The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,985 times Debate No: 43499
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




Note: This is for lincoln douglass debators only. I am practicing for my next tournament.

There was not room to put this in the blank for the topic but we are only debating instances where environmental protection and resource extraction are in conflict.

"A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself." It is because I agree with Franklin D. Roosevelt that I am compelled to affirm today"s resolution which states Resolved:

For clarification of today"s round I offer the following definitions:

Developing Country- a country having a standard of living or level of industrial production well below that possible with financial or technical aid; a country that is not yet highly industrialized (

Should- used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone"s actions (New Oxford American Dictionary)

Prioritize- designate or treat (something) as more important than other things (New Oxford American Dictionary)
Prioritize- to organize (things) so the most important thing is done or dealt with first (Merriam Webster)

Environmental Protection- environmental guardianship based on policies and procedures (Black"s Law Dictionary)
Objectives are:
1. the conserving of natural resources
2. the preserving of the existing natural environment
3. where possible, repairing damage and reversing trends

Resource- a country"s collective means of supporting itself of becoming wealthier, as represented by its reserves of minerals, land, and other assets (New Oxford American Dictionary)
Extraction- the action of taking out something esp. using effort of force (New Oxford American Dictionary)

Conflict- the incompatibility between two or more opinions (New Oxford American Dictionary)

The highest value within today"s round is Quality of Life. Quality of life is defined as the conditions which contribute to making life more than a struggle for survival; elevating life beyond a needs-only existence. Quality of life is most important in today"s round because it is important to make lives more than a struggle and that can only happen when we prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

The criterion that best supports my value is teleology. Teleology is defined as a theory which holds that the means of achieving some end is not as important as the end result; the ends are more important than the means. If environmental protection is prioritized over resource extraction, then the developing country will be better off in the end because it will not suffer the damages done by excessive resource extraction. Teleology best achieves my value of quality of life because the end result will be a higher quality of life for citizens in the country.

I offer the following contentions to support my value and criterion.

Contention 1: Developing countries need to focus on ensuring environmental stability which can only be achieved when environmental protection is prioritized over resource extraction.

Point A. Developing countries need to focus on ensuring environmental stability.
The Millennium Development Goals are a set of goals that United Nations will strive to achieve by 2015. The seventh goal is to ensure environmental stability. A country can only be successful when environmental stability is ensured as shown in the case of Albania. Albania had multiple problems that were caused by deforestation. Illegal logging, uncontrolled harvesting, and poor forest management were major problems for the country due to weak law enforcement. The effects of deforestation in Albania were detrimental. Deforestation causes lack of biodiversity and soil erosion destruction. The nation had destroyed its soil which in turn, destroyed the nation itself.

Point B. Environmental stability can only be achieved when environmental protection is prioritized over resource extraction.
In 2005, Albania began to prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction due to all the damages done by deforestation. According to the Global Environment Facility, by 2008, a large governmental staff in charge of forest extension was been developed, natural forest habitats and scrub forest coverage were improved and increased, and 400,000 tons of erosion were reduced. The country also began to work on stricter law enforcement. Albania is on its way to achieving the goal of ensuring environmental stability and giving its citizens a higher quality of life as the end result, thus achieving teleology.

Contention 2: A country"s standard of living is higher when environmental protection is prioritized over resource extraction.

A lot of damage is done to the environment due to resource extraction. Extracting resources is important, but when the two are in conflict, environmental protection should be held higher. Afghanistan has lots of environmental problems such as soil degradation, air and water pollution, and deforestation to due its rapid resource extraction. Due to the an excessive amount of trees being cut down, within two decades, Afghanistan lost 70 percent of its forests. Specialists say that this has made the country increasingly venerable to natural disasters. Often times, plants that create natural buffers from storms and natural disasters, are burned by the citizens of the country for fuel due to weak law enforcement. In addition to that, in 2007, over 80 percent of Afghanistan"s soil was subject to erosion. The chairman of the Afghan Organization for Human Rights and Environmental Protection said that the misuse of natural resources was one of the reasons Afghanistan has so many environmental issues. Afghanistan"s standard of living level is extremely low due to excessive resource extraction, which is exactly the opposite of what should be happening within a developing country. When environmental protection takes precedence over resource extraction in instances of conflict, the citizens are provided with a high quality of life and (although environmental protection can be expensive) a good end result.

