The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Poverty can and should be eradicated

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,850 times Debate No: 73499
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I believe we can {and afford} to ensure the income of every adult is over the poverty line {be it through welfare payments or something else}. I believe we can also ensure that everyone has access to adequate amounts of what is commonly viewed as the necessities of life. Food, clothing and can provide adequate long-term shelter. I don't believe the statements that some people choose to be poor or do not take personal responsibility means we can't help them out of poverty. We still have in place mechanisms to ensure they don't live in poverty and have access to food, clothing and shelter.


- Thanks Pro for instigating the debate, & I accept his challenge.


- Poverty: the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions [1].

- Eradicate: to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots [2].


- The burden of proof is on Pro to prove that in fact Poverty can be eradicated & should be eradicated.



Best of luck.

Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting the debate.
I will try my best.

We know that we can significantly reduce poverty because there are countries that have done it like Norway and Denmark. So I would argue that ending the relatively low amount of remaining poverty is not beyond possibility. {The money to do it is definitively there in the case of Norway. Norway has a sovereign wealth fund in the hundreds of billions that could be used to directly give every poor person in Norway enough money to have a socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions}.

We know that countries like America have been able to drive the poverty rate down by a significant margin. {Take during the early days of the war on poverty}. So again I would make the argument that a country could build on that by doing things already proved by independent evaluators to be effective. Critical time-intervention to tackle homelessness, expanding the nurse-family partnership and career academies as examples. {Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy has info on these programs}.

We know the sums of money to provide food is relatively affordable {for governments or business}. The cost of school meals for kids in developing countries for example is within the billions a year and not the hundreds of billions. {According to the World Food Programme}. We know there is enough food to go around according to hunger charities so it is not about there not being enough food in the world or resources of governments to pay for that food that sees people in the world going without an adequate amount of food. The argument that we have not ended poverty yet is not an argument that it can't ever be done.

So for me this shows that we can/it is possible to end poverty and to ensure it does not come back.

I would argue there is enough evidence to show the world would be a better place without poverty. The impact that poverty has on the bottom-line. The Centre for American Progress estimates that childhood poverty alone in the US costs about 500 billion a year. Poverty is an underlying cause of human trafficking according to the United Nations. It is the underlying cause of a significant amount of bad health outcomes in America and around the world. {The latter according to the World Health Organization}. It is a cause of low educational achievement because poor kids are less likely to do well in school because of poverty. These are just some of the problems. So I would argue this shows why it would be a good thing to eradicate poverty.


Thanks Pro for the opening arguments.


- It should be noted that Pro’s Resolution is specific about eradicating poverty, not just reducing it.

- Beside the utter lack of sources & support for his arguments, Pro has yet to argue for the eradication of poverty, as affirmed in his resolution.


I. Causes of Poverty:

- Poverty, like ignorance & corruption, is a human condition entrenched in all societies past & present for it stems from causes that are inherent in the human psyche & rooted in the environment we live in. For brevity purposes we will limit the said causes to some of the more relevant ones:

1. Corruption: factor that makes it easy for the wealthy & authority to get richer at the expense of the poor, for there is a lock of higher authority to check the flow of wealth & thus the rules turn in favour of the fittest at the expense of the weakest [1]. Even Humanitarian Aid from rich countries (such as the US) to poor countries (such as sub-Saharan Africa) is damaged by corruption [2].

2. Climate Change: a condition generally beyond human control: some areas have stable climate suitable for cultivating land, harvest & nurturing livestock, some others suffer from extreme unstable environments, heat, soil, rain. . . that disrupts the sustenance necessary for local populations, which in its turn creates & may even perpetuate Poverty.

3. Wars: a state of affairs that drains resources, human & economic, & destroys the socioeconomic structures that generate & distribute wealth, which also creates Poverty & prevent possible solution from being implemented to solve it. & wars are, too, a human condition existing as long as humans exist.

4. Natural Disasters: floods, volcanos, tsunamis, epidemics, earthquakes. . . all contribute in destroying both wealth & the structure that might preserve it. Cause that can not be eradicated, not by any human means.

