a1 Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London, 1–19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 6BT, UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the start, the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health built its case for taking action on the social determinants of health, unashamedly, on principles of social justice. Quite simply, the Commission stated that health inequities in the sense of avoidable and preventable differences in health between countries, and between groups within countries according to income, occupation, education, ethnicity or between men and women, are unjust. Taking this position has brought praise and blame: praise for the Commission’s boldness in putting fairness on the global health agenda1 in the face of the dominant global model of economic growth as an end in itself, and blame for the Commission’s unworldliness in apparently not recognising that economic arguments push the political agenda.