Regulation of the Global Marketplace for the Sake of Health

Posted: 4 Sep 2008

See all articles by Marion Danis

Marion Danis

Head Section on Ethics and Health Policy

Amy J. Sepinwall

Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: December 2002

Abstract

Mounting evidence suggests that socioeconomic status is a determinant of health. As nations around the globe increasingly rely on market-based economies, the corporate sector has come to have a powerful influence on the socioeconomic gradient in most nations and hence upon the health status of their populations. At the same time, it has become more difficult for any one nation to influence corporate activities, given the increasing ease with which corporations relocate their operations from country to country. As result of all of these factors, nations wishing to assure the health of their populations will need to both involve the corporate sector and cooperate with other nations.

In this article, we review the business ethics literature and consider what justification it might provide for requiring multinational corporations to attend to concerns about population health. We then adopt a version of social contract theory to justify the regulation of corporations that operate in the global marketplace, and advocate for a global economy that aims to promote not only free trade, but population health as well.

Keywords: international commerce, health, inequality, corporations

Suggested Citation

Danis, Marion and Sepinwall, Amy J., Regulation of the Global Marketplace for the Sake of Health (December 2002). Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1262833

Marion Danis

Head Section on Ethics and Health Policy ( email )

Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center
Bethesda, MD 20895-1156
United States

Amy J. Sepinwall (Contact Author)

Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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