Why covid protests are common in the west but not in the east?
The covid pandemic hit almost all countries in the world. However, I noticed that the people’s response was different from country to country, which means people behave differently to the covid pandemic. This was clearly seen in protests against vaccination, lockdown, and wearing the mask. It was interesting that more countries in the west protest against lockdown, vaccination, and wearing masks than in the east and other regions. In the east, many people were skeptical about vaccination and lockdowns, but there was no massive public protest like in the west. I was curious about this, and hence I was searching for the reason, and I found a theory named cultural dimensions by Geert Hofstede.
Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory is a framework for cross-cultural communication, and as per this theory, the cultural difference between countries can be measured by six factors. Individualism and collectivism are one of the six factors. On Hofstede’s scale, most Western countries have a high rank for individualism. Many eastern countries have a low rank, saying that western countries promote personal goals, desires, independence, and self-reliance. Individualism advocate that the interests of the individual should give precedence over the state or a social group and oppose external interference upon one’s own interests by society or institutions such as the government.
Unlike the west, eastern countries prefer collectivism which people give more importance to the community than one own interest. Many western countries have a high rank in individualism, and eastern countries have a low score. This might be the reason for growing protests in covid vaccination, lockdowns, and wearing masks by the public in western countries compared with eastern countries. For instance, in India, many people are skeptical about the vaccine, and many are against lockdowns. However, they still obey the rule because they believe it is better for society.
In this context, a question may arise — which is better, individualism or collectivism? In my opinion, both have positive and negative consequences, and their effectiveness is based on the situation and other factors. For instance, in war or pandemic-like situations, collectivism has an edge; however, individualism is more applicable when choosing one’s own career or a life partner.