This paper presents a framework that may help explain the interactions among capitalism, infectious disease, and environmental change in the world and in the Mediterranean region. Capitalism and the longevity of national governments require continued investment and economic growth. This disrupts the environment, most urgently in terms of climate change, which is expected to single out the Mediterranean region for droughts and heat and to lead to mass migrations of people and animals. Capitalism also disrupts the habitats of fauna, and creates factory farming and markets for the sale of animals from local ecologies that are being “opened up” for profitable use-all of which leads to increased interaction between potential vectors of infectious diseases and humans. Capitalist globalization has encouraged widespread international and other travel of people and goods, which can carry infectious people or animal vectors across long distances very rapidly. In sum, capitalism requires development, which creates environmental and infectious disease crises. Solving this problem will require profound political and economic change. In the immediate term, public health and medical institutions need to be protected against the pressures of austerity.
Environmental change and infectious diseases in the Mediterranean region and the world: An interpretive dialectical analysis