Garret Hardin Lifeboat Ethics A Case Against Helping The Poor Analysis

769 Words 4 Pages
Originally appearing in Psychology Today in September 1974 as part of a longer essay, “Lifeboat Ethics: A Case Against Helping the Poor” wryly illustrates Garret Hardin’s viewpoints on the socioeconomic dynamic that is the relationship between the rich and the poor. Hardin, a former ecology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, defends his stance on whether or not the rich have any moral obligations to aid the poor with the visual metaphor of a lifeboat near full capacity surrounded by “the poor of the world.” The piece argues that in order for the social, economical, ecological, and financial flow of the nations to retain any sort of normalcy, then there must be a line drawn: undoubtedly with the poor on one side and the …show more content…
In completely cutting out one of the larger economic groups, the middle class, I feel that Hardin’s argument looses credibility in that his only variables are the elite and the poor. If the object of his argument is to take a look at the supposed responsibilities of opposing social classes, I feel that on the wide spectrum of what nations are considered rich, middle class, and poor, in focusing on the two extremes of that spectrum, he fails to acknowledge where in the lifeboat scenario the middle class would fall and what their duties to the poor would be. In the piece, Hardin does briefly acknowledge the possible uses and reasonings of the rich taking on the burdens of the poor. He parallels both Christian and Marxists ideals of beings a, “brother’s keeper” and “to each according to his needs.” However, in using these as evidences towards the responsibilities of the rich to the poor, he argues that in doing so, it does away with the “excess capacity” of each nation and would only lead to the ecologic demise, or “swamp[ing]” of that nation (or

Related Documents