251754 Corporations as global governing agencies: Influence on public health and democracy

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM

William Wiist, DHSc, MPH , Interdisciplinary Health Policy Institute, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
Government has traditionally had the sole authority to empower, regulate, and to protect and promote the general welfare, health and safety of society. Public health's primary role is to address the fundamental societal structural causes of disease, corporations being the most powerful and influential of those. By causing countries to compete for corporate largesse, through tax avoidance, industry alliances, voluntary standards, government collusion, corruption, community partnerships, “revolving door,” election campaign funding, and lobbying corporations have acquired the role of global governance agency. Corporate business men and women have power over other people's lives: their property, money, housing, wages and benefits, working hours, and health. Government's role is to protect us against corporate officials who deny our freedom and that of our families, both on and off the job. Government ensures our freedom from the corporation so that we can have safe and healthful work places, a sustainable and clean environment, food that is safe and of high quality, retain our cultural and gender diversity, and the right to health. We need global governance organizations with full civil society participation and decision and rule-making authority and enforcement. In the US we must redress the effects of the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United. In curricula, research and advocacy public health must address the corporation as a social determinant. We must advocate for governments' role as protector of freedom against corporate control that is damaging our health, culture, environment, and democracy.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. List mechanisms through which corporations have attained the role of global governance agency, 2. Explain how corporate governance agency damages public health and democracy 3. Identify actions public health professionals can take to protect health from corporate global governance agency

Keywords: Politics, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have written published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, edited books, taught courses, and made presentations at professional conferences about corporations' influence on public health and democracy.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Oxford University Press book publishing Book editor

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.