Hardin Durning Skinner Essay Draft 2

1480 Words Jul 5th, 2015 6 Pages
Haley Martin
EH 101 – 123
24 April 2015
How Durning and Skinner Proved That Hardin’s Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor Does Not Float In Garrett Hardin’s essay, Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor, Hardin describes the wealthy population of the world as being in a single lifeboat that is almost filled until buckling while the poor population of the world treads water below. Hardin’s essay gets his readers to feel the natural instinct to survive. The lifeboat metaphor that Hardin uses relieves the wealthy population of their moral obligations to the less fortunate, but in addition, puts all of the blame and cause of the depletion of earth’s resources on the poor. As much as his argument may make sense,
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By allowing all of the people in the water onto the boat, then all of the resources that the wealthy people on the boat have will be lost and there would be a survival rate of zero. Hardin states in the beginning of his essay that right now, earth is being treated more as a spaceship than a lifeboat because all of the resources and money is being shared and passed around. The main worry of Hardin’s essay is overpopulation to the point of complete loss of all resources and that the poor are the ones causing all of the resources to disappear because they are growing in population at outstanding rates. There is one thing in his essay that Hardin does not necessarily address and that is overconsumption by the upper-class. The lifeboat is almost full, but it’s not completely full. Why does Hardin want the wealthy to keep the extra space to themselves? This is the problem that Durning addresses in his essay, Asking How Much Is Enough. He states that “consumption has become the central pillar of life in industrial lands, and is even embedded in social values” where he begins to point fingers at the United States and Japan (405). Hardin seems to have forgotten to mention the middle-class and seems to only focus on two social classes when there are three present. Durning states that “American children have more pocket money…than the half-billion poorest people alive” (404). The

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