Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction w
What is a developing country? We know, right? It's a country that is in the act of - er - developing. But then again, development is a kind of on-going process so...
There is no internationally accepted definition for what is a developing country, neither in the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. In fact, the U.N. says, a country more-or-less just announces its status and thus we know. I dealt with the nebulous definition in 2012 (see the article here) with respect to the resolution about developed countries having an obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change. I think, most debaters used dictionary definitions and just went for it, I think the same may be expected for this resolution. We have a sort of defacto understanding that a developing country is one which is not quite up to U.S., western European, or Japanese standard of living and I guess that is measured in terms of GDP, GNI and a range of subjective standards, like infrastructure development, healthcare systems, law enforcement, defense capability, etc. The sources below will give several lists and criteria for categorizing nations (in case it becomes an issue). Here is what the IMF said in 2011:
"While many economists would readily agree that Burkina Faso is a developing country and Japan is a developed country, they would be more hesitant to classify Malaysia or Russia. Where exactly to draw the line between developing and developed countries is not obvious, and this may explain the absence of a generally agreed criterion. This could suggest that a developing/developed country dichotomy is too restrictive and that a classification system with more than two categories could better capture the diversity in development outcomes across countries. Another possible explanation for the absence of a generally accepted classification system is the inherent normative nature of any such system. The word pair developing/developed countries became in the 1960s the more common way to characterize countries, especially in the context of policy discussions on transfering real resources from richer (developed) to poorer (developing) countries (Pearson et al, 1969). Where resource transfers are involved countries have an economic interest in these definitions and therefore the definitions are much debated. As will be discussed later, in the absence of a methodology or a consensus for how to classify countries based on their level of development, some international organizations have used membership of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as the main criterion for developed country status. While the OECD has not used such a country classification system, the preamble to the OECD convention does include a reference to the belief of the contracting parties that "economically more advanced nations should co-operate in assisting to the best of their ability the countries in process of economic development." As OECD membership is limited to a small subset of countries (it has 34 members up from 20 members at its establishment in 1961), this heuristic approach results in the designation of about 80"85 percent of the world"s countries as developing and about 15"20 percent as developed."
For reference (and it is a good as any) the Google default definition is:
a poor agricultural country that is seeking to become more advanced economically and socially.
The word "should" is used to express condition or obligation (Merriam Webster). Used in the context of resolution it conveys the same meaning as "ought". Note the Cambridge Dictionary defines "should" as " used to say or ask what is the correct or best thing to do". For this reason, I expect some debaters will apply the meaning to a moral framework.
Merriam Webster - "to organize (things) so that the most important thing is done or dealt with first".
For this definition, I look first to the Merriam Webster dictionary:
the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded; the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival; the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community
the act of protecting; the state of being protected
to cover or shield from exposure, injury, damage, or destruction; defend; to maintain the status or integrity of especially through financial or legal guarantees
A composite definition is provided by the OECD (see here):
Environmental protection refers to any activity to maintain or restore the quality of environmental media through preventing the emission of pollutants or reducing the presence of polluting substances in environmental media. It may consist of:
(a) changes in characteristics of goods and services,
(b) changes in consumption patterns,
(c) changes in production techniques,
(d) treatment or disposal of residuals in separate environmental protection facilities,
(e) recycling, and
(f) prevention of degradation of the landscape and ecosystems.
How harms to the environment are measured, is not clear. When one declares we must protect the environment, how does one know when one is damaging it?
Merriam Webster - above. In the context of prioritization, a thing should be considered more important than another.
We can generally define "resource extraction" as any action which removes or separates resources from the places in which they exist. Also we can broadly define a resource as any asset or action which can be used or adapted to yield some advantage. Merriam Webster provides several possibilities:
a : a source of supply or support : an available means "usually used in plural
b : a natural source of wealth or revenue "often used in plural
c : a natural feature or phenomenon that enhances the quality of human life
d : computable wealth "usually used in plural
e : a source of information or expertise
Please note, the resolution does not specify "natural resources" which typically consist of resources which exist in a natural environment. Thus, it seems intuitive most debaters will be assuming the resources being extracted are natural resources which need to be removed from their natural environment and as we should be aware, this process of extraction usually results in some kind of damage to the natural environment.
