Lifeboat Ethics Summary

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The two arguments at hand are- “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor and A Modest Proposal.” Lifeboat Ethics is written by author Garrett Hardin. Hardin is known for his theory of “the tragedy of the commons.” Hardin’s ironic approach made the reader become disconnected while reading the article. He believes that the rich people should not help the poor people. Hardin states an old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he will eat for the rest of his days.” (177) Even though his approach is harsh, he believes that the outcome for future generations will be better. Hardin uses logic but had no empathy for the people in regards of whom to let in the boat and whom to let drown.
Next, we have “A Modest Proposal” by author Jonathan Swift. Swift, born in Ireland to a wealthy family. His parents were hard workers and provided a comfortable life for him. Swift had no worries with financial or family matters. After losing his father, Swift’s life took a turn for the worse. He became one of the others. Others as we read were considered the lower class. It was rumored “others” were classified as alcoholics, lazy workers, oppressors and tramps. Swift speaker uses a logical plan to do away with hunger and poverty.
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This article uses cannibalism of children as a metaphoric display which is graphic yet logical to prove his point. For example, he gives a great description of how one would cook the babies to keep the reader intrigued. The idea of such acts is horrible yet hilarious, once it’s discovered what Swift’s real plan is. He want people to think about the prime causes of poverty and hunger, which Swift wants to end. Swift applies a creative argument that suggest one solution while actually arguing for a different
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