Contention 3: Extracting resources when they are in conflict with environmental protection hinders economic growth.

Environmental protection is not commonly paired with economic development, but in the long run, the way to achieve development is to prioritizing environmental protection over resource extraction. Developing countries often suffer from the "resource curse" which is also known as the paradox of the plenty. This happens when the country begins to extract a large amount of one renewable resource. Basically the economy begins to revolve around the industry, and more and more people begin to get jobs that are part of the industry. Then value of the national currency goes down because of high wages and other industries (especially the manufacturing sector) begin to suffer. Developing countries with low amounts of economic growth are often the ones with an abundance of natural resources. The damage done to the environment by extracting the resources and the disastrous affects of the resource curse lower the quality of life for citizens of developing countries and produce a negative end result for the country.

Therefore, I affirm.


I accept this challenge, good luck.

As a brief roadmap, I'll be going over my own case then addressing my opponents.

"If we boost productivity, we can improve economic growth." Stated by Tony Abbot and supporting the negation of todays resolution. It shows that in order to truly have economic prosperity we have to have productivity, which requires resources.

I value Social Development which is achieved better on the negative side. Resource extraction brings economic development which also brings education, foreign trade, and less poverty in a country as a general rule. This economic progress is necessary for the people in the country. While protecting the environment is important, when someone does not have anything to eat they simply should not be forced to starve and die for the future environment. Keeping the environment safe should not be put above the education, safety, and growth of the humans especially in the case of poverty.

This leads me to my criterion Utilitarianism. Which is having the greatest good for the greatest number of people therefore we must look to the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people. Social progress is achieved on the negative side because the only way we can continue to develop technologies and educate the people for the greater benefit is by having the resources available to do so. A sacrifice of some kind has to be made for the future generations, we have to sacrifice minor problems to the environment to have economic growth and continue developing.

Contention 1: Pollution decelerates over decades of economic growth. Resource extraction and economic growth must be prioritized because economic growth will lead the best environmental protection over the long-term. The existing scarce long-term data suggest not only non-proportionality of pollution with respect to economic growth, but also non-linearity and concavity.

This research is confirmed in other studies as well. While the factors which drive the relation are complex and debated among scholars, the empirical data generally confirms the idea. It is said, in keeping with the philosophy of Malthus, the poor have little concern for the environment when they are thinking about their next meal. So, societies which can meet their basic needs will undertake higher-order projects to improve their lives. The relationship between national wealth and environmental impact is described as the Environmental Kuznets' Curve resembling an inverted U-shape curve.


Some forms of pollution appear first to worsen and later to improve as countries" incomes grow. The world"s poorest and richest countries have relatively clean environments, while middle-income countries are the most polluted. Because of its resemblance to the pattern of inequality and income described by Simon Kuznets (1955), this pattern of pollution and income has been labelled an "environmental Kuznets curve" (EKC). To date, the practical lessons from this theoretical literature are limited. Most of the models are designed to yield inverse-U-shaped pollution-income paths, and succeed using a variety of assumptions and mechanisms. Hence, any number of forces may be behind the empirical observation that pollution increases and then decreases with income. Moreover, that pattern cannot be interpreted causally, and is consistent with either efficient or inefficient growth paths. Perhaps the most important insight is in Grossman and Krueger"s original paper: "We find no evidence that economic growth does unavoidable harm to the natural habitat" (1995, p. 370). Economists have long argued that environmental degradation is not an inevitable consequence of economic growth. The EKC literature provides empirical support for that claim.

Based on the empiric of the EKC we can conclude that one mechanism for solvency of environmental impacts exists in increasing the wealth of nations. Especially those nations which are the source of the world's resources.

Contention 2: Poverty increases without the jobs and wealth that comes from resource extraction. resource extraction improves economic development opportunities for poor countries and reduces poverty.

Naazneen H. Barma, a spokeswoman from DNSA (Assistant Professor. Department of National Security Affairs)

Natural resource endowments such as oil, gas, and minerals can serve as potent drivers of development. Global demand for scarce natural resources is mounting rapidly. Industry experts argue that we are in the midst of a "super cycle" of commodity prices, driven by demand from fast-growing emerging economies. Natural resource extraction is capital-intensive, with annual global investments approaching $1 trillion, hence offering the potential for rapid infrastructure development and structural transformation in developing economies. Riches from the sector promise to be massive, with resource rents, that is, the difference between revenues and extraction cost, estimated at about $4 trillion annually, or 7 percent of global GDP.

