Globalization Debate

Weekly Debates

The Society convened to discuss what is perhaps the most defining feature of the modern era. In tackling “Resolved: Globalization is force of good,” the Society considered issues ranging from non-state actors to cultural hegemony to economics. In the opening remarks, co-keynoters Ms. Marki and Mr. Monod outlined some of the benefits of globalization such as social connectivity; mutual interests as a deterrent of conflict; and mutual exchange of ideas.  Mr. Sassoon and Mr. Miller, however, challenged whether globalization was so benign. Mr. Sassoon pointed to Israel and Japan as examples of countries which have grown in spite of or failed because of globalization. And Mr. Miller provided a laundry list of global threats including transnational terrorism, the rise of multinational corporations, and an economic race to the bottom.

With the stage set, the Society moved on the floor portion of the debate. Many of the members who spoke—including all those from the McDonough School of Business—hailed the powers of microfinance, foreign direct investment, information technology, and other innovations of the liberal economic order. On the negation, members pointed to globalization’s inequitable dividends. Mr. Spagnuolo, for instance, argued that the global economic order forces many third world countries to rely on natural resource exports—drawing on the “center” and “periphery” dichotomy. Mr. Henderson added a level of nuance to the debate by contending that globalization, more than simply affecting the material conditions of people, undermines democratic dialogue and civic action—an explanation for the rise in illiberal democracies worldwide.

With this, the debate moved towards a value-based discussion. On the affirmation, Chancellor Wagner took the debate back to the individual level by arguing that people ultimately move globalization and, because people are a force of good, so too is globalization. Mr. Downes turned this concept around by questioning whether human life is better now—in an age of impersonal and increasingly digitized communication—than before globalization. Mr. Cantirino questioned the value of the so-called multiculturalism that globalization has produced—describing it as a “pastiche of meaninglessness.” Ms. Green also attacked the concept of multiculturalism by arguing that the lines that divide us are necessary to keep our identity intact. On the affirmation, Mr. Askonas charged that it was precisely because of this uncertainty that globalization gives people more choice than ever—in economic, political, and social spheres—to define who they are.

With a debate rich in substance and complexity, the Society ultimately voted to affirm the resolution 39-15-5.

The following outstanding speakers were awarded Merrick points:

  • Mr. Cantirino: 5
  • Mr. Downes: 5
  • Mr. Walker: 3
  • Mr. Henderson: 2
  • Mr. Sasssoon: 1

This brings the total Merrick points to:

  • Mr. Cantirino: 15
  • Mr. Walker: 7
  • Mr. Downes: 5
  • Mr. Henderson: 5
  • Chancellor Wagner: 4
  • Ms. Wood: 4
  • Ms. Green: 3
  • Mr. Desnick: 2
  • Mr. Spagnuolo: 1
  • Mr. Sassoon: 1


Please join us February 17, 2011, as we debate “Resolved: The presidency of Ronald Reagan did more harm than good.”


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