Global solidarity, migration and global health inequity

Bioethics 26 (7):382-390 (2012)
Abstract
The grounds for global solidarity have been theorized and conceptualized in recent years, and many have argued that we need a global concept of solidarity. But the question remains: what can motivate efforts of the international community and nation-states? Our focus is the grounding of solidarity with respect to global inequities in health. We explore what considerations could motivate acts of global solidarity in the specific context of health migration, and sketch briefly what form this kind of solidarity could take. First, we argue that the only plausible conceptualization of persons highlights their interdependence. We draw upon a conception of persons as ‘ecological subjects’ and from there illustrate what such a conception implies with the example of nurses migrating from low and middle-income countries to more affluent ones. Next, we address potential critics who might counter any such understanding of current international politics with a reference to real-politik and the insights of realist international political theory. We argue that national governments – while not always or even often motivated by moral reasons alone – may nevertheless be motivated to acts of global solidarity by prudential arguments. Solidarity then need not be, as many argue, a function of charitable inclination, or emergent from an acknowledgment of injustice suffered, but may in fact serve national and transnational interests. We conclude on a positive note: global solidarity may be conceptualized to helpfully address global health inequity, to the extent that personal and transnational interdependence are enough to motivate national governments into action
Keywords solidarity  global health  global justice  global health equity
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