II. Reduction of Poverty vs Eradication of Poverty:

- Pro’s contentions are almost all for the reduction of poverty, not for its eradication. Pro must provide a way through which the roots of Poverty can be eliminated for good, that if he wishes to support his resolution.

- Furthermore, even in case a particular society was seemingly successful in eliminating poverty with itself, that would not imply its automatic success in eradicating it. That is because such achievements are contingent to a very specific circumstances of time & place & overall socioeconomic situation unlikely, even impossible, to form a perpetual state.


- The only argument provided by Pro seemingly supporting his resolution, that is eradicating Poverty as opposed to suppressing it, is the following:

The argument that we have not ended poverty yet is not an argument that it can't ever be done.”

- I certainly do not agree, for the above statement is inductively false. If, so far, we haven’t been able to end Poverty, then, inductively, that’s a good reason to believe that we never will.
Believing there is a chance to end Poverty for good warrants, at the very least, as good a counter-argument as the above pure inductive argument is. An anology could be made with the following example:

1. So far the sun rises from the east.

2. The sun tomorrow will rise from the east.

3. The sun tomorrow will rise from the west.

=> (1) is a fact ; (2) is inductively true, i.e certain.

=> (3) is inductively false. Therefore, believing (3) to be true necessitate a serious argument strong enough to trump pure inductive reasoning! Hence my position.


As I established throughout my round, eradicating Poverty isn’t simply rationally unjustified, for the statement “Poverty can be eradicated in the future” is inductively false, it is also & more importantly utterly hopeless, for Poverty is rooted in inunshakeable physical & mental realities, both internal & external, outside human influence.




Debate Round No. 2



I respectfully disagree that I focused on reducing it instead of eradication. I made the specific point that the fact we have reduced it puts us in a better position to be able to eradicate the remaining poverty. There is a relatively small number left to help (in some countries) making it more manageable hopefully and we have a successful foundation to build on. (Being the lessons learnt about what works).

I apologize for only referencing the organizations that I got my information from instead of specific links to each fact. (I have included them this time} I did mention the sources of information though in my last post and searching their sites will produce the info for those interested). I would also say the rebuttal to my statement that just because it has not been eradicated yet is not a strong one. Every invention and medical breakthrough in the 20th century could have easily been dismissed as not possible because it had not happened in the thousands of years before the 20th century.

Corruption is responsible for a relatively small share of the illicit money flow from developing countries. It also does not account for most of the poverty in rich countries. Unemployment, underemployment and low pay play much bigger roles there. There are also mechanisms to reduce corruption like Partnership in Transparency Fund {a charity}. Corruption itself does not mean the money that does make it can not work. Foreign aid still has plenty of success stories. The varying corruption rates across the globe and the changing list of most corrupt countries indicates that corruption is not some unchangeable part of nature but changes based on changeable factors

Blaming global warning and natural disasters for poverty is unfair. No doubt it makes things worse for farmers but there is a reason why Australia had the worse drought in 100 years and it did not result in mass starvation and death. It is not just about nature. The world can counter the negative impacts of nature. GMO crops are one way to partly protect against nature. Drought-resistant crops for example. The Commission for Africa although noting global warning is a problem for development pointed out many more man made issues like the need for storage facilities. Irrigation of land and the like.

Professor Steve Pinker notes that wars are becoming less frequent and deadly. We have also had times of relative peace like Pax Romana. Historians have also noted that war has not always occurred since the start of history. And countries like Switzerland and the pacifism movement demonstrates to me that war is not some inherent part of human nature that can't ever be changed.

I argue that no strong case has been made that, "inunshakeable physical and mental realities.." mean that we can't see the end to poverty. Con makes a good point that just because something is possible now does not mean that might be the case in the future. I would argue there are already countries that have had decades of relatively low poverty and if Con's argument is that the past is a good indicator of the future {aka because we have not ended poverty in the past means...} then those countries are looking good for the future.

Full-time employment {that pays well} is one of the best ways to keep people out of poverty and as long as the government {or international community} can afford to pay for full-employment public works programs then there is a strong case that poverty could always stay gone. Mechanisms already exist to ensure long-term funding for programs. Sovereign wealth funds and compulsory superannuation funds as some examples.

