Approaches To Environmental Ethics And Kants Principle

.. sent state of world hunger. First, the Commission claims there is a “moral obligation to overcome hunger, based on two universal values – respect for human dignity and social justice.” (396) In the hierarchy of human needs, food is one of the most basic of all, along with air, water and shelter. If these fundamental requirements for life are not met, then higher level needs seem almost to be luxuries and unimportant. Unless all governments of the world actively strive to see that hunger is a tragedy of the past, “the principle that human life is sacred, which forms the very basis of human society, will gradually but relentlessly erode.” (397) The Commission believes the US would be the strongest leader in such a social reform “because of its agricultural productivity, its advanced food technology, and its market power.” (397) They state further that unless the US steps up to this challenge, there is no hope in the foreseeable future for an effective program to eliminate world hunger.

Also, the Commission claims that “coordinated international progress toward social justice” is the only way to global security. Huge armies and advanced warfare technology are only the tip of the iceberg when describing national security. All nations need to work together and help each other to achieve an equality of the most fundamental human rights for life, which should eventually lead to economic development and stability. With such a concerted effort, the security of our nation and, in fact, the world could be a reality. Finally, when the people of the world are not spending all their energy merely to survive, there becomes an opportunity to focus their efforts on becoming “more productive, more equitable and more internationally competitive.” (398) This fact is vitally important to the stability of the US economy.

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Allowing developing nations to starve to death is like cutting off our nose to spite our face. We’re only hurting ourselves in the long run because we are allowing potential trade markets to wither on the vine. 5. Garret Hardin is opposed to the creation of a World Food Bank, labeling it the new commons. The tragedy of the commons is an ethical theory that inevitably leads to a “mutual ruin.” In the analogy of the commons, “the right of each to use it is not matched by an operational responsibility to take care of it” (409).

It is certain that there would be nothing to protect the commons if it is used by all of society. “If everyone would only restrain himself, all would be well; but it takes only one less than everyone to ruin a system of voluntary restraint” (409) That is, if one person does something different than is expected, the whole system will be undermined. This supports Hardin’s view on the World Food Bank. In his article, Hardin describes the World Food Bank as an “international deposition of food reserves to which nations can contribute according to their abilities, and from which nations may draw according to their needs” (409) Hardin gives a couple of negative consequences of this concept. He feels that each organization should be responsible for its own well being. He goes on to say that some may endure suffering but they will learn from these experiences. A wise country should save production in good years to be used in those less plentiful.

However, the majority of governments do not attempt this and they will suffer. With a food bank, these countries will never be motivated to take on responsibility because others will bail them out whenever they are in trouble. The dependence that is obtained from the bank brings the thought that there is no reason to produce food if people will give it away. This ties into the tragedy of the commons. Some countries won’t contribute as much as they are able and some will take too much and destroy it for everyone. Hardin goes on to describe the ratchet effect that would occur with the implementation of the World Food Bank.

He believes that instead of each nation going through a natural cycle of overpopulation followed by an emergency, the population would be pushed upwards with the “inputs of food from the World Food Bank preventing [the population] from moving down” (411). It is this demographic cycle that keeps the population under control. Without the emergency portion, allowing a decrease, the population would continue to grow, leading to different sorts of astronomical problems. After a while, a lack of food will reoccur and again the food bank will provide. However, this time the supply of resources will have to be larger.

Overall, the problem of hunger will not be solved; a Band-Aid will just be applied until the wound resurfaces again. “The process is brought to an end only by the collapse of the whole system” (411). Once the mistake of the food bank is realized, the normal pattern will return. Kai Nielsen, however, doesn’t quite share Hardin’s view. Nielsen is in favor of democratic socialism and would side for a World Food Bank.

He feels that everyone has a right to freedom and autonomy, equality, democracy and justice. A World Food Bank would aim to supply those without these rights, the ability to obtain them. I believe Nielsen would argue that the World Food Bank moves toward more public ownership and control over the means of production. He would take a communal standpoint on this issue and declare that the control of the food would come from the masses and not only a select few. Furthermore, Kai Nielsen would believe that a World Food Bank would distribute freedom. He describes freedom as being autonomous and “the absence of unjustified political and social interference in the pursuit of one’s ends” (359). He would argue that there are those who unjustly lack that freedom without interference and are denied “an equal right to the means of life” (360) Also, he would defend that there should be a movement toward equality of condition.

He states in his article that democratic socialism would move to approximate this equality. I believe he would view the World Food Bank of a step in achieving these rights that some currently don’t have. Philosophy.


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