The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa is the worst so far. The unprecedented extent of mortality and morbidity in this outbreak has followed more from imposition of neoliberal economic policies on the countries affected than from the biological virulence of Ebola virus. The lack of vaccines and medications for Ebola virus disease is evidence that markets cannot reliably supply treatments for epidemic diseases. We attribute the current difficulties in containment chiefly to the erosion or non-development of the health and medical infrastructure needed to respond effectively, as a direct result of market-privileging policies imposed in the interests of wealthy nations. These events and responses hold lessons for public health priorities in Australia.