Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

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Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

This topic is so boring. I’d like to know what tree huggers managed to weasel their way onto the committee and get this topic in the list. I rarely say things like this, and by that I mean, I almost always say things like this, but the topic sucks. Despite its massive suckage, though, we must forge ahead and conduct an analysis so that we can conquer all who oppose us on the battlefield of debate. Let’s get started 🙂


1. Developing countries – As the term is understood, a developing country is a country that does not meet Western nation’s basic concept of standard of living. Developing countries struggle with economic development, technological advancement, and internal strife. They are often typified by poverty, high illiteracy rates, and corrupt governments. You know what developing countries are, so don’t try to claim that every country is technically “developing.”

2. Prioritize – This term has been used in a number of resolutions before. Prioritization is simple. If you prioritize something, you choose that thing over something else when you’re faced with the choose.

3. Environmental Protection – Simply put, this is protection of the environment. Environmental protection entails taking care of the earth, preserving nature, and generally protecting the environment from destruction.

4. Resource extraction – This means extracting resources. In the context of the resolution, you’re probably most concerned with activities like oil drilling, fracking, mining, cutting down forests, and other generally destructive tasks.

Case Positions


1. Governmental Legitimacy – A government is only legitimate if it fulfills its obligations under the social contract. The government has no obligation to the environment, since the environment was not a party in the contract. The government’s obligation is to protect and provide for its people, and since the nation is still developing, it is implicit that those obligations have not yet been met. Resources are vital for a government to be able to carry out these obligations. If the government does not prioritize resource extraction, it will be unable to remain legitimate.

2. Utilitarianism – Prioritizing resource extraction leads to the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Developing nations need resources for basic infrastructure creation like running water systems, roads, electricity generation, hospital building, etc… In the modern world, it’s almost impossible to extract such resources without harming the environment, so when the two come into conflict, extraction must be prioritized to achieve what is best for the people.


1. The World is Flat – Developing nations do not need to worry about environmentally dangerous resource production. Increasing globalization has made it possible for developing nations to readily acquire resources for which they would otherwise need to destroy the environment. Prioritizing resource extraction results in carrying out unnecessary violence to our environment, which is a moral offense.

2. Necessity Leads to Progress – Earth will eventually run out of resources, and it will be necessary for the human race to figure something out. If nations begin prioritizing environmental protection, it will spark ingenuity which will provide energy solutions more readily. Human history demonstrates that people innovate best and most efficiently when there is a desperate need for innovation. This is why wars lead to such tremendous technological innovations. If governments refuse to extract resources, then people will be forced to innovate.

I hope this helps get you started. Good luck!


10 responses to “Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

  1. I believe the first argument on the negative concedes a misconception of the resolution. By arguing that resource extraction results in arbitrary violence against the ecosystem, one presumes that the ecosystem is important – more important than “arbitrary” resource extraction. This is an easy turn to win an affirmative any round.

    • Actually, upon further review of the post, it seems as though the affirmative and negative arguments are switched. The negative arguments are actually affirmative ones and vice versa. The affirmative defends environmental protection, whereas the negative upholds resource extraction as the paramount value.

  2. I feel like an argument that will appear a lot is anthropocentricism. Also, the term “recourse extraction” is vague, so I feel like there will be a lot of topicality on the topic as well which would exclude a lot of advantages aff plans might come up with. Also, counter plans might be strategic since NC NIBs are difficult to come up with on this topic, either that or they will just run a topicality and a theory shell.

    • Topicality and theory shells are a joke. You should never lose to one.

      That being said, you don’t need to offer a plan on either. Precisely for the reason you mention, I’d avoid offering a plan and just argue the resolution.

      As far as anthropocentricism is concerned, I don’t know that you’ll see much of it. I think you’ll see a lot more utility or global welfare type arguments, but I actually like the human values position more here.

  3. What about running an argument on the aff side that stresses the corruption and possible negatives that have come with resource extraction, such as inflation?

    • Why are corruption and inflation necessarily bad things? You need to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re running something like societal welfare, that makes sense, but if you’re running a human rights framework, it’s not a good argument.

  4. Hi so I had a question about the aff case… I was going to try having a value of global welfare. but my contentions say a lot about resource extraction can be dangerous to t he countries citizens and therefore isnt beneficial for the world or that country. Does that make any sense? Im not sure what I can use for my VC yet but yeah.

    • Hi Kat,

      Yes, that makes sense to me. However, you need to be clear about why global welfare is valuable and why individual countries should care. Why does global welfare determine what a government should prioritize? That will help you determine your VC as well.

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