We can make a distinction, the resolution is specific to resource extraction, not resource consumption. Therefore considering a resource like petroleum, we cannot debate the environmental impact of consuming (burning) petroleum products, we can only debate the impact of extracting the petroleum resource.
when the two are in conflict
The dictionary definition (Merriam Webster) of conflict is:
fight, battle, war; competitive or opposing action of incompatibles; mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands; the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the dramatic action in a drama or fiction
The meaning suggests a struggle which goes beyond simple disagreement. It conveys the idea of clash in which two conditions may not coexist because they are mutually exclusive. Of course, while one side of the debate may claim environmental protect and resource extraction may, under certain conditions be mutually exclusive (i.e. they are in conflict), it does not mean that new approaches, plans, techniques or ways of thinking could resolve the conflict.
Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.
For the introduction and definitions to this topic, click here.
This is the first of a two part exploration of the Affirmative position of the topic.
The Affirmative side of this debate will have very little problem finding lots of evidence which makes the link between resource extraction and harms to the environment. In fact, I isolate a few common examples below. The harms to the environment also can be determined in any number of ways, from direct harms such as destroying habitats, upsetting the balance of life or the food chain, to indirect harms such as forcing people from their homes (a kind of habitat loss, I suppose) to the rise of conflicts and wars which further contribute to environmental harms. On the other side of the debate, the Negative will be promoting the myriad benefits of resource extraction, not only as a stimulus for economic development, but also as a mechanism for improving national security, international standing and practically any advantage that can be linked to resource extraction. Clearly the debate will have no problem establishing the harms versus benefits dichotomy. Indeed, it is necessary to do so. The problem Affirmative must overcome is how to justify the superiority of environmental protection when, as the resolution states, the two are in conflict. The fact is, there is a very pragmatic basis to the "conflict" which arises when weighing the options and I tend to believe the pragmatics of the Negative position will be hard to overcome when the debate is engaged on a contention level. I do think, the Aff can find evidence which will turn some of Neg's economic advantages. There is after all, the "resource curse". Nevertheless, I believe the real strength of the Affirmative case will reside in the value framework. Aff must not lose their value or they will be in for a fight.
In this post, I will provide a few of the many arguments which establish the harms, provide some arguments which oppose the Neg position, then deal with the value framework in a later installment.
Resource Extraction Harms the Environment
Establishing the link between resource extraction and environmental degradation will be easy. There is a wealth of good, high-quality evidence which makes the argument for you. Find it and cite it. For example, this source speaks of resources needed for the manufacture of computers.
Downey, et al; 2011:
Computer production, for example, could not occur without the extraction of minerals, fossil fuels, and other natural resources from around the world. One such category of resources is rare earth minerals, which are mined primarily in China (NRC, 2008). The mining of rare earth minerals produces as much as 2,000 tons of solid waste, including toxic heavy metals and radioactive thorium, for every ton of rare earth mineral produced (Farago, 2009; Rong & Yu, 2009). In China, it also results in topsoil loss, erosion, and widespread silting and contamination of rivers and reservoirs used for drinking and irrigation (Xu & Liu, 1999).
Here is another example which explores the problem of deforestation needed to support the vast array of wooden products used throughout the world. While wood (trees) may be considered a renewable resource, it is a resource that must be managed to remain viable as a resource and all too often is poorly managed.
Berlik et al, 2002:
The environmental impacts of wood extraction depend on the condition and sensitivity of the forest and the expertise and approach of those managing it. For this reason, it is critical to focus on where and how wood is actually harvested. In principle, wood is a renewable resource, but in the absence of well-planned management, short-term exploitation can target inappropriate areas and induce environmental impacts or conversion to other uses yielding results better likened to mining than sustainable use (Allen, 1998). Even though much of the world is forested, population and consumption growth rates are jeopardizing the reliability of the global wood supply (Dekker-Robertson and Libby, 1998; Solberg, et al., 1996; Bowyer and Stockman, 2001). Global annual wood harvests average about 3.4 billion m3. With mean projections for 2010 of 4.6 billion m3 (a 35% increase in ten years), a shrinking amount of forest will need to provide increasing volumes of wood. Current projections forecast a gap between global fiber demand and availability of 400 to 800 million m3 in 2010 (World Resources Institute, 1998).