While the proportion of the world"s poor living in towns and cities is gradually rising, most of the world"s poor will continue to live in rural areas for many decades to come. Poor people"s livelihoods will remain heavily dependent on natural resources: soil, water, forests and fisheries underpin commercial and subsistence activities and of ten provide a safety net for the poor in times of crisis. Strategies for rural poverty reduction, including pro-poor natural resource management, should remain at centre stage for poverty reduction. This shows that strong overall growth rates are essential to reducing poverty and cannot be achieved through the prioritization of environmental protection in developing countries..

Now I'll be addressing my opponents case and I accept my opponents definitions.

My opponents value is quality of life with a criteria of teleology which is a theory defined as making the ends more important than the means. There is something we have to recognize about the value. The value of quality of life is in fact better upheld on the negative side because the extra income that is made from this resource extraction indirectly goes to the people. Infrastructure provided for the people and the ability for the government to tend to its citizens completely hinges on the income they receive from these resources. What we can see is if the government has a more abundance of resources development will increase and therefore more jobs, infrastructure and the ability for the government to protect its citizens will increase, therefore increasing quality of life as a whole. For the criteria of teleology if the ends are more important than the means my question is to my opponent, would sacrificing many human lives for the sake of our future be moral under this theory?

Addressing the first contention, it talks about how environmental stability can only be achieved with environmental protection. For this statement we have to look at my first contention. I have in fact proved that over decades of economic growth pollution decelerates with new technology advancements. The goal here for a developing country is to receive the income to actually develop and focus on these environmental issues once they have the tools necessary to do so. Only through advancements of technology can we sufficiently protect the environment from the inefficient ways of our past technology. What we have seen on this inverse curve chart is that during the industrialization period pollution is at an all time high, but as we advance we are able to sufficiently deal with these problems. This is crucial to remember in todays round.

The second contention talks about a countrys standard of living. This is backed up by problems of the environment, but my opponent fails to bring up the issue of increasing poverty that will occur in the lack of these resources either being regulated or taken out completely. What we have to see is that this resource extraction brings jobs to the people and reduces overall poverty in a country, ESPECIALLY a developing country. Even regulation on this income could severely hurt the people of this country because this indirectly takes away from THEIR income. While the environment is important, we cannot put the environment of the future above the lives of the present. This is another crucial point to remember in the round as well. My opponent also talks about the resource curse but it"s important to recognize that the idea of the "resource curse" is still heavily contested in academic circles. For one, there is a noticeable lack of agreement on the exact cause of this curse. Most agree, however, that resource management is the blame (i.e. a sudden boon is resources creates a shortsightedness in policymakers) instead of resource extraction. Can policymakers do better? Of course, but prioritizing environmental protection won"t fix issues with resource management.

Now moving on to the third contention, this is blaming resource mismanagement as a reason for having environmental protection. If we think about this contention logically we can see that this mismanagement will still exist whether or not we are protecting the environment. This whole contention hinders on the fact that the "resource curse" causes the economy to revolve around the industry and the income gained from resources is too blame. What we have to see here as well is that this income is largely beneficial to a country and putting regulations or removing it entirely will not change the mismanagement of resources. Until my opponent can give an example of ONE single country that has developed without resources or resources severely regulated this contention completely falls in todays debate.

I urge a vote in the negative
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to provide a brief road map for the second round. I will first rebuild my case and attack my opponent's, but save my voting issues for the final round.

First I would like to address my value of Quality of Life. My opponent said that their side best achieves a higher quality of life because the money from resource extraction goes to the people. However in many developing countries this is not the case. A lot of developing countries have extremely corrupt governments. An example would be the Philippians where most of the money gathered from resource extraction (such as cyanide fishing) goes straight to the government, rather than the people, therefore quality of life is best achieved on the affirmative side because of the disastrous affects resource extraction can have on the environment.

As for my criterion of teleology, I will address my opponent's question: "Would sacrificing many human lives for the sake of our future be moral under this theory?" In answer to the question, yes. In a sense, that is exactly what war is. For example, the civil war. Had brave men not given their lives to fight against slavery, America would have taken much longer to put an end to that horrible ordeal.

