Observations

The crusade for health equity

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4414 (Published 27 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4414
  1. Tessa Richards, assistant editor, BMJ
  1. trichards{at}bmj.com

The financial crisis makes it increasingly urgent for countries to protect the most vulnerable people, and social movements are setting the pace

Is the economic crisis marching us towards Armageddon? If so, what’s driving us? Is it a limited understanding of the political and economic forces that are widening wealth and health divides, catalysing civil unrest, stoking climate change, and damaging the environment—or a reluctance to counter those forces?

Four years ago the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health said that “social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.” It recommended tackling the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources within and between countries and implementing cross sector policies to improve the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.1

Over the past year the “Occupy” movement has taken up the baton in the protest against corporate capitalism and its imperative that 99% of the population “pay for the sins” of the wealthy 1%. Some criticise the movement’s idealism as fluffy, but even the elite that meets each year at Davos in Switzerland now admits that too …

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