Hypothetical situation and Kant’s deontology

Paul Peng

  1. What metaphor/analogy does Hardin use for our current situation in regard to “Third World” countries? Why does Hardin reject the spaceship metaphor? What other metaphors/analogies did notice in Hardin’s argument?
    Hardin uses the “spaceship” metaphor to describe our current situation with regard to Third World countries. Hardin rejects the metaphor because he believes that everyone on earth doesn’t always have an equal share on Earth’s resources.
  2. What is the “Tragedy of the Commons”? Explain the concept of “the commons” and give an example of a resource that could be considered a “commons.”
    Tragedy of the Commons is the fundamental error that occurs when everyone is allow equal resources. Allowing everyone to use a shared resource will mean that one person ruining the resource would result in everyone else demise. An example of the resource in the commons could be a farmer pasture. Allowing everyone to herd their cows and sheep in the farmer pasture could result in a greedy herdsman allowing his animals to eat up all the grass.
  3. What does Hardin consider to be the problem with helping needy countries through programs such as the World Food Bank?
    He believes that there are many unintended consequences of helping needy countries through programs. The example he gives resulted in an increased demand of grains which raised the prices of farm products. Manufacturers of farm equipment benefited greatly from the increased demands, while U.S. taxpayers suffered from subsidizing the program.
  4. What are Hardin’s views on immigration?
    Hardin believes immigration is similar to the food supply situation. If we allow unrestricted immigration, people would flood countries with adequate resources and quickly drain the resource pool. Other problems would result from the increase in labor pool and decrease of labor wages.
  5. Is Hardin a Utilitarian? Why or why not?
    Hardin is a Utilitarian. He believes that not helping those in need would greatly benefit the net happiness of society as a whole. Helping those in “Third World” countries would only cause the problem to increase because those in poverty would just multiply and their environment would still be the same. Immigration of those in poverty would just spread the problem to countries that have abundant resources and the “Tragedy of the Commons” would be the consequence.