The result of resource mismanagement induces environmental stresses which escalate to violence. This not only serves as a direct disadvantage, because violence is bad, but it also further degrades the environment in which people live.
Berlik et al, 2002:
Untenable resource development strategies can undermine long-term growth and generate unbalanced economic performance. At worst, untenable resource strategies feed violent conflict. The consequences of poorly calibrated resource strategies unfold at a number of levels and in different ways, depending upon both national and international circumstances. It is therefore difficult to draw a generic causal pathway, but several issues that can derail the momentum of development and lead to conflict are worth close attention. Resource extraction has an impact on the environment in which people live, whether because it means village communities have to be moved so mining can go ahead, or because of environmental degradation. If these issues are handled poorly by the authorities, through inadequate consultation with local communities about how to meet their interests, grievances can turn quickly to unrest.
Resource Extraction Fosters Violence
There is a viable link between resource extraction and violence and the evidence for it is found in many journal articles. Extraction is often accompanied by protest further which is complicated by the desire of the government to exploit its potential riches at any cost. Protest often escalates.
Downey, et al; 2011:
In such instances, local and national governments, resource extraction firms, or rebels who control natural resources may feel that they have no choice but to use violence or the threat of violence to protect their resource extraction activities. Violent actions and threats of violence might include the forced relocation of local residents; the use of police, military, or mercenary forces to break up protests, arrest protestors and provide mine security; and the repression of local indigenous people from whose ranks protestors have emerged or might emerge. Violent actions might also include military conflict with groups that threaten resource extraction activities and foreign military aid and training to local police and military forces. Of course, armed violence may occur even in the absence of protest. For example, forced labor may be used to decrease labor costs or because working conditions are horrendous, and forced removal may occur in the absence of protest to either forestall protest or because there is no way to extract resources with people living on or near the extraction site. In either case, violence or threatened violence will likely be necessary because most people do not want to be forced to work or leave their homes.
Developing countries work with international partners to exploit/extract their natural resources. These partners, whether other governments or more commonly, international corporations have productivity demands which exert enormous pressure on the stakeholders. The pressures push the governments of developing countries to do whatever it takes to meet its obligations.
Downey, et al; 2011:
For example, structural adjustment programs imposed on developing nations by the World Bank and IMF often force developing nations to maintain high levels of raw material exports (Bello et al., 1999); and in cases where mining projects require political risk insurance, developing nations are sometimes forced to agree that they will pay out potentially large insurance claims if mining activities are disrupted in any way (Moody, 2005, 2007). Developing nations" high levels of debt and their resulting dependence on wealthy nations, the World Bank, the IMF, and corporate foreign investment also force developing nation governments to worry about how these organizations and states evaluate their activities. As a result, developing nation governments may feel that regardless of their own motives and interests, they have to use all means necessary to protect resource extraction activities so as to meet their debt obligations, ensure continued foreign investment, and minimize conflict with more powerful nations and institutions.
Violence Harms Countries and the Environment
Violence harms people, nations and environments. Its seems as if the stress of extraction and associated environmental degradation, erupts into violence which further degrades the environment and a kind of spiraling degradation occurs. There is little incentive or will for the stakeholders to break the cycle.
