Annotations on Garrett Hardin’s “Lifeboat Ethics: Case Against Helping the

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    Annotations on Garrett Hardin’s “Lifeboat Ethics: Case Against Helping the Poor”

    I. Ask Questions

     

    1. Why doesn’t Hardin present any evidence to support his claim that poor countries will continue to depend on wealthy nations if they receive aid?
    2. Why doesn’t Hardin examine other options for helping poor countries become self-sufficient, such as genetically modified crops?
    3. Why might it be in the United States best interests to help the poor?
    4. What resources does the United States gain from immigrants coming to this country?
    5. Where would many wealthy companies be today if there was not a ready supply of cheap labor?
    6. What can the United States do to help poor countries become self-sufficient?

    II.  Make Comments

    • I think that Hardin’s metaphor doesn’t properly portray the true picture of the United States. Instead of a lifeboat, the United States is more like a yacht.
    • Hardin’s argument is weakened by its lack of support; there are no reliable facts and statistics to support his claims.
    • Hardin’s idea of interfering with nature’s method of population control is cold.
    • Genetically modified foods might be the answer to help feed people in poor countries.

    III.  Draw Connections

    Oprah Winfrey had a program on the number of people dying from disease and hunger in Africa. Just getting clean water represented a daily problem. A small amount of money can really go a long way in a poor country.

    IV.   Paraphrase Striking Passages (To paraphrase state the author’s ideas in your own words; it is a little more detailed than the summary)

    Comparing the commons to a pasture, Hardin contends that the poor will graze until the soil is depleted. He notes that it is the responsibility of the wealthy to protect the land and prevent this from happening (4).

    Hardin points out that no matter how great the difficulty, the United States needs to stand firm in protecting the environment for its children’s futures (13).

    V.   Underline, Highlight, or Outline Key Points of the Essay

    VI. Circle Vocabulary to Look Up Later – ethnocentrism, bigots, posterity

     


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