Annotations on Garrett Hardin’s “Lifeboat Ethics: Case Against Helping the Poor”
I. Ask Questions
doesn’t Hardin present any evidence to support his claim that poor
countries will continue to depend on wealthy nations if they receive aid?
doesn’t Hardin examine other options for helping poor countries become
self-sufficient, such as genetically modified crops?
might it be in the United States best interests to help the poor?
resources does the United States gain from immigrants coming to this
would many wealthy companies be today if there was not a ready supply of
can the United States do to help poor countries become self-sufficient?
II. Make Comments
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.
argument is weakened by its lack of support; there are no reliable facts
and statistics to support his claims.
idea of interfering with nature’s method of population control is cold.
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
V. Underline, Highlight, or Outline Key Points
of the Essay
VI. Circle Vocabulary
to Look Up Later – ethnocentrism, bigots, posterity