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Table 2 Summary of Key Arguments for Health in Foreign Policy

From: Framing health and foreign policy: lessons for global health diplomacy

Security gives global health interventions greater traction across a range of political classes than a rights-based argument alone. To the extent that this strengthens a base of public health expansion, securitisation of health may be a prerequisite to its eventual de-securitization. But vigilance is needed to avoid national security from trumping human security.

Trade can improve health through global market integration, economic growth and positive health externalities. However, present trade rules skew benefits towards more economically and politically powerful countries; and evidence of negative health externalities demands careful a priori assessments of trade treaties for their health, development and human rights implications.

Development remains the invitation to global governance debates. It provides a seat at the table. Risks inherent in its 'investing in health' instrumentalism can be tempered by continuously reminding decision makers to distinguish which one is the objective (human development) and which one the tool (economic growth).

Human rights, though weak in global enforcement, has advocacy traction and legal potential within national boundaries. Such rights do not resolve embedded tensions between the individual and the collective, an issue to which human rights experts are now attending

Global public good s provides a language by which economists of one market persuasion can convince economists of another that there is a sound rationale for a system of shared global financing and regulation.

Moral/ethical reasoning is suggested as a necessary addendum to the legalistic nature of human rights treaties. This need, in turn, has created scholarly momentum to articulate more rigorous argument for a global health ethic based on moral reasoning. Competitors for such an ethic range from a liberal theory of assistive duties based on 'burdened societies' in need, to cosmopolitan arguments that emphasise minimum capabilities needed for people to lead valued lives, to more recent arguments for a new ethic of relational justice based on cosmopolitan and human rights theories.