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Negative Effects Of Ownership In "Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping The Poor" And "My Wood"

906 words - 4 pages

The controversial subject of ownership is the topic of two essays. In "Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor," Garrett Hardin focuses on the complexity of resource ownership in the world and the few possible solutions. In "My Wood," E. M. Forster illustrates the negative sides of property ownership and the problems it bears on the individual. Although these essays differ in content and development, the main ideas are similar because they both address the negative effects related to ownership. While Hardin shows his arguments by using a lifeboat analogy, Forster takes a different approach by using Biblical allusions. In the end, both essays prove that ownership is not something ...view middle of the document...

Similarly, Hardin looks to selfishly keep his property to himself and believes that he should "admit no more to the lifeboat" (257) and "constantly [be] on guard against boarding parties" (257). The third and final effect of ownership is greed. Forster directly states that his wood "makes [him] feel it ought to be larger" (239) showing that he was unpleased with its current size. Whenever there is a problem, his attitude is that it "would not have occurred had the wood been larger" (239). Forster's greed becomes uncontrollable to the point where he needs "a little more, and then a little more, until [he reaches] the sea" (239). This greed of owning more property affects all humans who own property; it is not until we own something that we are able to see how we can improve on it. On the other hand, Hardin's essay is indirect, proposing that we put an end to the world food bank, leaving the poor nations to fend for themselves. Hardin explains that ownership of food resources is abundant among the richer nations, and they should not contribute their wealth to less fortunate nations. It is this greedy mindset that supports the third effect of ownership - greed.
Another contrast between the two essays is the way they both develop. Hardin's essay is supported with raw facts which are then applied to world situations, whereas Forster gains his credibility by using Biblical allusions. Forster combines his Biblical allusions with the use of detailed imagery to let the reader's imagination play into the essay, which results in a clearer understanding of his opinions. Hardin makes use of numbers to demonstrate that population within the lifeboat is...

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