Resolved: On balance, economic globalization benefits worldwide poverty reduction.

Resolved: On balance, economic globalization benefits worldwide poverty reduction.

This topic is great! It’s deep and intricate, and it should provide for some very interesting debates. It offers debaters and opportunity to learn a lot and develop creative positions.


Economic Globalization – You can find a definition of economic with a quick Google search. Let’s talk about what globalization looks like. It involves countries opening their borders and their economies to each other. Open trade, digital commerce, linked currencies, and dependent markets are all hallmarks of a globalizing economy. Globalization is much more possible in the modern world because of digital commerce. Ali Baba is a great example of how the internet allows suppliers and distributors to connect on a global scale. The question the resolution asks is whether or not this globalization reduces poverty across the world.

Case Positions


1. Micro Lending and Currency Access – Globalization allows for global micro lending and impoverished individuals to have access to foreign currencies with much greater purchasing power. Platforms like Kiva are a direct product of economic globalization and directly demonstrate a tangible impact on poverty reduction. $25 USD goes much farther in Kenya than in does in the US, and a global economy allows that impact to be realized.

2. Education – With economic globalization comes global education. This includes business and economic education. Entrepreneurship is not only present in developed nations, but in impoverished parts of the world as well. Globalization allows the transfer of knowledge necessary to realize those entrepreneurial ambitions.

3. Awareness – Awareness is in itself a necessity to affect global poverty. If those with resources are not aware of what’s going on in other parts of the world, then those problems cannot be resolved. A global economy allows for that awareness.


1. Labor Rights –  Many countries around the world do not protect labor rights. These policies mean that economic globalization give companies access to what effectively amounts to slave labor. This continues the oppression of poor labor markets, and it also takes jobs away from countries which protect labor rights. In this way, economic globalization actually exacerbates worldwide poverty.

2. Dependent Economies – In a global economy, struggling economic states bring down everyone else, and poor economies become dependent upon strong economies. The US financial crisis crippled economies across the world. It can be argued that Greece would not be in such bad shape if there wasn’t a global economy. Since strong economies are bound to have crises, economic globalization can actually increase global poverty.

Hope that help gets you started. Good luck!


25 responses to “Resolved: On balance, economic globalization benefits worldwide poverty reduction.

    • I don’t use any sources for the overview. These are all just ideas and initial thoughts. I like to encourage students to do their own research 🙂

  1. Do you think it might end up as a definitions debate on the word poverty? As the entire affirmative side hinges on that definition?

    • No, I don’t think it will. The definition of poverty doesn’t really matter; the understanding of it does. it’s pretty fair to say that the resolution is asking whether or not globalization makes people more or less poor.

  2. “Absolute poverty measures poverty in relation to the amount of money necessary to meet basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. The concept of absolute poverty is not concerned with broader quality of life issues or with the overall level of inequality in society. The concept therefore fails to recognize that individuals have important social and cultural needs. This, and similar criticisms, led to the development of the concept of relative poverty. Relative poverty defines poverty in relation to the economic status of other members of the society: people are poor if they fall below prevailing standards of living in a given societal context.”
    The definition of either absolute and relative poverty can be defined at the beginning of your round to establish which definition both sides have to debate.

    • Or, you could just define poverty, and not really worry about it. Why are these two definitions different in terms of the resolution? They’re directly proportional. It’s not possible for one to go up and the other to go down at the same time.

      • Except the distinction between different poverties is key – the World Bank’s main definition of poverty, making less than $1.25 a day, has different effects in different parts of the world. That money would go much further for someone in, say, Africa than it would in the U.S.
        Furthermore, as said in the UNESCO definition quoted above, that is absolute poverty, while relative poverty takes in quality of life in addition to income. For example, someone could make $1.25 a day, have a house, and have fair worker’s rights while someone else in a different country could make the same amount of money, barely have warm clothing, and be treated horribly in their occupation.

      • So, you’re not actually addressing my point. I understand the definitions are different and what they mean. For the resolution, it doesn’t matter which definition you pick because they are directly proportional. You cannot decrease absolute poverty and increase relative poverty. Therefore, if you can prove one, you’ve proven the other as well.

      • So would saying that with free trade and the expansion of schools be helpful for the impoverished to have access to education?

  3. Do you think it’d be possible to do some environmental impacts of econ. globalization and say that it it eventually leads to ultimate poverty (everyone not having the resources to sustain life) because of its unsustainable drain on the environment. Maybe go on to talk about huge corps. ignoring regulations, deforestation, etc.

  4. Couldn’t education in AFF backfire on because there is no way for people in poverty to access this education or even afford it?

      • But how do they get access to education if they are being displaced and forced into slums?even if they had access to it, how can they afford education?

      • The point is that globalization gives them access to it. Things like programs which provides laptops to Kenyan school children are possible because of globalization. For affording it, microfinancing, also enable through globalization, allows them to get the money to afford it.

      • Turn O.o

        Globalization increases child labor which takes away time from education they can’t now access because they’re busy working for the bourgeoisie XD. God I hate capitalism

      • What? No way there’s more child labor with globalization. Pakistani kids don’t make soccer anymore bro, not since Nike got all up in there.

  5. Ok, so the impact link of globalization upon child labor is sketchy at best, but still… even if everyone did magically have access to and could take advantage of education made possible by globalization (if we completely ignore social and cultural constraints) there is nothing for people to move up into. There can’t be social mobility because it takes much more than education to solve for poverty or even improve it. Education can’t begin to solve without preexisting infrastructure, preexisting job diversities, a surplus of capital for local people to actually spend on advanced educated skills, and policies that protect the common people from capitalistic abuses and wealth inequality.

    • No economy in the world had any of those things until people created them. Infrastructure, capital, and a job market all have to be made. They’re made when the need arises. Why would anyone become a builder if there’s nothing to build? With education, people now have the ability to satisfy economic gaps just like that. The infrastructure doesn’t exist, but if you have a population that understands that and is able to solve it, it’s a step in the right direction. This is a chicken or the egg question, and admittedly, it’s not as simple as we’re painting it out to be. It’s not like one happens before the other. They happen together, and it’s a gradual process.

  6. Fair enough. I guess the process has to start somewhere. I just tend to be skeptical of assuming the benefits of capitalism (“free trade”) are net positive when policy implementations are taken into account. It seems that the effective growth of wealth in an economy over time becomes slanted towards the upper 1% devaluing the actual benefits of an education when an educated worker isn’t given their due (because of no protective policies). I don’t know, I guess I’m just saying it’s a little bit of a stretch to turn towards education as the fundamental basis for change when it can easily equate to nothing. The fact of the matter is rich people like being rich, staying rich, and getting richer. That combined with the fact that rich people are the ruling class in most instances means policies in favor of the working class aren’t usually present.

    • I tend to share in your pessimism, or call it realism if you want. But then stuff like Marxism happens, or the American revolution. And it lends credence to the idea that an educated motivated population can, in fact, do something. Both sides are arguable.

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