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The feudal structure of global health and its implications for decolonisation
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  • Published on:
    Reframing the power relation: from feudalism to capitalism
    • Leonard Grant, PhD Student and Academic Course Manager (MHPE) CenMEDIC and The University of Winchester

    I would like to thank the authors for their analysis of the structural imbalances of power that exist in global health. I particularly agree with their argument that diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives work only to strengthen existing structures rather than to dismantle them.

    However, I would like to problematise the framing of the power relation in this article and suggest an alternative.

    To describe the contemporary problems with the “structural imbalance of power” in global health as feudal perhaps implies that they are somehow historic or located in the past, when they are operating and located within modern political economy. Feudalism, as a system of production, is predominantly associated with medieval Europe. Therefore there is a danger, in this piece, that the solution gestured towards is one of modernisation, to develop the relations from these feudal ones. However, from feudalism developed capitalism, both in Europe (Marx et al., 1981; Robinson, 2000) and also, as Alavi (1980) argues, in the colonial Indian context the authors explore in detail in their article.

    Colonisation is inseparable from the rise of capitalism as a means of production (Vergès, 2021), of which developing healthcare infrastructure to support the colonisers was an integral part, as the authors identify. Colonial expansions were not primarily a thirst for adventure but a thirst for profits, for resources, for land and for new people to exploit (Blaut, 1989; Bryan...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.