Tuesday, August 04, 2020

US not doing well in pandemic, but better than Iran. Can we trust China? Canada and most of Europe do much better.

I heard on BBC that the pandemic is a lot worse in Iran than the Iranian authorities have let on.

Makes me think about the different outcomes in various countries related to the pandemic. USA isn't doing very well either, but some other countries seem to be doing much better.

I would guess that countries, like Iran and maybe China only looked like they were doing better as we can't trust the figures. Others, like Canada, really do put USA to shame.

It would be interesting to explore why USA has fallen down compared to Canada, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and many countries in Europe. Everyone has their own opinions, of course and I have mine.

In a nutshell, I think much of USA's problem relates to our worship of money and our overworked society. Americans have worked themselves into poor health.

Low taxes have lead to a tattered safety net. High rents and cost of essentials has lead to the pressure for going back to work when much of the work people do, like working in bars, is hazardous. Health insurance is based on employment for many people.

Then you have our lack of trust in one another, here in USA. There's rebellion against solutions such as masks. This makes doing things like contact tracing difficult. People fear that it's "Big Brother" watching. Some people will be wary of a vaccine when and if it becomes available.

I think our tendency toward lack of trust and an adversarial culture, in general is a problem. It's a problem from both the left and the right.

Also life should not be such a rat race. One shouldn't have to be a "financial high achiever" to survive. Quality of life, in other ways besides money, should be the bottom line.

Of course there will be shining examples of success, in society. People like Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

There will be high school kids that become millionaires just by cleverness, or being so lucky as to stumble upon a "killer app" before the age of 18. Kids that are already CEOs at age 22. We all know the stories and we ask, why didn't I think of that?

This does push society forward. Yes, I am happy that Space X, owned by Elon Musk, has just accomplished the first "private enterprise" trip to the International Space Station. We can be proud, as Americans. Great things can be accomplished. Science and engineering can move forward. Tesla electric cars; for instance.

Technological progress can lead to a greener future. Other countries have scientific progress as well. Look at Europe. The rest of the world may be leaving us behind, or at least we are not the "undisputed leaders." American Exceptionalism isn't the truth anymore; if it ever was. We are still in the game, however.

My main point is that everyone shouldn't have to be like Elon Musk for a few people to lead the way. There will always be the over achievers. Without that, society would be less interesting.

The rest of us don't have to be all stressed out; like we are all working for Elon Musk.

I hear rumors that Musk is hard to work with. I'm happy that Space X is making interesting news, but I don't think I could work there. I'm proud to be able to watch on the internet.

Maybe the rest of us need to learn to slow down a bit. To take better care of our health. Then, ironically, the whole country would be better off. Less people crashing and burning.

We have a lot of cultural problems and expectations, in America, that have made us more vulnerable to this virus. The rush to keep up with the Jones's. This makes us less likely to address global warming as well.

Many other countries are doing a lot better than us, but not all other countries are doing better.

Sweden has a higher per capita death rate than USA in spite of having a robust social safety net. It's experiment in staying open doesn't look like a good idea in hindsight.

China may be doing better due to being an authoritarian society. Contact tracing to the hilt. Maybe they go too far, but we may need a little more trust of government, in our society, to control this virus.

China takes it too far. Also one can't really trust the numbers from China. Are the authorities, in China, allowing the truth to be known?

Brazil, of course, is doing badly. Their leader has been referred to as "The Trump Of The Tropics." I don't need to go further. I do trust Canada, for the most part. We don't look very good compared to Canada in controlling this pandemic.

On Facebook, one of my readers summed it up well. He wrote:

There does seem to be a significant correlation between bad handling of the pandemic and paternalistic leadership.