Global Health Watch 4

Neoliberal globalization
the global health crisis

Dear Friends,
We take great pleasure in introducing to you the contents of Global Health Watch 4 – the fourth edition of the Alternative World Health Report, produced by the Peoples’ Health Movement in collaboration with other partner civil society networks [Third World Network, Health Action International, ALAMES, Medact and Medico International].
For the next couple of weeks, as part of the virtual launch of Global Health Watch 4, we will bring to you a flavour of different sections in the Watch, along with original articles written specifically for the launch

‘But they just can’t kill the beast’

The above is from the opening line of a classic 1977 song by The Eagles, ‘Hotel California.’ It is a prescient line, since it was crafted just before the dawn of the neoliberal era (1980 and ever onwards), and emanated from the American heartland that helped spread the gospel of neoliberal economics around the world. The Eagles were not singing about the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and its subsequent Great Recession and Global Austerity Agenda, but they may as well have been. The 2008 crisis was thought by many at the time to herald the final disgrace of a beastly neoliberal orthodoxy that deserved to die. But, in testament to capitalism’s resilience and the capture of the state by global elites (the 1%), the Occupy and other progressive social movements worldwide have so far been unable to kill the beast.” read more



In a new piece, ‘But they just can’t kill the beast’: the ongoing neoliberal plague’, health economist Ron Labonte highlights the working of the neoliberal system and its impact on the global health crisis. The piece draws attention to the first section, titled ‘The global political and economic architecture’, of the latest edition of the Alternative World Health Report, Global Health Watch 4.

How have different phases of neoliberal globalization deepened the global health crisis? What can we learned from these previous experiences to face the new phase of globalisation that emerges after the 2008-09 financial crisis? What are the key recent changes in global power relations and economic governance that impact health? How are these changes influencing decisions and choices that impact on health? The first chapter of GHW 4, ‘The health crisis of neoliberal globalization’ addresses these questions and proposes key political strategies and policy options for public health activists to challenge the current system:

  • Re-regulate global finance
  • Reject austerity
  • Increase progressive taxation
  • Close tax heavens
  • Support global tax systems
  • Confront the limits of growth
  • Reclaim the public

This is followed by chapters on three regions that have seen significant political changes in the recent past – Europe, Latin America and North Africa – and explores the impacts of these changes on health for the people.

Crisis in Europe and austerity: While the economic crisis is eroding livelihoods of millions, public investment on welfare is under attack. Post-crisis Europe is a clear reminder of the need to defend public services.

Political changes in Latin America: ‘Progressive’ governments mark a new phase of transformation in Latino America. New ways of defining what is ‘socially good’ are taking shape, such as the idea of ‘living well’ (vivir bien)

After the Arab Spring: The fall of major Arab leaders in 2011 was part of the struggle against economic deprivation and political suffocation. In the aftermath of the ‘Arab Spring’, the struggle has to contend with renewed attacks by global capital on welfare and social services.

Across the world people, including health activists, are challenging neoliberal policies. Learn more, read GHW4, join us and be part of making things change!