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Resolved: Governments ought to make economic reparations for their country’s historical injustices

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 NFL LD Topic
 Date Used  Proposed 2007/8

Overview

Definitions

Governments

It may be in the interest of the affirmative to limit this to governments of developed countries. One of the difficulties of economic reparations is that it uses government money for basically a moral purpose. If the historical injustices affected economics, it may help create economic equality. But reparations for past injustices are not generally economic programs. Therefore the affirmative may wish to limit "governments" to developed governments that can afford the reparations. A government that has had multiple regime changes in the past decade may run a country burdened with historical injustices, but it probably wouldn't be able to afford the reparations.

Ought to

Ought means to have a duty or moral obligation. Therefore, the use of "ought to" in this resolution implies that a government has a moral obligation to make economic reparations.

Economic Reparations

Payments offered as an indemnity for loss or damage.

Who would these payments be made to?

Country's Historical Injustices

Times in a nations history in which individuals were not given their fair due.

Country's

This could be defined in a more inclusive sense, meaning injustices by the government and the society. It would then include a huge realm of injustices, including vigilantism and media abuse. Otherwise, and this may be preferable for the affirmative to keep the debate more specific, it can be defined only as injustices made by the government. Even under this definition, it could still include injustices made by the people that the government made a conscious decision to let go unpunished.

Historical

It may be necessary to address how long ago in history these injustices can have occurred. It seems illogical that the Italian government would be responsible for the injustices of the Roman Empire, but a general guideline for this may need to be proposed by the affirmative.

Injustices

In practice these are going to be subjective, and will have to be defined by the government itself. For the sake of a value debate, this is not really the affirmative's problem, because that side is only arguing that whatever those injustices are, the government ought make economic reparations for them.

Affirming the Topic

ArgumentsResponses

Argument #1

Yes

Argument.

No

Type your responses here.

Argument #2

Yes

No

Argument #3

Yes

No

Argument #4

Yes

No


Negating the Topic

ArgumentsResponses

Economically Ineffective

Yes

Government's economic programs should be based on improving the economic situation in a country, not shedding guilt of past injustices. The countries most likely to be burdened with historical injustices are those that are least stable, and so probably also the ones that are least able to afford economic reparations. As the "ought to" in the resolution dictates, these reparations would be justified morally, not economically. A government can make amends for its past injustices in a number of ways that don't harm its nation's economy. It is morally preferable for money that would go into the economic reparation program to instead be used to help create economic equality, regardless of whether or not the poor are also the victims of historical injustices.

No

Just because a government program has economic means, that does not mean it must have economic ends. The purposes of taxing go beyond economic redistribution. A government should be able spend its funds on projects that benefit society, even if they do not add to the economy.

Argument #2

Yes

No

Argument #3

Yes

No


Relevant Examples

  • The Holocaust
  • Slavery in the U.S.

Related Pages on Debatepedia

External Links and Reources

Reparations for the Holocaust

Reparations for slavery in the U.S.

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