My opponent attacked my first contention by bringing up that studies show pollution decelerates with decades of economic growth. Pollution is defined as: "The action or process of making land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use." So they are claiming that if during the process of extraction resources either land, water, or air becomes unsuitable for use it will rejuvenate itself over time, however my opponent gave no examples of this taking place in a developing country. Imagine the deforestation in Albania. If they kept cutting down trees (which contributes to land, water, and air pollution) the trees are not going to start growing back as we continue to cut them down. Had Albania not started prioritizing environmental protection, the situation would have only gotten worse.

In attempt to attack my second contention, my opponent brought up that poverty increases when environmental protection takes precedence over resource extraction because of the jobs and wealth provided by resource extraction. I will first address the jobs. Many of the jobs that are provided in the resource extraction department of developing countries involve child labor. Countries use children as cheap, readily available, workers. Child labor pays low and is extremely dangerous, so the jobs do not provide a surplus of money for the citizens. Now I will address the money. As I mentioned earlier, developing countries often have corrupt governments. The money that is obtained from resource extraction is going to go to the government, rather than the citizens of the country.

As my opponent attacked my third contention, they mentioned that prioritizing environmental protection will not fix the issues within the government about mismanagement of resources. I ask readers to consider this: If a country has corruption and problems with management of resources that result in the resource curse, would this not be a reason enough to focus on environmental protection rather than resource extraction so that the problem can be avoided altogether? My opponent said that "until my opponent can give an example of ONE single country that has developed without resources or resources severely regulated this contention completely falls in today's debate" The affirmative is not attempting to abolish resource extraction. Also, my contention was not about how developing countries can survive without resource extraction, it was about how developing countries cannot survive excessive resource extraction. Before developing countries can extract resources, they need to make sure they ensure environmental stability.

I now move on to attack my opponent's case:

My opponent's value is social development. They claimed that economic progress is necessary for the development of the country. Social development is important, but not as important as protecting our environment. Again, The affirmative side is not attempting in any way to abolish resource extraction. The affirmative is only saying that economic protection should take precedence in instances where it conflicts with resource extraction. So when resource extraction is not hurting the environment, by all means we should extract resources. Often times, as mentioned in my third contention, resource extraction actually hinders economic development because of the resource curse. My opponent stated that "keeping the environment safe should not be put above education, safety, and growth of humans in the country (especially those in poverty)" Environmental protection has nothing to do with education, and it can only promote safety because bad environmental conditions will hurt humans.

My opponent's criterion is utilitarianism which is the belief that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people. It is important to observe that there are instances where utilitarianism can be achieved on the affirmative side. Because a high quality of life is achieved by prioritizing environmental protection over resource extraction, utilitarianism is achieved because the citizens will be satisfied with conditions that make life more than a struggle for survival, rather than conditions that involve poor economic conditions, poverty, and child labor.

My opponent's first contention stated that pollution decelerates over decades of economic growth. As I mentioned before, my opponent could not name a country where the level of pollution actually got lower as the excessive resource extraction continued.

My opponent's second contention stated that ppoverty increases without the jobs and wealth that come from resource extraction. As I said before, often the jobs involve child labor, and often the wealth is given directly to the government. Often times poverty can be caused by excessive resource extraction, like in the case of Lesotho, where 70% of their soil is unusable due to soil degradation. Poverty in that country is excessive because it's citizens cannot grow their own food. My opponent also stated that "poor people’s livelihoods will remain heavily dependent on natural resources: soil, water, forests and fisheries..." If we remove these resources at a rapid rate, the damage done to the environment will cannot be undone. Extracting these resources in a way that makes room for environmental protection is okay because the two are not in conflict in a situation such as that, but if we negate the resolution and remove the resources too fast we will end up with countries like Lesotho where almost nothing can grow.

Therefore, I affirm.


TheNamesFizzy forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


All of my attacks on my opponent's arguments and all of my arguments still stand since my opponent forfeited. I am going to go ahead and address voting issues.

