting and save resources for emergencies. This system of keeping a check on their resources would also help to control the population growth.

Another solution that could be adopted to minimize dependency on foreign aid would be to adopt newer technologies such as the green revolution which promise greater yields and better resistance to crop damage through some section of people do argue about the real consequences of increasing food production raising questions about the impact that it could have on the population growth.

It should, however, also be borne in mind that increasing food supply would only decrease the number of other resources such as forests and natural pastures which are also required by man thus putting an extra strain on the environment.

Adding to this burden would be the rising number of immigrants as an increasing number of immigrants in rich countries would only exhaust their resources and destroy environments. The rising need for cheap labor added to other vested interests of the country contribute to such actions through certain countries like Hawaii are wary about the increasing number of immigrants.

However, people in America might question how immigrants can be kept out as all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants in one way or the other.

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Lifeboat Ethics by Garrett Hardin – Article Example

Articles and Essays by Garrett Hardin An Ecolate View of the Human Predicament view article "As a result of discussions carried out during the past decade I now suggest a better wording of the central idea: Under conditions of overpopulation, freedom in an unmanaged commons brings ruin to all. No thoughtful person is willing to assume that mere animal survival is acceptable when the animal is Homo sapiens. We want to know what the environment will carry in the way of cultural amenities, where the word culture is taken in the anthropological sense to include all of the artifacts of human existence: institutions, buildings, customs, inventions, knowledge When dealing with human problems, I propose that we abandon the term carrying capacity in favor of cultural carrying capacity or, more briefly cultural capacity.


Articles and Essays by Garrett Hardin

Hardin uses the metaphor of a lifeboat to make his argument Lifeboat ethics is a metaphor for resource distribution proposed by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in The lifeboat is in an ocean surrounded by a hundred swimmers. The " ethics " of the situation stem from the dilemma of whether and under what circumstances swimmers should be taken aboard the lifeboat. Hardin asserts that the spaceship model leads to the tragedy of the commons. In contrast, the lifeboat metaphor presents individual lifeboats as rich nations and the swimmers as poor nations. Other issues which can be raised include: Is it acceptable to deny an obviously dying passenger food and water to save it for others with a better chance to make it?


Lifeboat ethics

The article starts by describing the difference between the spaceship ethic, which is where we should share resources because all needs and shares are equal, and the lifeboat ethic, we should not share our resources and using this ethic we should not help the poor. He argues because of limited resources, tragedy of commons and no true world government to control reproduction and use of available resources, we should govern our actions by the ethics of lifeboat. The main argument is as follows: 1. If we have limited resources, then we should govern our actions by ethics of lifeboat and not share our resources. We have limited resources.


Environmentalists use the metaphor of the earth as a "spaceship" in trying to persuade countries, industries and people to stop wasting and polluting our natural resources. Since we all share life on this planet, they argue, no single person or institution has the right to destroy, waste, or use more than a fair share of its resources. But does everyone on earth have an equal right to an equal share of its resources? The spaceship metaphor can be dangerous when used by misguided idealists to justify suicidal policies for sharing our resources through uncontrolled immigration and foreign aid. In their enthusiastic but unrealistic generosity, they confuse the ethics of a spaceship with those of a lifeboat. A true spaceship would have to be under the control of a captain, since no ship could possibly survive if its course were determined by committee. Spaceship Earth certainly has no captain; the United Nations is merely a toothless tiger, with little power to enforce any policy upon its bickering members.

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