When Misfortune Becomes Injustice surveys the progress and challenges in deploying human rights to advance health and social equality over recent decades. Alicia Ely Yamin weaves together theory and firsthand experience in a compelling narrative of how evolving legal norms, empirical knowledge, and development paradigms have interacted in the realization of health rights, and challenges us to consider why these advances have failed to produce greater equality within and between nations. In this revised and expanded second edition, Yamin incorporates crucial lessons learned about the state of global health equity and public health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating just how incompatible the current institutionalized world order—based on neoliberal, financialized capitalism—is with one in which the rights of diverse people around the globe can be realized. COVID-19 struck a world that had been shaped by decades of disinvestment in public health, health systems, and social protection, as well as privatization of wealth and gaping social inequalities within and between countries, and the evident crisis of confidence in the capacity of democratic political institutions and global governance was deepened by the pandemic. Yamin argues that transformative human rights praxis in health calls for addressing issues of structural inequality and political economy, and working across disciplinary silos through networks and social movements.
About the authors
Alicia Ely Yamin is a Senior Fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. Yamin has lived half of her professional life in Latin America and Africa and worked extensively with advocacy organizations in those regions.
Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is Professor of International Affairs at The New School and Vice Chair of the UN Committee on Development Policy.