Close and Critical Reading of Hardin’s
“Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor”
Elizabeth Redwine’s Instructions
The first seven questions tried to get the students to do some effective close reading. Since the students had read this essay for homework, this was an attempt to get them to do a second reading with guided questions. Since this is a controversial persuasive essay, in the final discussion point, I presented a counter argument to help a discussion follow the close reading.
The reading is in Reading the World, but here is a link to the reading as well: http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_lifeboat_ethics_case_against_helping_poor.html
- Paraphrase his space ship metaphor.
- Paraphrase his lifeboat metaphor.
- What does he mean by “the tragedy of the commons”?
- Why is Hardin against the World Food Bank?
- What is Hardin’s issue with immigration?
- Where do you agree and/or disagree with Hardin?
- How would you use this source in a paper or a revision?
- My own two cents is that although Hardin is right about the fact that there are limits to what the earth can sustain, we hear nothing about the over-consumption in our own and many other cultures, particularly Western cultures. If he is going to talk about problems of immigration and overpopulation of so called third world countries as the root of ecological disaster, he might also look at the cultural trend in our country of private jets, wasted food, and unlimited consumption. What do you think? You are welcome to disagree with me and/or Hardin. For this answer, find one or more outside sources on the issues he raises.