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Old 04-30-2020, 11:18 AM
Velocity is online now
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Cultural factors at play in the coronavirus pandemic (severe in some nations, better in others)


The coronavirus pandemic is apparently shaping up to be a black eye for nations with highly individualistic, don't-infringe-on-my-rights cultures - the United States most prominently, which is by far the worst-hit nation in the world. There are people willfully gathering in groups on beaches, openly defying orders, protesting against lockdowns in Michigan, etc.

Covid seems to be being handled best by nations with more conformist, compliance-based cultures like South Korea, China, etc. (yes, I'm painting with a broad brush, but in the interest of keeping things simple in this thread it will have to be broad-brushing.)

Cultures with physical affection, like Italy's kissing and hugging culture, have also been hit hard by the coronavirus spread - I think Spain also had some of this factor to blame as well. The Atlantic ran an article on the dangers of handshakes and hugging.


IMHO, optimism, or positive thinking, is also a huge factor to blame. In more positive/optimist nations like the USA (again, I'm painting with a broad brush,) there seems to be this attitude of "it can't be that bad" or "The virus has to go away because we want it to; this lockdown is unbearable." In other nations such as China that clamped down harder, there is more of a public understanding that yes, things can get very, very bad whether one likes it or not.
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:39 PM
etasyde is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
IMHO, optimism, or positive thinking, is also a huge factor to blame. In more positive/optimist nations like the USA (again, I'm painting with a broad brush,) there seems to be this attitude of "it can't be that bad"
It's not optimism at all, but you do hit the nail on the head with...
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
or "The virus has to go away because we want it to; this lockdown is unbearable."
This is what it is. An obscure branch of solipsism:
  • "My feelings are the only real thing in the universe, and the idea that a bad thing is happening makes me feel bad, and therefore it is untrue."
  • "Trump is a great leader, because admitting that he's an idiot means I voted for an idiot, and that makes me feel bad, so naturally it must be true he's great."
  • "Science says I can't do whatever I want, and that makes me feel bad, so science is obviously stupid."

The US is far too individualistic for stability: "I want mine. You can all die so I can get mine. You're just jealous now that I have mine, even though I had to kill your family to get it. Why do you hate me? Your hatred of me makes me feel bad, so your logic must be faulty, because it makes me feel bad. Shame on you."
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:56 PM
Chingon is online now
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Ooh how do the African cultures do it?
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Old 04-30-2020, 01:10 PM
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It seems to me that the nations doing best are the economically developed, small to to medium sized, and more culturally homogenous nations. South Korea, Iceland, New Zealand, and Taiwan are the specific nations I have in mind that meet these criteria. Another common factor that those nations share it that they are led by (at least by the standards of the US) a liberal leaning government. I'll note that having this combination of factors is not a guarantee of success. In particular, Sweden seems like it would fit right in with the other countries I mentioned, but due to them refusing to implement a lockdown have had a more difficult time with the illness.
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Old 04-30-2020, 01:25 PM
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Flik, I would add "high level of government trust" to your list: those are places. And while Sweeden did not "lock down", arguably Sweden is doing better than they might have just because voluntary compliance is better than you might expect other places. So culture is still a factor.
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Old 04-30-2020, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Flik, I would add "high level of government trust" to your list: those are places. And while Sweeden did not "lock down", arguably Sweden is doing better than they might have just because voluntary compliance is better than you might expect other places. So culture is still a factor.
As I noted in another thread, there is also the culture of living independently even before marriage, so much so that there are a lot of Swedish people that live alone.

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article...des-live-alone

And also they have great internet access, so a lot of work at home too.

Still, there are now reports that other Scandinavian nations that did lock downs are doing better than Sweden, and in a case of the broken clock being right twice:

https://nypost.com/2020/04/30/trump-...irus-lockdown/
Quote:
President Trump pointed out that Sweden is “paying heavily” for its decision not to lock down as coronavirus deaths in the Scandanavian country begin to rise.

“Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443),” the president wrote in a tweet on Thursday. “The United States made the correct decision!”

Unlike many of its Nordic neighbors and other countries in Europe, Sweden did not impose strict restrictions on its citizens and allowed many businesses, including restaurants and hair salons, and schools to remain open.

By contrast, Finland declared a state of emergency on March 16 and shut down schools, restaurants and bars on April 1, and Denmark announced the first round of closures on March 11.
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Old 04-30-2020, 04:54 PM
Bill Door is offline
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Go tell the Australians with their 6,750 cases and 91 deaths that they got away easy because of their conformist and compliant culture. They got away easy becasue of their science and data based response, and we got hammered because our leadership thought that wishing and hoping was a plan.
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Old 04-30-2020, 05:35 PM
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So besides population density as a cultural factor, we have nations whose leadership HEARS scientists and acts on recommendations, and those who don't. We pay for the leaders we allow to be installed.
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Old 05-01-2020, 12:43 PM
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It is way too early to say which countries have done better than others. So far the biggest factor seems to be the size of the economy and thus the amount of international flights.
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