Hardin 's Lifeboat Analogy : An Interesting Situation

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Hardin’s lifeboat analogy proposes an interesting situation. If a lifeboat with 50 people on board and a capacity of 60 floated past 100 other people in the water, who would we take, if anyone? If we tried to take everyone, the boat would capsize and everyone would either become stranded or die. It would lead to “complete justice, complete catastrophe” (Hardin 1). If we took no one, we would constantly have to stave off desperate people climbing on board and those who claim entitlement. If we decide to push our lifeboat to its limits, and add 10 more people, how would we choose who to take? What I gather from this is that there’s no truly correct solution. If we take everyone, we all die. If we take no one, we get shamed and blamed for leaving others behind. If we take a select few, we get called out as biased by those who weren’t selected. Population is one of the key points that Hardin stresses. Still thinking in terms of the lifeboat example, “The people in the lifeboat are doubling in numbers once every 87 years; those swimming around outside are doubling, on the average, every 35 years…” In the real world, developing countries’ populations are multiplying at an exponential rate, and the world’s resources can only dwindle.Hardin states that in 1970 the US had a population of 210 million people, who were increasing at a rate of .08 percent a year. In terms of the lifeboat example, Hardin says that we should imagine that same number of people outside the boat, only

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