Berlik et al, 2002:
...armed violence plays a critical role in facilitating natural resource extraction, without which ecological unequal exchange could not occur and much environmental degradation would not occur. We have, therefore, achieved the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the article. More importantly, when one combines the evidence presented in this article with prior sociological research on ecological unequal exchange and the direct environmental consequences of armed violence, militarism, and war, it quickly becomes apparent that armed violence and the environmental degradation associated with it are intimately woven into the everyday lives of core nation citizens through the purchases they make and the fuels they consume. It also becomes apparent that armed violence is a key driver of the global ecological crisis and that this is likely the case because other key drivers of natural resource exploitation, such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO, and global marketplace, cannot, on their own, guarantee core nation access to and control over vital natural resources...Currently there is no environmental ethic focused on meeting wood needs locally and little criticism of consumption behavior. Instead, an anti-logging ethic reigns and degradation of the global environment ensues. A new environmental effort is needed to expose this illusion of preservation. This effort will depend primarily on greater discussions concerning the ethical implications of excessive consumption joined with indiscriminate protectionism. The message could become stronger and more locally relevant in the context of programs that reduce wood use and encourage ecologically sound harvesting.
Resource Extraction Does Not Help Developing Countries
Not only do the disadvantages of environmental degradation and violence serve to devalue the Negative case, but the direct economic benefits to be gained from resource extraction often turn out to be a driver of greater poverty. The so-called "resource curse" is a statistical observation which shows that perhaps being rich in resources is not the boon one intuitively believes it should be.
Four main channels of transmission from abundant natural resoures to sluggish economic growth are discussed. First, natural resource abundance often results in an over evaluation of the national currency. This is a sympton of the Dutch disease. Moreover, recurrent booms and busts tend to increase exchange rate volatility. Sometimes this is enough to reduce total exports. Sometimes it just skews the composition of exports away from high-tech and other manufacturing and service exports that are particularly conducive to economic growth. In either case, economic growth is likely to slow down. Second, natural-resource-rich economies seem especially prone to socially damaging rent-seeking behaviour on the part of producers. For example, the government may be tempted to offer tariff protection to domestic producers, among other privileges. Rent seeking may also breed corruptiom, thereby distorting the allocation of resources. Import protection and corruption both tend to impede economic growth. Third, natural resource abundance may imbue people with a false sense of security and lead governments to lose sight of the need for growth-friendly economic management. Incentives to create wealth tend to become too blunted by the ability to extract weath from the soil or the sea. Rich parents sometimes spoil their kids. Mother Nature is no excpetion. Fourth, nations that are confident that their natural resources are their most important asset may inadvenrtently - and perhaps even deliberately! - neglect the development of their human resources, by devoting inadequate attention and expenditure to education. Their natural wealth may blind them to the need for educating their children.
In addition, the oil-rich nations suffer from another kind of "curse".
Mineral resources are an economic and commercial asset, so one would expect them to contribute to the wealth of a nation. Paradoxically, this expectation is often frustrated by the resource course: countries with a rich resource endowment tend to be less well governed, to have lower growth rates, and to be less socially developed than other comparable countries. Even civil wars tend to be longer and more intense in resource rich countries (Sachs and Warner, 1995, 2001; Collier and Hoef@258;er, 2004; Humphreys et al., 2007; Ploeg, 2011). In this article, we propose the notion of the carbon curse. The core claim of this new theory is that a country's fossil fuel endowment drives its carbon intensity to a large extent. Other things being equal, countries rich in fossil fuel resources tend to follow more carbon-intensive developmental pathways than [if they were] fossil-fuel poor countries. While this leads to wasteful economic practices that signi@257;cantly contribute to global warming, it is very hard for countries awash with fossil fuels to evade carbon-intensive developmental pathways. The carbon curse and the resource curse share a common foundation: they both focus on detrimental effects of resource abundance. But while inspired by the resource curse, the carbon curse stands on its own. To date, the scholarship on the resource curse has explored adverse economic and political effects linked to resource abundance such as violent conflict, rent seeking and income volatility, but has neglected the environmental dimension. The carbon curse gives an environmental twist to the resource curse, but it is more than simply a conceptual extension. For example, the "Dutch Disease""an adverse trade-related phenomenon linked to the resource curse"predicts a wholesale decline of the industrial sector in resource rich economies, reflecting the loss of export price competitiveness as real exchange rates appreciate in the wake of commodity exports. It is easy to see that this particular aspect of the resource curse mitigates the carbon curse: a weaker industrial base suppresses carbon intensity, because the industrial sector typically represents a highly carbon intensive segment of aggregate economic output. Thus, the two curses are related but distinct.
