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The Effect of Globalization on Health Care: A Double-Edged Sword

The Effect of Globalization on Health Care: A Double-Edged Sword


JOURNAL OF TRANSCULTURAL NURSING / April 2000EDITORIAL EDITORIAL The Effect of Globalization on Health Care: A Double-Edged Sword On first glance, one is tempted to wholeheartedly embrace globalism, the mind-set at the turn of the millennium that at last includes a worldview encompassing the whole planet. Seeing ourselves as citizens of the world, rather than of some self-defined plot of real estate, could have some great benefits for the environmental health of the earth and for the physical and mental health of its inhabitants. However, some caution is warranted if we are to learn from some of the lessons of history. First, let us consider some of the potential benefits of globalization. The dual stimuli of an open and free market economy and the technological advances in cyberspace have combined to drive this move toward global thinking. In some countries, the protectionist restrictions of nationalism have slowly begun to give way in the business world to the idea of a free market. And health care delivery is a big business, whether controlled by the state, as it is in many countries, or left totally to the fierce competition among managed care organizations. Once globalization makes inroads into tradi-
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