An Individualistic culture is defined as a society that prioritizes the individual over the entire group. The United States is one of those countries.
In my opinion, the U.S. is probably the most individualistic country in the world. Americans are likely to put themselves before others or another group and focus on personal rewards and benefits.
Being an individualistic culture is not a bad thing. Individualism can support freedom and individual creativity. With this concept, every individual is important.
This differs however from collectivism, which is based on the needs of the group or the community as a whole. Values from collectivist cultures include family, community, and kinship. People in these cultures work together to create harmony and peace for one another.
On my grocery store run for the last two weeks, stores everywhere were out of necessary resources needed to combat COVID-19. Stores are out of hand sanitizer, certain foods, and even toilet paper.
What is frustrating and ironic is that the best way to protect yourself from the virus is to wash your hands and stay clean and sanitized, but it’s really hard to do that if one person is hoarding all the resources to stay safe and healthy.
Even if you have the money for the best and the most resources, you can still be infected by those who don’t have the means to stockpile toilet paper and a gallon of hand sanitizer.
I don’t know what you’re going to do with a basement full of toilet paper, but I can guarantee you that it’s not going to stop the virus.
I have been seeing articles about how other countries are reacting to the virus. I can tell you one thing — it’s a different approach than the one the U.S. is taking.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Italy plans to put a moratorium on debt, which includes repayments and mortgages, to help families and businesses amid the epidemic. This will allow all members of society, even the working class, to practice social distancing, thereby slowing the spread of the virus.
Japan announced that COVID-19 testing will now be covered by their national health insurance. This contrasts wildly with the shortage of expensive tests in the United States.
What’s even crazier is that Japan and other countries have national health insurance or universal coverage in the first place.
My question is this: Is America ready to help its people and all who live here? We must move from individualism to a culture that is rooted in community, generosity, and harmony?
As you continue to stockpile pasta, green beans, toilet paper, and gallons of sanitizer to protect your family, remember that your health depends on the health of the most vulnerable members of our society — we are all rooted in the same cause.