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Short retention period of national success stories


The author, Morgan Stanley Investment Management Global Strategist, is the author of The Ten Rules of Successful Countries.

The frequently asked question of which nations win the epidemic now has only one consistent answer. It depends on the month. The virus has repeatedly made winners losers, and vice versa.

Not long ago, the United States and Great Britain were punished for illegal answers “Non-liberal populists” Inspired by unwavering “faith in their national greatness”. They are now widely praised Rapid distribution of vaccines, որպես as the safest places for vacation this summer.

At the same time, many countries that were hailed early in the morning for the virus, from Asia to Europe, have since suffered debilitating waves, slow spread of vaccines, or both. What is shocking in all these cases is how quickly the broad national-cultural stereotypes were used to explain success and failure and then just as quickly forgotten. Nobody calls the United States “Third World “country now:

The search for a winning strategy began in South Korea, in Taiwan, where low jobs were attributed to well-trained bureaucracies, and orderly societies were willing to follow the rules to some extent.it’s hard to imagine in the west“Before Korea, in particular, there was a great easing of events.

It was Thailand after a 102-day run with no local incidents as an example last September by the World Health Organization, which made major investments in public health. Many analysts have gone so far as to refer to Thailand, the Mekong region as a culture of purity, and social unrest.

Lifestyle explanations for low mortality rates in India were also offered. Living in crowded homes, eating unsanitary food, and drinking dirty water have allowed millions of Indians to develop “innate immunity” to pathogens, including the coronavirus. Or so the story was told. Last month, Thailand struck և India has been widely criticized for its overcrowding,

Established stereotypes were just as short-lived in the West. Sweden: defiantly light touch approach The blockades had its fans who speculated that the country “Compliance culture” would practice safe behavior. In addition, it was said that many Swedes are a solitary species, a natural form of social distance. In any case, the events matured last fall, սեփական Sweden’s own king announced its strategy fails.

Germany was slipping at the same time. After the first wave, I was one of the many analysts who: to think This enabled pre-existing German strengths, from effective government to co-operative federalism. Others praised the rational-minded population, which is ready to follow the “chief scientist” Angela Merkel. Then in the winter the second wave hit, much stronger.

Probably no country has experienced a heavier decline than Canada, which had a much lower burden on the United States last summer. Canadians were proud of their high-quality health ապահ communal spirit, և “healthy” political culture, led by the Prime Minister, who was not inclined to strange medical theories.

Now it is the distribution of vaccines expands faster In the US than in Canada. The daily count of cases in Canada exceeds one in the United States. Canadians: to believe A “humiliating” new admiration for American medical knowledge. Some Europeans do the same. But history will judge how the nation went through the whole epidemic, not in May 2021.

It is true that the virus has not spread “the already beaten idea of ​​American exclusivity“As many expected a year ago. But no major country has yet received the immunity of herds. Reopening ումը blocking experience և are error attempts that take place at different speeds around the globe. No one can be sure how the final game will be played.

Vaccines can really be the miracle weapon that finally wins this battle. However, the US Centers for Disease Control is cautious send message Although vaccines are highly effective, it is not yet fully understood whether they will work against all variants. It did not declare victory. Others would be wise not to do so.

A lesson for armchair epidemiologists. It is wrong to choose the winners in the middle of the fight. Remember how bad claims of last month’s victory were agreed before rushing to announce new winners this month? Assume that the virus has a long-term plan to survive on its own.

More importantly, look at how weak cultural stereotypes have explained success and failure. Rapidly drawn caricatures have never been a useful tool for predicting the rise and fall of nations. The coronavirus has once again exposed them as superficial thinking.



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