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The individual vs the collective

Submitted by eline.lincklaenarriens
on Wed, 07/22/2020 - 09:49

In the last months, I have written a two-part series on the SCDS that looked into how countries have utilised and shared data to gain insights into the spread of COVID-19 and how they were curbing and flattening the spread of the pandemic. More specifically, I focused on Western Individualism vs. Eastern Collectivism mentalities and how this cultural difference impacted COVID-19 responses at a broader level, with examples of national responses from the Netherlands (West) and China (East). 

When concluding the series, I stated that there is no right way forward and there is no objectively wrong approach to how nations are dealing with the pandemic. But is this true? Should the West have eased their privacy concerns and focused more on the collective good and keeping their citizens healthy, or should the East have been more strict and respectful of peoples individual privacy?