1. Social progress (my opponent's value) cannot be achieved when resource extraction takes precedence over environmental protection for several reasons:
  • the resource curse- This can be proved because multiple countries in Africa have suffered from the resource curse. I broke the concept down in my third contention. "Basically the economy begins to revolve around the industry, and more and more people begin to get jobs that are part of the industry. Then value of the national currency goes down because of high wages and other industries (especially the manufacturing sector) begin to suffer. Developing countries with low amounts of economic growth are often the ones with an abundance of natural resources."
  • Developing countries have extremely corrupt governments. Money is not going to the people, rather it is going to the government. Also, jobs that come from resource extraction have very low wages and commonly use child labor.
  • In Lesotho, 70% of the country's soil is unusable. If Lesotho prioritizes environmental protection, the citizens in poverty can feed themselves and earn money from farming. However, if Lesotho prioritizes resource extraction, the country will have no way of achieving progress. The affirmative is not trying to abolish resource extraction. Only in instances of conflict should environmental protection be prioritized. If it is not prioritized, it will hinder, rather than help developing countries progress into developed countries.
My opponent is essentially saying that (as someone commented) economic growth is synonymous with resource extraction. This is not the case because of the reasons above.

2. Utilitarianism (my opponent's criterion) can be achieved best on my side.
Excessive resource extraction is only going to worsen the conditions of developing countries. The only way to help the greatest number of people is to prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction.

3. And finally the weight of the round, life/quality of life. Only on the affirmative side can we achieve this. According to the OECD, 800,000 people die a year from environmental causes. Developing countries cannot even begin to address this problem unless they prioritize environmental protection.


I will now address the attacks made on my own case and address my opponents refutations.

My opponent argues that environmental protection is more important than this social development. First, this overlooks the crucial fact that social development through economic progress brings more advanced human rights as a country moves forward. For example, in America, blacks and women gained their status as equals and as we've seen in the past our ability to tend to these issues has been because of this social development. Therefore, this is the superior value and the most moral one in turn. Then my opponent goes on to talk how this social development is not hindered in the affirmative world; however, putting the regulations that the aff suggests would hinder social development because it also hinders the development of a country. Then the point of the resource curse is brought up once more, what I have proven in my refutation in the last speech is that the resource curse is caused by the mismanagement of resources. Putting regulations on resource extraction does not decrease the mismanagement of resources in a country. It is absolutely crucial to remember that these regulations do not solve the problem of mismanagement if that is how a country is run.

Argument talks about how these regulations bring a better quality of life for utilitarianism. You as the reader need to ask yourself this question: which is the preferable situation, impoverished by lack of jobs and wealth or some issues to the environment? Until my opponent can give examples of jobs that come from environmental regulation that could even closely give as much income as extracting resources than this argument completely falls.

As a general rule, these truly developed countries already start this deceleration of pollution because of more efficient technologies. Lets look at our own country of the United States, Building Strong Environmental Institutions and Legal Structures, Combating Climate Change by Limiting Pollutants, Improving Air Quality, Expanding Access to Clean Water, Reducing Exposure to Toxic Chemicals, Cleaning Up Electronic Waste (E-Waste). All of these programs have come in to play because we have the resources available as a developed country. Where do you think this empirical data came from? Analyzing countries and how the Kuznets curve correlates to all these countries is where it came from.

Meh, lost interest. She can win :)
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by TheNamesFizzy 4 years ago
I forgot about this lol. Anywho, got second last tournament with that case semis so if anyone wants to use it feel free. Creating a new one xD
Posted by itslizyall 4 years ago
If anyone would like to debate me on the neg side, message or challenge me to a debate.
Posted by Coonski 4 years ago
Posted by Igneel 4 years ago
Question for the Neg: Are you saying that economic growth is synonymous with resource extraction?
Posted by TheNamesFizzy 4 years ago
Realistically though, I try not to do extensive research on one of these debates because you don't have that opportunity in an actual ld round to research to find arguments against the other for their contentions. I did use one of your arguments though because I thought it was well thought out xD.
Posted by TheNamesFizzy 4 years ago
Pfft, research? What is that?
Posted by Concade 4 years ago
@Neg - I honestly don't mind if something of mine (i.e. "resource curse" critique) is copied verbatim, but I'd include the actual research citations to warrant those claims.

They'll keep you from looking like a crazy person mumbling stuff about "resource curses" and things.
Posted by sungod97 4 years ago
I most likely will accept if you promise not to ditch the debate just for neg case or even just ditch the debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Buckethead31594 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: F/F