Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 September 2009
Globalisation is among the most discussed, and is undoubtedly one of the most disputed, terms to have come into common parlance in recent years. Scholarly and popular writing about globalisation has grown exponentially over the past decade or so, spurred by often heated debates over whether or not the process is actually occurring, to what extent, for what reasons, in what forms and with what consequences. Economic globalisation has initially received the lion's share of attention, but recognition of the political, social, cultural, technological, environmental and other aspects of globalisation has rapidly grown in more recent years.
It is in the latter context that this book, which explores how health policy-making is being affected by forces broadly defined as globalisation, was conceived. Health is an important sector of most economies and a core area of social policy. For example, total expenditure on health as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is as high as 14 per cent in the US and is over 10 per cent in a number of additional OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries. Public expenditure on health as a proportion of total public expenditure varies widely between countries, with India and Indonesia spending 3.9 and 3.0 per cent respectively, and Andorra and Argentina spending 38.5 and 21.6 per cent respectively (WHO 2000a).