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Author: David Whyte

This paper analyses the ecology of SARS-CoV-19 as a phenomenon of capitalist political economy. It argues that the biological conditions that allowed the virus to emerge must be understood within a broader set of concrete political and economic conditions. At every stage in the emergence and spread of the virus, we can observe its mediation through the processes of capital accumulation. The paper therefore argues that the emergence and the spread of SARS-CoV-19 can be understood as a ‘pathology of accumulation’. Regimes of capital accumulation always depend upon complex regimes of regulation. Wherever capital seeks to accumulate, it must be nurtured and supported by states. The rate and scale of capital accumulation depends on how access to common resources, labour, public wealth and public infrastructures is guaranteed, regulated and policed by states. The paper therefore seeks to analyse the regimes of accumulation that produce zoonotic pathogens like SARS-CoV-19, across four ‘moments’ or stages: release (in predatory practices of capitalist development); amplification (in the upscaling of industrial farming); spread (in sites of social concentration); and medical intervention (in the commodification of testing and vaccination regimes).

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The comparatively poor contemporary health profiles of Scotland and, in particular, Glasgow have become widely known. Drawing on a body of research compiled by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, this chapter provides a detailed examination of the health profiles of these populations as they have been shaped over time. The chapter begins by tracing their historical development in their UK and European context, before turning to examine the political, social and economic causal factors and processes which have, over time, contributed to the particularly poor health outcomes experienced in Glasgow. Building on this knowledge, the chapter draws to a close by exploring the potential future health trajectory of the city’s population. Glasgow provides a potent case for other cities and countries as they consider the ways in which politics and policy come to shape health, and health inequalities, across their populations.

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