Over the past few decades, reorganisation of production and finance across multiple national borders has been accompanied, and often driven, by restructuring of social relationships around the primacy of the market. The consequences have been described by the editor of Le Monde Diplomatique as an ‘inequality machine [that] is reshaping the planet’. That reshaping redistributes opportunities to lead a healthy life (the social determinants of health), and at the same time affects the prospects of political coalitions in support of reducing health disparities. Against this background, the human rights frame of reference is especially valuable as a direct challenge to neoliberal orthodoxy, grounded in the generic commitment to what historical sociologist Margaret Somers has called ‘the right to have rights’ independent of the market.
In June 2013, Ted Schrecker moved from Canada to take up his new position at Durham; he remains an adjunct professor of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Ted's academic background is in political science, and he has taught that discipline as well as environmental studies and population health (at the doctoral level) from an interdisciplinary perspective. For the past decade his research has addressed the consequences of transnational economic integration (globalization) for health and health equity; he also has a long-standing interest in issues at the interface of science, ethics, law and public policy. Ted studied at Canada's Trent University, York University and The University of Western Ontario, and worked for many years as a legislative researcher and public policy consultant before coming to the academic world.