Rats vs Hamsters

A purely hypothetical question:

If you are the government of a country of 10 people, 1 rich 9 starving. If you don’t do anything, the 9 starving people will die.

Alternatively, you can kill the rich person and distribute the wealth to the 9 other people (so they won’t die). Is that ethical?

(the rich guy defends all his wealth with his life, so to take it, you’ll have to kill him)

Is killing by doing nothing killing, too?

I feel there is something fundamentally wrong about how we classify things as good or evil, but I’m not sure what. Any philosopher here?

It seems like an under-specified optimization problem to me. What exactly are we optimizing for? lowest mortality? fairness? average wealth? total wealth? “happiness”?

4 thoughts on “Rats vs Hamsters”

  1. see the real question is . do numbers exist. in our mind. or in our world. or just. do numbers exist? or are they concrete.

      1. One can’t talk of morality without a subject, if we can concede this then the question is the good or bad of the group (where killing for the group takes on a different importance then a purely selfish act.) Or the rich man’s morality.

        Those are my naive assertions in any case.

        1. It could be that it turns out that after killing the “rich man” it is discovered that his “wealth” is poisoned and that he was attempting to keep the people from killing themselves (unable to communicate this.) or perhaps with more subtlety, that the “rich man” believed the goods to be poisoned.

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