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Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction w

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,617 times Debate No: 43398
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Value- Morality

Criterion- Kant's Categorical Imperative Theory

Contention 1- Governments have moral obligation to their people
Developing countries do not know always where to start putting their money and time into, this is why the United Nations made eight primary goals that developing countries need to work on. These eight goals are 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2. Achieve universal primary education 3. Promote gender equality and empower women 4. Reduce child mortality 5. Improve maternal health 6. Combat HIV/Aids, malaria, and other diseases 7. Ensure environmental stability 8. Global partnership for development. These 8 ideals are the first things that developing countries need to work on. The most relevant for today's debate will have to be environmental stability, which is the same thing as environmental protection.
Countries also have moral obligations to their people that can not be achieved if resource extraction is prioritized over resource protection. Countries have an obligation to provide clean water to their people, but they can"t when oil and other pollutants are being dumped in it by resource extraction companies, or factories. WWDR writes, "Up to 90 % of wastewater in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and highly productive coastal zones, threatening health, food security and access to safe drinking and bathing water." With all of this waste water flowing into streams and rivers people no longer can have clean water. Also WWAP writes, "In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial waste is dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply." Countries that prioritize resource extraction have a harder time obtaining clean drinking water.
Secondly countries have an obligation to provide food to their people. According to Julia Allen, and Douglas Barnes of the department of environmental studies at the University of California they write, "Deforestation has recently become a major concern for developing countries. Studies have conveyed the impression that many developing countries are on the verge of being transformed into vast deserts and barren mountain watersheds." When countries deforest they limit the biodiversity in the area and eliminate animals from the are. With limited amount of animals means limited amount of few for the few people. When countries focus too much on resource extraction it leads to the hurting of their people. This situation is called Dutch Disease.
Dutch Disease is defined by the Financial Times as, "The negative impact on an economy of anything that gives rise to a sharp inflow of foreign currency, such as the discovery of large oil reserves." This "disease is very common in developing countries that have lots of natural resources at their disposal. Much like the Dutch in the 1960"s countries will over extract different natural resources and have too much wealth in their possession. Having too much wealth in developing countries leads to terrorism and corruption.

Contention 2- Prioritizing resource extraction leads to immoral actions
To determine if an action is immoral, resource extraction, we must look at Kant"s Categorical Imperative philosophy, since it is my value criterion for the round. If the means are immoral then by my value criterion the whole process is immoral. This leads me to
Sub Point A- Resource extraction leads to political corruption
Countries that resource extract for their wealth when they are developing are more prone to less development and corruption. According to Joseph Stiglitz winner of the Nobel prize in economics he writes, "On average, resource-rich countries have done even more poorly than countries without resources. They have grown more slowly, and with greater inequality " just the opposite of what one would expect." This is due to rulers wanting more money and political power. This example proves "The theory of extractive corruption." This theory ,proven by J.W. Oosterbroek of the University of Twente, states in its most basic form that governments with more natural resources that the can harvest and sell are more likely prone to corruption. "Within the theory of extractive corruption, however, embezzlement is seen as one of the most important modes of economic accumulation. Embezzlement is a fundamental part of the resource extractive capacity of the ruling elite" writes Inge Amundsen researcher of Development Studies and Human Rights for Michelsen Institute. Countries need all of this wealth to suppress their people and eventually take over their country. Examples of this can be shown in Central African countries. Endowed with ample diamond and oil deposits, Angola should not be on the bottom rungs of the world" social ladder. But instead of a blessing, Angola"s natural resource wealth has turned out to be a curse.While the majority of the population lived in misery and terror, the leaders of both the government and the rebel UNITA forces devoted most of the money they gained selling Angola"s resources to buying
weapons and lining their own pockets. This situation is immoral because people are being suppressed to gain wealth for these oppressive rulers, and they are harming the environment in a major way which also immoral.

Sub Point B- Harming the Environment for no positive gain is immoral
The environment is the worlds most important asset. It provides everything everyone needs, from food to shelter. Destroying the environment with no positive gain is completely immoral. W. Corbett Dabbs researcher at American University writes, "The environmental damage that is a result of oil retraction and production can also directly affect human life in the region. Damage can include pollution of water resources and contamination of the soil. Humans are affected by environmental devastation because it is damaging to vegetation, livestock, and to the health of the human body itself. Oil spills can interfere with the normal working of power stations and desalination plants that require a continuous supply of clean seawater and with the safe operation of coastal industries and ports." When governments become too greedy and just want to make money, the people of the nation will suffer. It is immoral to harm the environment with oil spills, but it is also immoral to dirty clean drinking water where there is not an abundance of it. Instead of poisoning the water developing countries should try to bring it to their people.



I Value Life, defined as the state of being alive. It is the primary object of any good government to ensure that its citizens are physically safe and have access to their basic needs.

The Criterion that we can look to then is Utility. Whatever action best promotes the value is the action developing nations should take. Prof. Gary Woller explains why an ends-based standard is needed when referencing governmental actors: "Appeals to a priori moral principles...often fail to acknowledge that public policies inevitably entail trade-offs among competing values. Thus since policymakers cannot justify inherent value conflicts to the public in any philosophical sense...the policymakers' duty to the public interest requires them to demonstrate that"their policies are somehow to the overall advantage of society."

