The Singer Solution To World Poverty Ap Essay Examples

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Brianna Derevjanik  AP English Language and Composition July 11


 , 2013

 “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor” 

1. According to Hardin, what metaphor do environmentalist use to describe the earth? Why is this unsuitable? What metaphor does Hardin prefer?  According to Hardin, environmentalists describe Earth as a spaceship, and this metaphor is unsuitable partially because Earth on a whole does not follow the same code of ethics as a spaceship would, and partially because Earth does not have a single

 “captain.” Hardin prefers to compare Earth to a lifeboat.

2. Describe Hardin’s hypothetical lifeboat situa

tion. Whom do those in the boat represent? Whom do those in the water represent? Briefly describe the three lifeboat scenarios he presents and the ultimate result of each.

In Hardin’s hypothetical lifeboat situation, those in the boat represent rich nations of

the world, while the people in the water represent poor people and nations. The first possible scenario is that fifty people in a lifeboat with room for ten more allow in all one hundred people in the water around them, causing the lifeboat to sink and everyone to go down with it. The second scenario is that only ten people are let in, since that is all the lifeboat has room for; however, not only does this create a problem in choosing which ten of the hundred to save and how to explain to the other ninety that you are

letting them drown, it also results in the loss of the lifeboat’s “safety factor,” and should

anything go wrong, the boat is now out of extra room and problems become unsolvable. The third scenario is that no one additional is allowed in the boat, and with

the extra ten spaces kept empty as a “safety factor,” all fifty people in the boat are

safe, and the other one hundred drown.

3. How do Hardin’s statistics about reproductive differences between rich and

poor nations complicate “the harsh ethics of the lifeboat”?

Hardin’s statistics about the difference in reproductive rates basically intensifies the so

called harshness of the ethics of the lifeboat. Since those in the water double in population more than twice as fast as those in the lifeboats, it means more and more lives of the poor people are lost.

4. What does Hardin mean by the phrase “the tragedy of the commons”?

Paraphrase one of his examples.

By, “the tragedy of commons,” Hardin means that humans, being an imperfect species, will not recognize everyone else’s needs when working with shared resources. A single

person who does not restrict themselves in the way everyone else does will throw off

the balance. One of Hardin’s examples is a single farmer using a field and doing what is

best for him and the field, since the field is solely his and he relies on it for continued support. In a shared field, each farmer could do what is best for them and overload the field, ruining it for every other farmer.5. Summarize three objections Hardin has to the creation of a World Food Bank.

One of Hardin’s objections to the creation of a World Food Band is that many of the

people who support it claim it is the solution to a present emergency. Feeding people

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