Instigator / Pro

Developing Countries' Citizens Should Migrate if Local Pollution is Serious


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 3 votes and with 7 points ahead, the winner is...

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Time for argument
Three days
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One month
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Multiple criterions
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Contender / Con

"Pollution is serious": Up to our personal judgement and interpretation, standards set by developed countries. It is impacting regular everyday life, environment, etc.

Migrate: to go from one country, region, or place to another.

Round 1
Oh, once again, looking up the premise of the debate, I realize I have mistakenly interpreted "the city where you are working in/fighting for" for Developing countries in general. Nevertheless, I will go with our established resolution. It's common established fact that developing countries' pollution can be seriously impacting on life. It might seem obvious, but since I'm fighting the great Blamonkey, I might as well pile upon additional sources. 

WHO has mentioned many problems that developing countries' citizens may have: "The health impacts of environmental risks are heaviest among poor and vulnerable populations in developing countries. For instance, poor coastal populations in developing countries may be among the most vulnerable to sea-level rises and extreme weather events. The poor in developing countries generally have the least access to clean water sources, and those same populations also may be the most directly exposed to environmental risks such as vector-borne diseases and indoor air pollution from solid fuel use. At the same time, poor people also may be the most dependent on natural resources as sources of livelihoods and well-being, and thus be most impacted by unsustainable exploitation or depletion of those resources".

The efforts to fight the developing countries' pollution has not had much effect. The resources are stretched thin and the citizens themselves would find it difficult to continue, trying to protest and actively change the pollution existing in the country. My site's purported solutions don't really seem to advocate for any actions from the citizens to actively help: " Combating air pollution in developing countries will require the creation of air quality standards and expanding industries will be forced to comply. It will also necessitate the creation of various technologies to support these standards such as cleaner transportation and cleaner methods of energy production. These things are difficult for developing nations to accomplish precisely because they are still growing, so support from developed nations is crucial.

Developing nations should make the implementation of pollution reduction technology a priority, such as switching to cleaner fuels, investing in scrubbers and waste management, and creating communal transit options. Developed nations can help create these technologies in developing countries, jump-starting the process and leading to earlier environmental protection efforts."

They have no obligation to actively benefit the country, as they only need to assert right to themselves, and even people's combined finances would find it difficult to solve the problem. While it is true that similar to the original topic where they are fighting and working hard for the country; the difficult situation and the lack of certainty that we will quickly resolve the problem tells us that we can and should migrate to a safer location. The citizens should do what is healthy for their bodies. It makes more sense that way. If I was in a developing country, despite encouragement to continue struggling in a difficult situation, I would have the right to choose to leave this dangerous area. It's possible that I will suffer physical problems in the future. And my child will too. For the sake of our families, and ourselves, the developing citizens should try to migrate their areas with dangerous local pollution. 

It is clear that the developing cities' struggle for jobs and opportunity is difficult and fruitless. Statistics have supported millions of people unemployed, especially in developing countries, with job difficulty in these developing countries. If it is pointless to continue in an unknown and near impossible way, with failures and failures causing suffering and depression. If you have the resources, then you should migrate, or support the migration, such that they are able to establish better outcomes for your future.

Both my opponent and I agree that this debate should focus on the wellbeing of people living in the developing world. I posit that we use a cost-benefit analysis to determine net benefits or losses. This way, neither of us are limited to impacts concerning health and we are free to examine all costs and benefits associated with migration.

C1: Move to Where?

Long journeys are perilous, resource-intensive, and fatal. That’s why most Syrian refugees occupy Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey as opposed to far-flung nations with better human rights records (1). AP has documented over 50,000 migrant deaths and disappearances, which represents a 49% jump in immigrant deaths since 2000 (2). The danger of relocating deters people from moving long distances. Boston University published a paper reviewing the link between proximity and migrant destination in 2000. Of the 19 OECD countries for which data was available, the paper reports that neighboring countries were the primary destination for migrants (3). The annual UN migration reports found that in Southeast Asia (a region rife with developing countries,) intra-regional movement constituted nearly 80% of total migration in the region in 2019 (4).

