Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism

A report by Emma Kris D. de Guzman
“We live in a globalized world, filled with shared mirobial threats that arise in
one plae, are amplified somewhere else through human ativities that aid
and abet the germs, and then traverse vast geographi terrains in days, even
hours! again, than"s to human ativitiezs and movements. #f there is blame
to be meted out, it should be direted at the speies $omo sapiens and the
manifest ways in whih we are reshaping the world eology, offering germs
li"e the influenza virus e%traordinary new opportunities to evolve, mutate and
!'aurie Garrett, (he )ath of a )andemi
Signature Disease eah Age
• Bubonic Plague - 14
and 15
• Syphilis - 16
and 17
• Tuberculosis - 19
• AIS - latter !uarter o" the t#entieth century and the beginning o" the
Global Health Ine!ualit"
• %lobal &ealth ' %reat Ine!uality
• ($) o" deaths #orld#ide is caused by in"ectious disease
• 4$) o" deaths in the periphery is caused by in"ectious disease
• 1*$) o" deaths in the industriali+ed countries is caused by in"ectious
Capitalist #orld s"stem and the onset of disease
• rug co,panies in-est little in "inding cures "or ,alaria as a case in
point because there is little pro"it in addressing the needs o" the poor
• .n the contrary/ they in-est in research on drugs to gro# hair/ relie-e
i,potence/ "ight cholesterol 0all proble,s o" #ealthier #orld
• Industriali+ation has produced en-iron,ental pollutants that cause
Primer on Infetious Disease
$our things that #ill ause infetious disease to %ill us:
*.We must ome in ontat with the pathogen or vetor
+.(he pathogen must be virulent
,.#t must evade our body-s immune system
..(he pathogen must be able to irumvent whatever
measures our soiety has developed to prevent it from doing harm
E&eptions to the rule that mirobes should not harm their host
• The ne#er the disease/ the ,ore deadly it is
• 3hen the disease is carried and spread by a -ector
• 3hen a pathogen is spread by conta,inated #ater or another
e4ternal ,ediu,
• The easier a disease is to trans,it/ the ,ore -irulent it is li2ely to be
'elationship bet#een disease and ulture
• The 2ind o" li-es #e lead or the cultures and patterns o" social
relations that #e construct/ ,aintain and reproduce deter,ine
#hether #e can help the body "ight diseases *
Gathering() Hunting() Agriulture
• Gatherers and Hunters: contact #ith #ild ani,als e4posed the, to
diseases such as rabies/ sal,onellosis/ and tetanus*
Sedentar" agriulturists:
-,ore li2ely to engage in long-distance trade
-per,anent shelters attract -er,in that ,ay carry disease
-alteration o" the landscape through horticulture/ ani,al husbandry/ and
agriculture e4posed people to ne# disease
-i,pro-e,ents in coo2ing technology ,ay ha-e helped coo2 "or ,ore
thoroughly and destroyed disease-carrying ,icrobes
-regular contact #ith do,esticated ani,als e4posed hu,an populations to
additional in"ections
Gra*e"ards of man%ind
• The ,ore people per s!uare ,ile/ the ,ore easily an in"ectious agent
could pass "ro, one person to another
Diseases of +rban En*ironments
• Bubonic Plague
• 5eprosy
• 6holera
• Tuberculosis
• Syphilis
• &u,an de,ographic patterns/ largely a conse!uence o" labor
,o-e,ent and co,,erce/ continue to generate en-iron,ents that
harbor pathogens and pro-ide a,ple opportunity "or their spread/ and
help opportunistic pathogens e4pand their base o" operations*
Diseases of En*ironmental Change
Causes of emergene:
(changing en-iron,ental conditions
-cli,ate change
-de,ographic changes
-deteriorating social conditions
AIDS and the Culture of Capitalism
• .pportunistic in"ections that attac2ed bodies #hose i,,une syste,s
had been destroyed7 disco-ered in 1981
• 3as "irst called 9gay-related i,,unode"iciency disease 0%:I1;
• In 198$/ it #as called ac!uired i,,unode"iciency syndro,e
• Incidence o" AIS is 6*5 ti,es greated "or blac2s and "our ti,es
greater "or &ispanics than "or #hites
• <cono,ic hubs/ seaports and sea tra-el beco,e ,a=or points "or
distribution o" disease 0epicenters o" the spread o" AIS1
$our General 'easons -h" People Tra*el:
(*5abor >igration
AIDS *itims
<cono,ically ,arginali+ed' poor
Socially and politically ,arginali+ed' ho,ose4uals/ #o,en/ and children
• ?no#ledge o" the e""ects o" culturally de"ined hu,an beha-ior can
help us predict as #ell as treat disease*
• Although #e ,ust be a#are o" ho# our beha-ior puts us in danger in
contracting disease/ #e ,ust also be a#are o" the "actors that
pro,ote adoption or re=ection o" therapeutic regi,es necessary to
lo#er our ris2 o" beco,ing ill/ cure us/ or inhibit the creation o" ne#
and ,ore deadly strains o" disease*
• Political/ religious/ and social associations should ,arshal "orces to
cope #ith pathogens that threaten to o-er#hel, us*