A Global Social Support System: What the International Community Could Learn From the United States’ National Basketball Association’s Scheme for Redistribution of New Talent

Document Type : Perspective


1 Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

2 Law and Development Research Group, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

3 Department of Sociology, Oxford University, Oxford, UK

4 ECOHOST, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

5 School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA


If global trade were fair, it is argued, then international aid would be unnecessary and inequalities inherent to the economic system would be justifiable. Here, we argue that while global trade is unfair, in part because richer countries set the rules, we believe that additional interventions must go beyond trade regulation and short-term aid to redress inequalities among countries that will persist and possibly worsen in spite of such measures. Drawing on an example of measures taken to redress the characteristics of a system that inherently increases inequality, the ability of dominant teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA) to recruit the most talented players, we argue that market-based competition even in the context of fair rules will create and amplify economic inequalities. We argue that, just as the NBA created a draft to reduce the emergence of severe inequalities among teams, systems of social support within richer countries should be paralleled by a global system to counterbalance persisting inequalities among countries that are produced by market forces. We explain how such a mechanism might operate among integrated market economies, and identify the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) as an example of such an emerging form of global social support.


Commentaries Published on this Paper

  • How Can a Global Social Support System Hope to Achieve Fairer Competiveness?; Comment on “A Global Social Support System: What the International Community Could Learn From the United States’ National Basketball Association”

         Abstract | PDF

  • From the Myth of Level Playing Fields to the Reality of a Finite Planet; Comment on “A Global Social Support System: What the International Community Could Learn From the United States’ National Basketball Association’s Scheme for Redistribution of New Talent”

          Abstract | PDF

Authors’ Response to the Commentaries

  • Towards a Global Social Support System: A Response to the Recent Commentaries

          Abstract | PDF


Main Subjects

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