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Globalization, austerity and health equity politics: taming the inequality machine, and why it matters

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The recognition that globalization has an important role in explaining health inequalities has now moved into the mainstream. Much of that role relates to what has been called ‘[t]he inequality machine [that] is reshaping the planet’. At the same time, more attention must be paid to how the state can tame the inequality machine or compensate for its effects. I argue that governments have more flexibility in this respect than is often acknowledged. With an emphasis on current and recent social policy in Britain, I illustrate the need for researchers and practitioners to focus not only on external constraints associated with globalization but also on domestic political mechanisms and dynamics that may limit the extent to which governments can reduce health inequalities by addressing underlying social determinants.
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Keywords: austerity; economic policy; globalization; inequality; social determinants of health; social policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University, University Boulevard, Thornaby, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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