The exorbitant migratory cost of long-distance travel is not limited to deaths from crossing oceans. The BU paper offers a list of other reasons why one might abstain from migrating, including lost earnings, limited information on remote areas, and the psychological cost of being separated from one’s culture (3). Language, a component of culture, can predict vocational success, which is why immigration models predict higher immigrant flow between countries with similar languages (some models as high as 20%) (5). The cost of emigration varies by country, but in Cuba, the cost of a passport is 15 times the average monthly salary (9). Algerian harragas heading to Europe need upward of $1,200 for the trip, which is 12times the monthly minimum wage (10).

It’s also important to note how freedom of movement impacts migration. Using a variety of ordinal human rights indices, the Cato Institute determined that in 2017, 43 countries restricted freedom of movement domestically, 66 countries restricted movement internationally, and 46countries restricted women’s right to move (6). These countries impose sanctions on violators of movement mandates. In Tunisia, freedom of movement is hampered by the S17 measure designed to reduce terrorism. Despite its intentions, it has been used to intimidate and accost civilians who just want to exercise their right to move (7). These threats are not always empty and have resulted in some being detained while others had files opened up on them by police forces (7). In China, the hukou system precludes 290 million people from freedom to move, and violators are sometimes subject to extralegal detainment in “black prisons” (11).

This resolution would require people living in polluted cities to emigrate. Given the 2 factors presented, this is untenable. Proximity to a cleaner municipality or country is not guaranteed given the ubiquity of polluting in the developing world. 9/10 people in the world live in areas with air pollution that exceeds WHO recommendations, with the burden falling disproportionately on the developing world. Where are these folks going to move? Long journeys to developed nations are hampered by cost and hazard. Furthermore, many countries sanction emigration, which means people that try to move domestically or internationally may be subject to harassment or death. Inter-country emigration is similarly discouraged by many countries, and even if it wasn’t, moving small distances does not obviate oneself from the effects of pollution. Moving incurs a cost that I don’t think my opponent grasps, but it is of foremost importance in this debate. An affirmative ballot would risk the lives of the most indigent who are least capable of incurring the pecuniary and health costs to travel, and yet my opponent would implore them to anyway per the resolution.

Round 2
looking back onto the arguments within the Chinese entertainment show, I am astonished they do not mention the least possibility for death or problems moving to another city or country, though I suppose death is a sensitive topic for them to tackle. I think most Chinese citizens are able to move with relative safety. Regardless. I think this debate comes down if you think that we should support the migration, and hence encourage open borders or even provide material so that they may safely go to our developed countries. Or the alternative is to focus more on solving the pollution itself, but then we'd have to migrate our own scientists and workers to the polluted area, which can be dangerous in itself. I personally think that the inaction on the citizen's part while waiting, is very pessimistic and lazy; you are not creating an opportunity for yourself and you are just staying where you are.

The pro side can arguably also win in a moral or philosophical way because if chances of death are bad either way, at least you could say you tried, and your active effort got you a valiant hero's death. You tried to change fate and only the countries' inability to accept immigration, or poor transportation, stopped you. It's not some city pollution that you basically had no say in, and then you work your butt off for the country, for a measly wage and stuck in the horrible situation with very little way out. In my opinion, con might lose here unless developed countries' efforts are quick enough to prevent the idea that "journey is more important than destination". You arguably grow more if you go on a bit of an adventure, and you show that you have your strong willed independence rather than being stuck in your current situation.

sorry about the weird shift in tone, though I can I BB usually boils down to moral/philosophical ideas, if not relationship based. I was just listing formal ideas in R1 to establish the danger was at least equal to the cons. I hope that's okay.
I’ll start with his case first before touching on his rebuttals.

Pro’s Advocacy
Pro’s postulation can be summed up thusly:
1. People in developing nations need relief from pollution now.
2. Pollution-reduction is languid, and developed nations are not stepping in enough to drive change.
Ergo, people should leave their city/country/region in search of less-polluted land.

