Although I am loath to ask a Covid 19 related question, one particular current debate caught my attention.
Most readers are probably aware of the gemara in Bava Metzia 62a where we find the rule one should utilize all his resources to save himself instead of dying along with his friend. See the quotation and translation from sefaria below.
Does this apply to a countries resources? Recently it has become publicly known that the President of the United States feels a certain company (3M) has no right to be selling masks to foreign countries when America is in dire need of them. As of now it seems the company is refusing to abide. This is not a question about American or international law. This is a question what would halacha dictate in this type of situation?
Part of the company's reason to refuse is international backlash, including loss of imports of other life saving devices. This seems to be happening already with Canada's response. Would this weigh in on applying Rabi Akiva's rule?
Also, according to halacha, would there be a difference if it were a natural resource vs a private company's product?
As usual with my questions, I don't require answers to be sourced, but if they exist, mah to u'ma na'im.
ורבי יוחנן האי וחי אחיך עמך מאי עביד ליה מבעי ליה לכדתניא שנים שהיו מהלכין בדרך וביד אחד מהן קיתון של מים אם שותין שניהם מתים ואם שותה אחד מהן מגיע לישוב דרש בן פטורא מוטב שישתו שניהם וימותו ואל יראה אחד מהם במיתתו של חבירו עד שבא ר' עקיבא ולימד וחי אחיך עמך חייך קודמים לחיי חבירך
The Gemara asks: And Rabbi Yoḥanan, what does he do with this verse: “And your brother shall live with you”? The Gemara answers: He requires the verse for that which is taught in a baraita: If two people were walking on a desolate path and there was a jug [kiton] of water in the possession of one of them, and the situation was such that if both drink from the jug, both will die, as there is not enough water, but if only one of them drinks, he will reach a settled area, there is a dispute as to the halakha. Ben Petora taught: It is preferable that both of them drink and die, and let neither one of them see the death of the other. This was the accepted opinion until Rabbi Akiva came and taught that the verse states: “And your brother shall live with you,” indicating that your life takes precedence over the life of the other.