$PATH in MacOSX 10.7
MacOSX has a truly global path setting that precedes any other setting like
/private/etc/paths is a list of pathnames. The order from top to bottom defines the resulting order in the
/private/etc/paths there is a directory
/private/etc/paths.d/ with files in the same style. Those are appended to the $PATH variable.
The default content of
/private/etc/paths looks like this: