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June 1st, 2008
The Effects of Globalization

Case-Specific Resources

What Is the WTO?

The WTO’s site provides a definition of the WTO, links to history, facts, membership and more. Because this is the official WTO site, bear in mind that there will not be any critical commentary on the WTO here.

Ten Common Misunderstandings about the WTO
This simple brochure offers the WTO’s point of view on the questions raised by this controversy.

CHINA: A Cultural Geography
A good source of background information on China from Teaching Tolerance – size, population, religions etc. and a relatively brief summary of China’s contemporary history.

“Globalization and the Poor,” THE HARTFORD COURANT
An excellent one-page article about the impact of globalization, liberalized trade and organizations like the WTO on developing countries, and especially on the poor majority in those countries.

“UN Conference on Trade and Development Report
A brief, though more complex, overview of some of the pros and cons of China’s entry into the WTO. China will remain a major competitor in industries such as clothing, shoes, and assembly operations in high-technology sectors. However, China’s liberalized trade policies are expected to lead to major losses in the state-owned industries and in agriculture.

General Background Resources:

The WTO in Action: Case Studies
An advanced account from Rethinking Schools Online of how the WTO rulings in various international disputes jeopardizes environmental, wildlife, and human health standards. This document should be accessible to students with some explanation from the teacher – i.e. the TRIPS agreement (detailed in part 2, the Chilling Effect) was a ruling of the WTO, and serves for the most part to reinforce the power of the most highly developed countries.

“Rich Land, Poor People: Exports vs. Food Security in Mexico,” Rethinking Globalization.
An account of the effects of globalization on Mexico, and especially how liberalized trade has serious economic, personal, and environmental effects that cause grave problems for Mexico’s small-scale farmers, the campesinos.


A documentary on the forces that have led to the current global economy. The companion Web site offers resources and an educator’s guide.

“TV Takes Up Some Weighty Matters of Economics,” THE NEW YORK TIMES
A brief review of the PBS documentary COMMANDING HEIGHTS: The Battle for the World Economy. It provides a good overview of the film, which would be useful to students before viewing. According to the review, while the program offers some dissenting views, its main message is clear: unfettered free markets offer the best path to prosperity.

“Forum in New York: The Protesters,” THE NEW YORK TIMES
This archived NEW YORK TIMES article offers an account of an anti-globalization group called the Raging Grannies, who are passionate about environmental degradation, the increasing reach of multinational corporations, and the damage they do to human rights and democracy in developing countries. This article requires a payment of $2.50.

RETHINKING GLOBALIZATION, Rethinking Schools Press, 2002.
This comprehensive new book from Rethinking Schools helps teachers raise critical issues with students in grades 4-12 regarding the globalization of the world’s economies. Visit the URL above for information on how to order the book.

50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice
A good Web site for students’ exploration of the anti-globalization efforts. 50 Years is Enough is a coalition of over 200 U.S. grassroots organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


Teachers will need the following to prepare and implement this lesson: Internet access; a world map in the classroom; an understanding of the Academic Controversy process; copies of Student Handouts. If students do not have Internet access in the classroom, teachers will need to photocopy and prepare Resource Packets for students using materials from the Resources above. Teachers should select materials that are most appropriate for their students’ reading level, and the packets should include a variety of different resources – for example, articles and essays, maps, graphs and other visuals, and primary documents. For the Resource Packets, teachers will want to include a number of selections from the “Case-Specific,” and “General Background” sections of the Resources.

Students will need the following to complete this lesson: Resource Packets provided by their teachers; paper and pens; an understanding of the Academic Controversy process; copies of Student Handouts. Internet access in the classroom is a helpful resource, and if it’s available, the teacher can assign more investigative research tasks.

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