The starkly different impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on China and the United States is glaring proof of which political system is most capable of delivering for the common good of people.
Nearly one and half years since the global pandemic erupted, the total number of deaths in China from the disease stands at about 4,600. In the United States, the death toll is over 630,000 and rising.
China’s deaths from Covid-19 are less than 1 percent of those in the US. What is even more remarkable is that China has a total population of 1.4 billion people which is four times that of the United States.
Any objective person looking at the data would therefore have to conclude that there is something hugely significant about the relative performances of the governing systems in both countries. Empirically, in managing a massive public health crisis, China has wiped the floor with the US.
The pandemic is a tragic demonstration of China’s superiority over the US in terms of governance for the common good. Some critics may dispute if China has a socialist system. China claims it does. In any case, its system has strong elements of socialism: central planning, public ownership and state provision of services, in particular healthcare.
These characteristics have ensured that China’s response to the pandemic has minimised the deaths and infirmities. This was evident from the early weeks of the pandemic when the Beijing government implemented rapid lockdowns and rigorous tracing methods to contain the disease.
Again, this can be seen currently in the way China is mobilising resources to contain deadly new variants of the virus. The lockdowns, tracing, isolation and mask-wearing are proven to be effective in defeating the virus. But that response is made possible because China’s government provides the financial and material resources to help the public cooperate. Free accommodation, food and other essentials are generously supplied to families so that they can comply with onerous restrictions.
By contrast, the United States is witnessing a non-stop disaster. There, the capitalist, oligarchic system completely disincentives public cooperation to help beat the pandemic. Yes, there have been some government handouts to workers and the unemployed.
But the response is paltry. By and large, working Americans can’t afford isolation and lockdowns because they are expected to bear the costs, which in a profit-above-all system does not make it feasible to implement an effective strategy to contain the disease.
Despite the resurgence of infections and deaths from the new Delta variant of the virus, the Biden administration and many state governments are rushing to end lockdowns and the wearing of masks. They are in denial. Why? Because the American capitalist system cannot tolerate an effective public health strategy. That fundamental contradiction is driving the country in the wrong direction in terms of defeating the pandemic. The deaths, sickness, infections, social impact will only get worse.
There is another factor: the basic wrongheadedness of American political culture. The vastly overrated importance of “individual freedom” feeds into an irrational mentality whereby many Americans think it is their “duty” to distrust concepts like collective action, public good, and even scientific evidence that there is a deadly disease that needs to be managed.
There are a lot of US politicians and citizens who are frankly deluded and deranged. To the point where they think wearing masks is a communist conspiracy to oppress them. No wonder the pandemic is hanging over the United States like doomsday when so many of its people refuse to get vaccinated or wear masks.
In China, not only is its avowed socialist system proven to be magnitudes more efficient and effective, the people themselves still retain a sense of rationality and common humanity. Chinese people trust their government and willingly comply with lockdowns and basic measures like wearing masks in public.
The world is facing many other challenges: climate change and poverty are top of the list. The only way of overcoming these existential dangers is with a planned system that is rational about providing for the common good of people.
The Covid-19 pandemic proves that China has a system for the future. The United States is a system that has had its day. It’s over and out.
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