A New Gilded Age, and What It Means for Global Health; Comment on “Global Health Governance Challenges 2016 – Are We Ready?”

Document Type : Commentary


School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University, Durham, UK


New contours of global inequality present new challenges for global health, and require that we consider new kinds of health issues as global. I provide a number of illustrations, arguing the need for a political science of health that goes beyond conventional preoccupations with formal institutional and interstate interactions and takes into account how globalization has affected the health policy landscape and restructured the distribution of economic and political power not only among countries, but also within them.


  1. Kickbusch I. Global Health Governance Challenges 2016 - Are We Ready? Int J Health Policy Manag. 2016;5(6):349-353. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2016.27
  2. Dieleman JL, Graves C, Johnson E. Sources and focus of health development assistance, 1990-2014. JAMA. 2015;313:2359-2368. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5825
  3. Gelband H, Miller-Petrie M, Pant S, et al. The State of the World's Antibiotics, 2015, Washington, DC: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy; 2015. http://cddep.org/sites/default/files/swa_2015_final.pdf.
  4. Ravenhill J. Global value chains and development. Review of International Political Economy. 2014;21(1):264-274. doi:10.1080/09692290.2013.858366
  5. Hart-Landsberg M. From the claw to the lion: a critical look at capitalist globalization. Crit Asian Stud. 2015;47:1-23. doi:10.1080/14672715.2015.997024
  6. McNeill D, Barlow P, Deere Birkbeck C, et al. Trade and Investment Agreements: Implications for Health Protection. Journal of World Trade. 2017; forthcoming.
  7. Blouin C, Drager N. Policy coherence in trade and health. In: Smith R, Blouin C, Mirza Z, Beyer P, Drager N, eds. Trade and Health: Towards building a National Strategy. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015:7-18.
  8. Ndikumana L. Capital Flight from Africa and Development Inequality: Domestic and Global Dimensions. Amherst, MA: Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst; 2015. http://ineteconomics.org/uploads/papers/The-Problem-of-Capital-Flight-Ndikumana_rev1.pdf.
  9. Schrecker T. The Exterritorial Reach of Money: Global Finance and Social Determinants of Health. In: Brown GW, Yamey G, Wamala S, eds. The Handbook of Global Health Policy.  John Wiley & Sons Ltd; 2014:393-407.
  10. Schrecker T, Bambra C. How Politics Makes Us Sick: Neoliberal Epidemics. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan; 2015.
  11. Public Health England. Health Profile 2015: Stockton-on-Tees Unitary Authority. London: Public Health England; 2015. http://www.apho.org.uk/resource/view.aspx?RID=171624.
  12. Murray CJL, Kulkarni SC, Michaud C, et al. Eight Americas: investigating mortality disparities across races, counties, and race-counties in the United States. PLoS Med. 2006;3:e260. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030260
  13. Robinson WI. Remapping development in light of globalisation: from a territorial to a social cartography. Third World Q. 2002;23:1047-71. doi:10.1080/0143659022000036658
  14. Bourguignon F. The Globalization of Inequality. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2015.
  15. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Trade and Development Report 2014: Global governance and policy space for development. New York: United Nations; 2014:15-42 http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tdr2014_en.pdf
  16. Piketty T. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; 2014.
  17. Credit Suisse Research Institute. Global Wealth Report 2015. Zurich: Credit Suisse AG; 2015. https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=F2425415-DCA7-80B8-EAD989AF9341D47E
  18. Reeves A, Gourtsoyannis Y, Basu S, McCoy D, McKee M, Stuckler D. Financing universal health coverage: effects of alternative tax structures on public health systems: cross-national modelling in 89 low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet. 2015;386:274-280. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(15)60574-8
  19. Drèze J, Sen A. An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions. London: Allen Lane; 2013.
  20. Halperin S. Re-Envisioning Global Development: A Horizontal Perspective. London: Routledge; 2013:224.
  21. Enzensberger HM. A critique of political ecology. New Left Review. 1974;1:3-31.
  22. Douglas MJ, Watkins SJ, Gorman DR, Higgins M. Are cars the new tobacco? J Public Health 2011;33:160-9. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdr032
  23. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. World Investment Report 2014: Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan. United Nations; 2014. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/wir2014_en.pdf.
  24. Bambra C, Fox D, Scott-Samuel A. Towards a politics of health. Health Promot Int. 2005;20:187-193. doi:10.1093/heapro/dah608
  25. Bernier NF, Clavier C. Public health policy research: making the case for a political science approach. Health Promot Int. 2011;26:109-116. doi:10.1093/heapro/daq079
  26. de Leeuw E, Clavier C, Breton E. Health policy - why research it and how: health political science. Health Res Policy Syst. 2014;12:55.
  27. Participants at the Bellagio Workshop on Political Economy of Global Health. Report from Bellagio: Advancing Political Economy of Global Health to Understand and Influence the Drivers of Universal Health Coverage. Health Systems & Reform. 2015;1:20-21.
  28. Kelsall T, Hart T, Laws E. Political settlements and pathways to universal health coverage, Working Paper No. 432. London: Overseas Development Institute; 2016. https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/resource-documents/10382.pdf.
  29. Teichman J. The Role of the Middle Class in Distributional Outcomes: Chile and South Korea. Stud Comp Int Dev. 2015;50:1-21. doi:10.1007/s12116-014-9166-y
  30. Teichman J. Redistributive conflict and social policy in Latin America. World Dev. 2008;36:446-460. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2007.04.010