It remains uncontested that emigrates incur a cost when they move (Pro says so in the last paragraph of R1,) and lengthier voyages are more costly than shorter ones. Yet, Pro suggests that emigrates should put themselves in danger by encouraging emigrates to move farther away to unpolluted countries. Just so we are clear, the cost of emigrating is not small. Many countries prohibit domestic and international movement of their citizens. Violation of these laws may result in bodily harm or detention (see my China and Tunisia example and also note the number of countries that prohibit movement of some kind). People escaping Syria's perpetual discord have perished from the elements, often drowning. The financial cost is also important since legal emigration (a much safer route) requires unaffordable passports. None of this is factored into the resolution’s verbiage or Pro’s argument, so expect people to die en masse as a result of unsafe passage in Pro’s world. It bears repeating; 9/10 people live in areas that have higher air pollution levels than what is recommended by the WHO (1). That’s a lot of people with varying families, cultures, personal health conditions, and wealth. Is it really tenable to assert that everyone, no matter how unprepared to pay the pecuniary and health costs inextricable to emigrating, can pack their bags and leave? I don't think so.
Pro also fails to establish solvency. He lays out his intentions in the final paragraph of his first argument when he mentioned that people should do what is most healthy for them. If reducing health risks to vulnerable people is the foremost priority of Pro, then he can’t just brush away the sequestering of 290 million people in China. Many emigrants will never reach their destination, which means they incurred the onus of a long voyage all for naught assuming they made it out of their home country/city/state without being imprisoned. My cost-benefit analysis framework suggests that when the costs are large, and the benefits are minimal, an action is not worth pursuing. This is a clear Con win.

Onto Rebuttals.
First, note that my framework and harms are not refuted byPro. He does offer philosophical repudiation of my arguments, which I will dissect.

Lazy? Pessimistic?

Pro claims that not leaving the developing world over the threat of pollution is lazy and pessimistic. I would think that any impartial assessment would find that the truth is more complex than any over-generalization. People who choose not to move are motivated by pragmatism. Moving provides dubious benefits, and the cost is too high a hurdle to overcome. Renderingmoral judgment on the poor garners Pro no ground. Even if I concede that not moving out of a reasonable fear for one’s life is a lazy position to take, what's the impact? Why is it important that some people are lazy and pessimistic? Weigh this against the burden of emigrating.
Note that my position does not preclude people from moving. If people have the resources to leave, they can. I object solely to the monolithic obligation of “all” people emigrating from polluted lands. In other words, people are not stopped from moving away from pollution in the Con world. They just have no obligation to do so. At least in Con’s world, people are able to take the “non-lazy” option with respect to their resources and ability. It isn't lazy to not run a 5-mile marathon if I broke my leg because it is not within my current abilities, just as it isn’t within the abilities of millions to travel to another country/state/city.


Heroism reposes against insanity with a needle-thin line dividing the two concepts. Not assessing whether movement is more within one’s abilities before moving is nowhere near that line; it is insanity. My opponent is setting up millions to die in what can only be described as a massacre through his imperative-to-move doctrine. Vonnegut famously wrote:
“…there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again…”
Under my opponent’s definition of heroism, he could defend opening up a restaurant with zero culinary experience on scant funds. At least they tried, right? Just because the journey is more important than the destination (a trite aphorism to be sure) it doesn't mean that we should journey with no destination in sight. 


Round 3
well said. You encapsulated con's worries perfectly (though cost is much less for developed citizens in the original premise, as is death rate). I concede, because of misinterpreting the premise, and also, even with the correct premise, it is indeed difficult to see direct benefit, especially if you have to start over, merely due to pollution. (Not to mention that in China you can fight pollution much better than developing countries, thus allowing for con to win the original premise). Vote Blamonkey.
I accept your concession. Good debate.
Round 4
another one bites the dust (that would be me).
Thank you for your time.