• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and Evaluate Hardin's 'Lifeboat Ethics'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Outline and Evaluate Hardin's 'Lifeboat Ethics'. In 'Lifeboat Ethics', Hardin puts forward an argument against helping the poor. He claims that the nations of the earth may be seen as a series of lifeboats with limited resources. The richer nations are well-managed and self-sufficient, whilst the lifeboats of the poorer countries are overburdened and overcrowded, so many of their people have fallen out and are in the sea around the richer lifeboats begging to be let in or given handouts. However, the lifeboats of the richer nations are limited in resources and do not have space to allow anyone else in. Whilst it may appear just to rescue the poorer people from the water or share wealth with them, this would result in disaster. The 'boat' would sink or the resources would run out, meaning that everyone would drown. Hardin thus argues that his metaphor demonstrates that, overall, it would be disastrous to help the poor; the world's resources would be exhausted and no-one would survive. However, it can be demonstrated that Hardin's argument fails on several grounds. Not only are many of the assumptions made by Hardin questionably accurate, the lifeboat metaphor itself is too. ...read more.

Middle

The problem would recur and on a worse scale than before; international aid will bring about disaster to all countries, rich and poor alike. However, Hardin fails to recognize the link between poverty and population growth. It is precisely poverty that causes high birth rates. Also, international aid can be linked to population control measures and the type of aid given could be that which makes populations self-sufficient. Even today, in some developing countries birth rates are falling. This happens when a country is sufficiently well-off to enjoy increased literacy, to have some confidence in the future and when women have an improved status and can gain access to birth control. These events do not occur, however, in conditions of starvation. Hardin fails here by neglecting to realize the causes of over-population. His argument that we should allow the starving to die to prevent the poor overpopulating the world is, at best, misguided and, at worst, cruel and indecent. Not only this, but Hardin assumes that resources in the world are limited and that the earth will be unable to sustain a growing population. However, the fact is that enough food is now produced to feed the world's population adequately. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nations do not exist independently of one another; they actually hold very important economic relationships with one another. The situation is completely misrepresented when Hardin tries to claim that each country is self-contained in terms of resources. It is rather the case that members of wealthy nations have consumed vast quantities of the resources of poorer countries and added to political problems in various ways. Hardin is incorrect to claim that we are in well-managed self-sufficient lifeboats; a more appropriate metaphor may be that the wealthy nations are greedy pirate ships that raid the seas for their own excessive benefit, with little or no consideration for the boats of other countries. Many of the problems faced by developing countries today are the result of involvement by the rich nations. If we reconsider the metaphor in this way, it is perhaps possible to see how the richer nations of the world have an obvious link with poorer countries. One could go so far as to say that the systematic exploitation of poorer countries by wealthier nations provides a very good reason as to why the rich nations should take an active part in providing aid to poor countries. As suggested by Murdoch and Oaten in Population and Food: Metaphors and the Reality, "...the policies dictated by a sense of decency are also the most realistic and rational." . ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Population & Settlement section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

Overall, a very well written evaluation of Hardin's theory. It makes good points and is consistent in the argument it makes from the start. The final summary of the evaluation is excellent. The only thing that would strengthen this further is the use of examples as evidence.
5 Stars

Marked by teacher Molly Reynolds 20/08/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Population & Settlement essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How Do Human and Natural Factors Affect the Global Population Distribution?

    4 star(s)

    This is especially due in areas like India. Also an area that is under-populated is likely to have a surplus of resources and this can attract people because there is likely to be things that can be sold and these can bring people money. Overpopulating however can have the reverse effect and people are likely to move to

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Rebranding in the london docklands: case study

    4 star(s)

    Success of rebranding The relative success of the rebranding process can easily be determined simply by looking at interviews and presentations and comparing peoples opinions of the area with the overall percentage of the area which has been regenerated. To illustrate this more clearly, see figure 3.1.

  1. Does quality of life increase as one moves away from CBD of Swansea?

    This would suggest from the hypothesis that the quality of life should be the greatest out of the four previous areas, since it is the furthest away from the CBD. However, this is not the case one the survey was carried out.

  2. London Docklands Case Study.

    Canary Wharf now holds the title of C.B.D. This was mainly because the land here is cheap and easy to relocate many businesses to. When built properly, the whole place will hold space for 70,000 new workers. The Thames barrier was also built in the Docklands to stop the flooding.

  1. Population Distribution in China.

    * The open door Policy - The open door policy allowed investors from outside of China to invest in their businesses and bring financial support and economic stability to the area. This increased jobs and increased population. * Plentiful Labour - Because in certain regions of China labour is far cheaper than in others, so businesses can prosper.

  2. The effects of overpopulation on the environment

    Building 2) Agriculture 3) Dumping waste 4) Quarrying More people means more enviromental dammage. Human activity can pollute all three parts of the enviroment: 1) Water-with sewage, fertilliser and toxic chemicals. The use of fertilliser leads to eutrophication. 2) Air- with smoke and gases such as sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides 3)

  1. I will discuss the differences and inequalities of China as a nation in its ...

    China really has a magnificent physical aspect to the whole country. When looking at the Eastern coast which has a high percentage of the population there and is glowing with new industry and international retailers compared to areas such as the challenging conditions of the South West or better known as the 'Himalayas' where 'Mount Everest' is located.

  2. Geography: Causes of Famine

    Losses because of increased mortality and reduced birth. Estimates at 450,000 Warsaw Ghetto 1941-42 War. Starvation, Starvation estimated to have directly or indirectly taken 43,000 lives Leningrad 1941-44 War. City besieged for 3 years 1,000,000 died directly or indirectly due to starvation Bengal, India 1943-44 Price of rice driven enormously high due to speculation.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work