Georgetown Law Journal   |  September 17, 2007

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This article searches for solutions to the most perplexing problems in global health – problems so important that they affect the fate of millions of people, with economic, political, and security ramifications for the world’s population. There are a variety of solutions scholars propose to improve global health and close the yawning health gap between rich and poor: global health is in the national interests of the major State powers; States owe an ethical duty to act; or international legal norms require effective action. However, arguments based on national interest, ethics, or international law have logical weaknesses. The coincidence of national and global interests is much narrower than scholars claim. Ethical arguments unravel when searching questions are asked about who exactly has the duty to act and at what level of commitment. And international law has serious structural problems of application, definition, and enforcement.

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