In the second part of this analysis of the Aff position, I will look at some approaches to the all-important value framework.
Natural Resource Extraction, Armed Violence, and Environmental Degradation; PMC US National Library fo Medicine
Liam Downey, Eric Bonds, and Katherine Clark; September 8, 2011
THE ILLUSION OF PRESERVATION A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL ARGUMENT FOR THE LOCAL PRODUCTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Mary M. Berlik, David B. Kittredge, and David R. Foster ;2002
HARVARD FOREST, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
ConfliCt Prevention in Resource-Rich Economies; The United Nations, Interagency Framework Team for Preventive Action; December 2011
European Economic Review 45 (2001) 827}838
Natural Resources and Economic Development; The curse of natural resources
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Andrew M. Warner; 2001
Natural Resources, Education and Economic Development
Thorvaldur Gylfason, University of Iceland, October 2000
Friedrichs, J., Inderwildi, O.R., The carbon curse: Are fuel rich countries doomed to high CO2 intensities?
Energy Policy (2013), http://dx.doi.org...
I negate the resolution.
The value is morality. First is epistemology:
Moral uncertainty should lead us to default towards preserving humanity as a meta-constraint on all ethical theories. Bostrom:
"there is a great option value in preserving … our ability to recognize value and to steer the future accordingly. Ensuring that there will be a future version of humanity … is … the best way … to increase the probability that the future will contain a lot of value."
And, epistemology requires us to act in a way that minimizes negative existential risks. Bostrom:
"if something is not known to be objectively safe, it is risky, … we may be uncertain about whether or not X would really be bad. But we can say that if we are not sure whether or not X would really be bad (but we are sure that X would not be good), then X is bad in … the subjective sense relevant to decision making. … [thus] we have reason to prefer that X not occur …"
And, epistemology comes first because it deals with how we come to know. This means my fw functions as a meta constraint to the AC framework because it means that even under their framework we’d have to take into account existential risks.
Consequentialism - Moral considerations must be based in physical facts about our mental states because the universe is causally closed. Papineau:
"the conservation of energy does imply that … if mental or vital forces arose spontaneously, then there would be nothing to ensure that they never led to energy increases. … Detailed physiological research, … gave no indication of any physical effects that cannot be explained in terms of basic physical forces that also occur outside living bodies. … since the only laws governing behaviour are those connecting behaviour with physical antecedents, mental events can only be causes of behaviour if they are identical with those physical antecedents."
This means util since there are no side-constraints in nature – suffering is a mental state which we have a reason to avoid. Even respect for the rationality of persons mandates consequentialism. Cummiskey:
"If I sacrifice some for the sake of others, … I do not deny the unconditional value of rational beings. Persons may have … unconditional … worth” … but persons also have a fundamental equality that dictates that some must sometimes give way for the sake of others … The concept of the end-in-itself thus … dictates that one … sacrifice some to save many."
Thus, the criterion is minimizing suffering.
My contention is that economic development does a better job of minimizing suffering than environmental protection.
First, developing countries are sitting on billions and trillions of dollars of resources. Retrieving those resources will help them grow. Oxfam ‘09:
“For … countries that depend on extractive industries, the income generated … could be … an opportunity … countries … could use hydrocarbon exports to significantly increase their public spending per capita on education and health … Bolivia saw oil and gas revenues rise from $448m in 2004 to $1.531bn in 2006, due to the redistribution of profits agreed in contracts after 2005, … Indonesia and Norway are good examples of countries with significant revenue from natural resource extraction, …”
And, the more profit we make, the more we can reduce the impact to the environment. This means negating solves both the problems of the affirmative by reducing environmental impacts, and the problems of the negative by improving the economic conditions of developing countries and reducing the suffering of their people. Berstam:
“The existing … long-term data suggest not only non-proportionality of pollution with respect to economic growth, but also non-linearity and concavity. … it shows the pollution decelerates over decades of economic growth. Even global aggregate data, … still shows marked deceleration of emissions.”
