A global social support system : what the international community could learn from the United States' National Basketball Association's scheme for redistribution of new talent

Authors & affiliation

Gorik Ooms, David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu, Martin McKee


If global trade were fair, it is argued, then international aid would be unnecessary and inequalities inherent to the economic system would be justifiable. Here, we argue that while global trade is unfair, in part because richer countries set the rules, we believe that additional interventions must go beyond trade regulation and short-term aid to redress inequalities among countries that will persist and possibly worsen in spite of such measures. Drawing on an example of measures taken to redress the characteristics of a system that inherently increases inequality, the ability of dominant teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA) to recruit the most talented players, we argue that market-based competition even in the context of fair rules will create and amplify economic inequalities. We argue that, just as the NBA created a draft to reduce the emergence of severe inequalities among teams, systems of social support within richer countries should be paralleled by a global system to counterbalance persisting inequalities among countries that are produced by market forces. We explain how such a mechanism might operate among integrated market economies, and identify the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) as an example of such an emerging form of global social support.

Publication date:


Staff members:

Link to publication

Open link


IJHPM30521446323400.pdf (open)

Related publications