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A dialogue of the deaf? The health impacts of globalisation
  1. Centre on Globalisation, Environmental Change and Health
  2. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London
  3. (

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    Opinion about the true impacts on human health of globalisation remains sharply divided. On the one hand, a wide range of health professionals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), scholars and activists fear globalisation is worsening the divide between haves and have nots to unprecedented degrees.1 As globalisation processes are being played out, they argue that this is leading to real impoverishment, economic insecurity and reduced life chances for those being left behind what Friedman calls a “winner take all” system.2 There is little hope, they argue, for a real sharing of the largesse of globalisation without fundamental changes to the nature of the system itself. On the other hand, many others have much hope that globalisation is ultimately a positive force for the betterment of all. By enabling greater generation of wealth, it is believed that globalisation will lead to technological innovation, dissemination of information and know how, adoption of minimal ethical, environmental and labour standards, and eventually increased standards of living worldwide. It is through these processes that real improvements in human health will be realised. While there are admittedly wrinkles to be ironed out along the way to such global prosperity, a “steady as she goes” fortitude will gradually lead us to a better world.

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