What's Wrong with Global Health Inequalities?<sup>1</sup>

Daniel M. Hausman

in Health Inequalities and Global Justice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748646920
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676682 | DOI:
What's Wrong with Global Health Inequalities?1

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The enormous disparities in health across national boundaries strikes most people who are aware of them as grossly immoral. Why should a child born in one country be unlikely to live to 40, while a child born in another country should expect to live into her 80s? Yet it is not easy to explain why an egalitarian should be especially concerned about health inequalities. So-called “luck” egalitarianism, which holds that all inequalities for which individuals are not responsible are unjust, suffers from philosophical defects and has trouble describing a feasible and attractive notion of health equality. Relational egalitarianism, which insists on equality of respect and status rather than directly on equality in distribution provides no reason to single out the distribution of health as of special moral importance. Moreover, inequalities between different countries raise different questions from a relational egalitarian perspective than inequalities within a single country. Although there is an egalitarian case to be made against global health inequalities, it is complex and controversial, unlike the powerful and direct condemnation of these inequalities provided by simple benevolence.

Keywords: Egalitarianism; Luck egalitarianism; Relational egalitarianism; Norman Daniels; Equal opportunity

Chapter.  6965 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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