Monday, August 06, 2007

Should Diversity Be Celebrated?

'This company is committed to celebrating diversity.'

A line you will see on every single major corporation's mission statement. What you won't see is any persuasive arguments as to why. Studies showing diversity's compelling effects on the bottom line are not distributed far and wide. So why are the benefits of diversity trumpeted by both corporations and Western governments the world over?

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has recently released a research paper based on five years of study showing that

'immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities'

Putnam's research revealed that,

'immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer.'

How does this tie in with the findings of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) which concluded that economies with high levels of trust grow at a faster rate than those where there is lots of mutual suspicion.

I am a strong advocate of economic migration, believing it to have strongly beneficial effects on the host nation and the individuals concerned. But this study gives pause for thought about whether numbers should be limited in the interests of 'social cohesion'.

via Pub Philosopher