Contention One: Resource extraction is key for poverty reduction.

Sub-point A: Poverty kills millions.

Prof. James Gilligan asserts, "The 14 to 18 million deaths a year caused by poverty compare with about 100,000 deaths per year from armed conflict. Comparing this frequency of the frequency of those caused by major military and political violence, such as World War II [where] an estimated 49 million military and civilian deaths, including those caused by genocide--or about eight million per year, [occurred]...In other words...every single year, two to three times as many people die from poverty throughout the world as were killed" in WWII.

Sub-point B: Extraction reduces poverty.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that industries like "mining can contribute to economic development in several ways: "direct investment (DI), employment, government revenues, foreign exchange earnings, innovation and development of related sectors. Minerals' supply is essential to modern economies and minerals exploitation represents the major part of DI flows in many developing countries, often dwarfing aid flows." Additionally, The World Bank states, "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." The World Bank, after a meta-analysis of more than 50 nations, concludes that "poorest and least-poor quartiles obtain about 18 percent of their income from [extraction], while middle-income groups obtain more. Across all income quartiles, dependence on resources is much lower in resource-scarce areas than in resource-rich areas."

Contention Two: Resource extraction reduces conflict.

Sub-point A: Extraction reduces War

Harvard Hegre of the International Peace Institute holds that "development has made the trading world increasingly more attractive to states...development alters four variables that are crucial to the calculations of the leader of a state: it increases the potential gains from trade, the economic costs of war, and the political costs of war, as well as decreasing the utility of occupying territories relative to the pursuit of trade policies." Prof. Michael Mousseau furthers, asserting, "economic development affects the costs associated with interstate violence. War waged on territory with the vast investments in plants equipment and infrastructure associated with development is apt to be costly in absolute terms, and it is likely to destroy a larger fraction of a state"s productive resources."

Sub-point B: Extraction reduces ethnic cleansing.

Michael Armacost of the Brookings Institute claims, "culture wars...are markedly less lethal in prosperous societies than in poor ones. It is easier for rival cultures to share power when not competing over basic resources. Economic growth has dampened ethnic violence in places like Quebec and Ireland"just as economic decline has aggravated it in countries like Indonesia and Yugoslavia."

Contention Three: Resource extraction reduces famine.

Consider, the World Bank estimates that every 3.6 seconds someone dies from hunger, and 90% of those going hungry are in Africa, Southeast Asia, and India. According to Indur Goklany, "economic development reduces the level of undernourishment. Cross-country data show that both crop yield and per capita food supply...both increase with income. Crop yields increase because richer countries are better able to afford yield- and productivity-enhancing technologies, such as fertilizers, pesticides, better seeds, and tractors. But even if a country has poor yields or insufficient production, if it is rich it can import its food needs. Hence"the richer the country, the greater its available food supplies."


V: Morality - incredible vague. Because the value is so subjective, we cannot determine if we have achieved it. Thus, prefer Life. Also, morality is not inherent in the resolution. Consider the following: if I say "I should go to the mall to buy that shirt I want," I'm not making a moral judgment. Here it's indicating utility. Should =/= morality.

C: Categorical Imperative - This resolution concerns government actors. Governments should act pragmatically as per my Woller evidence, not morally. Cross-apply it here.

C1: Moral Obligations

My advocacy meets 6 of the 7 points Con mentions. He uses this UN evidence to argue that nations have moral obligations to their people. Frankly, it's setting goals that countries should meet--it's not imposing moral injunctions upon states. Secondly, nowhere is this contention do you offer any reasoning why nations have a moral obligation--you simply assume that it exists. Thirdly, if you plan on making a social contract argument, why is a contractual obligation necessarily a moral one?

Additionally, just because I want to prioritize resource extraction, does not mean I want to eliminate environmental protections. Clearly, limited protections could be used to obviate many of the extreme Pro cites (e.g. wasteland conditions).

Finally, this whole contention has nothing to do with Pro's Criterion; it's all utilitarian in nature. I will show later how I out-impact and out-solve Pro.

C2: Immoral Acts

Sub. A: Corruption

Pro fails to show causality. Look at places like Italy and Spain--ranked as corrupt as Guinea and Malaysia respectively by Transparency International. Also, in many nations, resource extraction takes place safely. Rather, the cause is simply a lack of proper oversight, not extraction itself. I can fix oversight in my world as well as extract resources.

Also, unless Pro is stopping extraction altogether, his world would have corruption too.

Sub. B: Environment

The Imperative (and Kantian philosophy) is about rational agents. Trees and cows aren't rational, so we can treat them as mere things. Also, my case shows positive benefits to extraction. Moreover, oil spills and disasters are rare, and don't outweigh.

Thus, I negate. Aff has the floor...
Debate Round No. 1


Smithdan forfeited this round.


Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 2


Smithdan forfeited this round.


Extend my arguments.

As the only one with unrebutted offense, I ask you to vote Con. Thank you!
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by imabench 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: FF