International Poverty Law: A Response to Economic Globalization


This paper is directed at poverty lawyers and, more generally, anyone with an interest in the relationship between poverty and globalization. In this paper, I argue that poverty law needs to expand its scope in order to encompass the international dimensions of poverty, and to thereby become responsive to the current nature of poverty. This need is evident, because wealth and poverty have been globalized, domestic issues have become international issues, and international issues have become domestic issues and produced domestic changes. After establishing these premises, I describe five areas of research and advocacy, each of which is located within the rubric of economic globalization, for international poverty lawyers. These areas are (1) the destruction of community, (2) the evisceration of democratic politics, (3) systemic inequality, (4) forced globalization and its budgetary effects, and (5) the repealing of civil rights. In conclusion, I suggest a number of tools for international poverty lawyers who seek to engage in the areas mentioned above. These include a comparative law perspective, the international regulatory agenda, and the sociological imagination.


International Law

Date of this Version

August 2003