Thanks for the debate.
Foreign-aid-works-saves-lives {The Guardian}



the fact we have reduced it puts us in a better position to be able to eradicate the remaining poverty. There is a relatively small number left to help (in some countries) making it more manageable
- Pro’s proposition here is invalid, for:
1. It’s a straw man fallacy! Arguing for reducing poverty does not help the case of eradicating it!
2. His assumptions are grossly inaccurate: 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to water, 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation, 1.6 billion live without electricity, 1 in ever 2 children is in poverty. Poverty is very much rampant, unmanageable should be the more adequate word to describe it [1].

Every invention could have easily been dismissed as not possible because it had not happened in the thousands of years before.
- Pro is confusing argument from ignorance [2] with inductive reasoning [3].
1. Every raven, so far, is black. Therefore, all ravens are black. => This is an inductive argument.
2. Every unicorn, so far, is cute. Therefore, all unicorns are cute. => This is a argument from ignorance.
=> In (1) we have a positive factual claim, as in supported by real evidence, whereas in (2) we have no real evidence.
=> So far, poverty exists. Therefore, poverty always exists.

Corruption is responsible for a relatively small share of the illicit money flow from developing countries.
- Pro’s contention here is invalid, for:
1. It’s a bare assertion, unsupported by his own source: “multinational companies steal more than $900bn from developing countries each year through tax evasion and other illicit practices.”
2. Corruption, political or moral, is indeed one of major causes of poverty. Internally, it pushes Man into becoming ever greedy, thus not only does it prevent them from sharing wealth (i.e. preventing the reduction of Poverty) but it also initiates Poverty by compelling them to appropriate the wealth of others. Externally, it allows for even more lack of sharing & wrongful appropriation, thus a perpetual disparity of wealth: “In 1960, the 20% of the world’s people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20%, in 1997, 74 times as much”, “0.13% of the world’s population controlled 25% of the world’s financial assets in 2004” [1].
- Also, corruption being in constant change is not reason enough to believe it can be eradicated!

The world can counter the negative impacts of nature.
- Countering the negative impacts does not imply eradicating them. Natural disasters have far reaching economic consequences [4]. Katrina for instance cost $108Bn & left hundreds of thousands unemployed [5], & millions homeless [6].

Wars are becoming less frequent and deadly.
- Again, bare assertion & non-supportive to Pro’s resolution, for:
1. Less wars does not imply no more wars!
2. Throughout history we had long periods of peace, & also long periods of war, successively. Such as WWI & WWII followed by the declaration of the UN [7].
3. Currently, the World’s military expenditure amounts to 2.3% of its GDP ($1776Bn) [8].
=> Wars cause poverty, prevents its reduction & there is no reason to believe they can ever be eradicated.

If […] the past is a good indicator of the future then those countries are looking good for the future.

- Countries having had some success in a relatively short historical period (one century or less), does not imply they will have the same success perpetually! No civilisation has ever always stayed on top.


- Pro’s entire case is a series of bare assertions & straw man. He argues for reducing poverty & extrapolates to eradicating it! His sources are either non-existent or non-supportive. His arguments are contradicted by the facts. He has thus thoroughly failed to carry his BOP. Thus I win the debate.

=> Vote Con.



Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Yassine 3 years ago
- Thanks @Philocat for the vote.

- & @bluesteel, fair enough. :)
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
>Reported vote: RoyalFlush100 // Moderator action: REMOVED<

3 points to Con (arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument was more logical and well put together.

[*Reason for removal*] Too generic. This RFD fails to give any topic specific feedback or say anything that couldn't be copy-pasted into any debate, making it impossible to verify the user actually read the debate.
Posted by Yassine 3 years ago
- Thanks RoyalFlush100 for the vote. :)
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Good luck.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Philocat 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a good case for reduction of poverty, but Con is right in stating that he was required to cogently argue that poverty can be totally eradicated. Con won the debate when (s)he gave multiple reasons why poverty will never be eradicated. Con also gets sources points because many of Pro's claims are unsourced.