Moreover, we can use the profits we make from create new and better ways to acquire resources and reduce the environmental impact. Barbier:
“we are on the verge of … the “Age of Ecological Scarcity” … environmental degradation … may be occurring on such an unprecedented scale … If humankind is to succeed … we need to find the next … natural resources and adapt economic development accordingly. This will require developing low-carbon sources of energy, processes of production and technological innovation that require less environmental degradation … It will also mean instigating … changes, … to foster a new era of “sustainable” economic development.”
So in short, negating gives us more money and economic growth in the short and long term. We can then transition that profit into new ways to reduce the environmental impacts and help the environment in the long term. This means by negating we solve the problems of both the aff world and the neg world.
Then, go to his case.
My opponent has literally just 100% plagiarised his round. From "Definitions ..." to "Affirmative position of the topic." is from this link
And from "Aff Position ..." through the rest of his round is from this link.
Don't let him get away with just plagiarising and drop his case as his behavior just encourages people to not come up with original arguments and case writing, which harms the educational value of debating. If we're not learning how to make and write cases and arguments ourselves, we're not learning anything except how to press ctrl + c and ctrl + v (copy and paste). And education is important to debate because it provides out-of-round value for debate. Once the competition has ended the only thing left that matters is what the debaters learned from the experience. Without that, the debate doesn't matter.
Moreover, my opponent is blatantly cheating. The character limit for the debate is 8,000, and my opponent's round was 24,436 characters. This is a blatant violations of the rules of the debate that he himself created, therefore he should be dropped immediately. Moreover, using more characters than the character limit allows is a violation of fairness in debate, which merits you drop him immediately. It's blatantly unfair if he can use three rounds worth of characters in a round where I can only use the alloted characters fairly provided. And fairness is important to debate because the entire point of the judge's role is to decide who did the better debating, but doing so becomes impossible when one side begins to cheat.
But furthermore, even if you limit his case to 8k characters, his case cuts off before he reads literally any of his evidence (the 8000th character is ending at "This is the first of a two part exploration of the Affirmative position of" (feel free to check for yourself in word). So limiting him to fair play leaves him with literally no argument to advance.
And, this isn't something that you can correct with just a conduct violation, as he's clearly prone to doing it in more than just this debate. He's already done it in other debates as well (http://www.debate.org...). So it's time to skip from just the conduct violation and just vote him down to discourage this kind of attitude. Only giving him the loss will be sufficient punishment.
And this isn't something that can be rectified by him just adhering to the character limit for the rest of the debate because the damage is already done. I've already had to spend a whole lot of time and characters trying to cover his abuse to check for it, so the debate can never be "fair" again. He can't take back his round and make it adhere to the character limit, so punish him for doing it.
With what little characters I have left, let's respond to his case:
First off, there's absolutely no kind of framework in his case. He has no value, no criterion, no burden system of any kind to weigh his contentions off of. This means that you're a) having to look to my framework, which I'm fulfilling much better than he is, and b) if he doesn't link his contentions into my framework he cannot weigh offense off of them. This means that if he's not linking into my framework, he cannot affirm the resolution.
Second off, he literally can't link into my framework. By valuing environmental protection, we're just leaving the resources that we can use to advance human interests such as health and education or (gasp!) reducing the environmental impacts of taking those resources. This means that he literally cannot be minimizing the suffering of the developing world because he's letting them just maintain, which only prolongs their suffering.
As an interesting side-note, his case specifically says "Nevertheless, I believe the real strength of the Affirmative case will reside in the value framework. Aff must not lose their value or they will be in for a fight." when he doesn't have a value.
 David Papineau, “Naturalism,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007.
 Cummiskey, David. Kantian Consequentialism. Published by Oxford University Press. 1996. (p.142).
Tmdog3758 forfeited this round.
Extend my arguments
Tmdog3758 forfeited this round.
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