Everybody must be wondering why Asian countries did so much better than Western countries in managing the COVID crisis. Is the explanation rooted in politics or culture or race or bad luck or something else altogether? This is what we’re going to find out.
Let’s look at number of deaths per million population for various nations as of December 3, 2020 (Source: worldometer)…
Major Asian Economies:
- for Taiwan, population 24 million, this number is 0.3. Taiwan has 7 deaths
- for Vietnam, population 98 million, this number is 0.4. Vietnam has 35 deaths
- for China, population 1,439 million, this number is 3. China has 4,634 deaths
- for Singapore, population 6 million, this number is 5. Singapore has 29 deaths
- for South Korea, population 51 million, this number is 10. South Korea has 529 deaths
- for Hong Kong, population 8 million, this number is 15. Hong Kong has 111 deaths
- for Japan, population 129 million, this number is 18. Japan has 2,213 deaths
Major Western Economies:
- for India, population 1,386 million, this number is 100. India has 139,227 deaths
- for Germany, population 84 million, this number is 218. Germany has 18,260 deaths
- for Russia, population 146 million, this number is 285. Russia has 41,607 deaths
- for Canada, population 38 million, this number is 329. Canada has 12,470 deaths
- for Brazil, population 213 million, this number is 822. Brazil has 175,307 deaths
- for France, population 65 million, this number is 829. France has 54,140 deaths
- for Mexico, population 130 million, this number is 831. Mexico has 107,565 deaths
- for USA, population 332 million, this number is 852. USA has 282,829 deaths
- for UK, population 68 million, this number is 884. UK has 60,113 deaths
- for Italy, population 60 million, this number is 961. Italy has 58,038 deaths
- for Spain, population 47 million, this number is 985. Spain has 46,038 deaths
The best of the major Western economies, India, did much, much worse than Japan, the worst of the major Asian economies. Even Norway, one of the best functioning democracies, did much worse than Japan.
So how to explain this?
It can’t be political system because Vietnam, China, and Singapore are similar authoritarian states, whereas the rest of the Asian countries are democratic. Though it has to be said that most Western governments have been quite inept.
It can’t be a statistical anomaly because the division between Asia and West is too stark.
I believe it has to come down to culture and the nature of the people in these countries. Asian people are much more inclined to obey the authorities for the greater good of society.
Westerners don’t have the personal discipline to act for the greater good. They’re too self-absorbed, too selfish. They won’t wear masks and they won’t social distance and they won’t stay home (allowances can be made for absolute necessities).
Westerners are allowing their worst nature to kill themselves.