Better Health in a Globalized World
A brief examination of products in almost any store is enough to reveal a compelling modern truth: people, countries and economies around the world are becoming increasingly interconnected through technological advances and the integration and spread of markets and cultures. This transformation is known as globalization, characterized by the increasing cross-border flows of goods, finance, and people -- and the health benefits, and health risks accompanying such flows.
The general view of globalization is that increasing trade and investment between rich and poor nations increases wealth and reduces poverty and eventually leads to better health for all. But this win-win theory isn't proving to be true for many developing countries. The deregulation of global financial markets recently led to one of the most dramatic economic collapses in living memory with health-negative effects being experienced first and worst by those people least responsible for the collapse. There is now little agreement about how to make globalization work for the poor and considerable concern about some of the damaging health effects of poorly-regulated global markets.
Dr. Ronald Labonté, Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Health Equity, is providing new information about these concerns. His research in health worker migration, medical tourism, global health systems reforms, global health diplomacy and trade and human rights is providing important findings about how globalization can affect health.
Labonté’s research will go a long way toward informing organizations and policy makers in Canada and abroad about what governments and citizens can do to maximize the potential health benefits of globalization while minimizing its health risks.