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Cultural diversity

It is not very difficult to find reports in the press about conditions that characterize culture-bound situations in the US, the EU, Saudi Arabia and China. I give an example of each. The idea is that the government behaviors that are discussed should be explainable with the aid of knowledge about the cultural differences. And that this knowledge will be useful to estimate how the differences in the treatment of COVID came about. To illustrate this question, I leave after the text fragments the graphs of the COVID trend for the four jurisdictions, which I chose as representatives for the four cultures. (Four, because I have found that the US and the EU have increasingly drifted culturally apart, in my experience since 9/11 (2001), and can no longer be viewed as a single culture.

Text excerpts

USA: (visited March 6, 2021):

The House of Representatives of the 117th U.S. Congress adopted one article of impeachment against Trump of “incitement of insurrection”, alleging that Trump incited the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. These events were preceded by numerous unsuccessful attempts by Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election, as well as his pushing of voter fraud conspiracy theories on his social media channels before, during, and after the election. A single article of impeachment charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” against the U.S. government and “lawless action at the Capitol” was introduced to the House of Representatives on January 11, […] Trump called on his supporters to come to Washington D.C. on January 6, on the day that Congress was counting the electoral votes, to the “March to Save America” rally on the National Mall. At the rally, Trump as well as other speakers repeated the false claims that the election was stolen, used the word “fight”, made an analogy to boxing, and suggested that his supporters had the power to prevent President-elect Joe Biden from taking office. When the United States Congress convened to certify the electoral votes of the presidential election, supporters of Trump crossed the Mall and stormed the United States Capitol in an attempt to prevent the tabulation of votes and protest against Biden’s win. Trump supporters unlawfully entered the Capitol and gathered on both its eastern and western sides, […] Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the riots, while several improvised explosive devices were found on and near the Capitol grounds.

The Netherlands: (visited March 4, 2021):

The Dutch childcare benefits scandal (Dutch: kinderopvangtoeslagaffaire or toeslagenaffaire, lit. ‘[childcare] benefits affair’) is a political scandal in the Netherlands concerning false allegations of fraud made by the Tax and Customs Administration while attempting to regulate the distribution of childcare benefits. Between 2013 and 2019, authorities wrongly accused an estimated 26,000 parents of making fraudulent benefit claims, requiring them to pay back the allowances they had received in their entirety. In many cases, this sum amounted to tens of thousands of euros, driving families into severe financial hardship. The scandal was brought to public attention in September 2018. Investigators have subsequently described the working procedure of the Tax and Customs Administration as “discriminatory” and filled with “institutional bias”. On 15 January 2021, two months before the 2021 general election, the third Rutte cabinet resigned over the scandal following a parliamentary inquiry into the matter, which concluded that “fundamental principles of the rule of law” had been violated.

Saudi Arabia: (visited March 4, 2021):

Women, as well as men, may be subject to harassment by the country’s religious police, the mutaween, in some cases including arbitrary arrest and physical punishments. A UN report cites a case in which two mutaween were charged with molesting a woman; the charges were dismissed on the grounds that mutaween are immune from prosecution. In some cases, victims of sexual assault are punished for khalwa, being alone with an unrelated male, prior to the assault. In the Qatif rape case, an 18-year-old victim of kidnapping and gang rape was sentenced by a Saudi court to six months in prison and 90 lashes. The judge ruled she violated laws on segregation of the sexes, as she was in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack. She was also punished for trying to influence the court through the media. The Ministry of Justice defended the sentence, saying she committed adultery and “provoked the attack” because she was “indecently dressed.” Her attackers were found guilty of kidnapping and were sentenced for prison terms ranging from two to ten years.

China: The Gender Legacy of the Mao Era – Women’s Life Stories in Contemporary China, Xin Huang, © 2018 State University of New York:

In March 2015, one day before International Women’s Day, five Chinese feminist activists were detained by the police for organizing multicity campaigns against sexual harassment on public transport. They were detained for thirty-five days and charged by the police for xunxie zishi (寻衅滋事, picking quarrels and provoking troubles).


To show the detail in the PRC data after April 24 I give the second PRC graph, which has been rescaled for this purpose.


It is of course an impossible task for a lawyer-programmer to single-handedlymake a sound design of the developments of a pandemic in four different cultures. But that is not necessary. For a first approach I use solid literature mixed with personal experience. But the main argument why that design doesn’t have to be right right away is that I intend to integrate, in the spirit of the AlphaZero approach, a game situation where the model learns how to play against itself in search of the best (‘winning ‘) predictions of the pandemic in different cultures.