Thursday, January 26, 2017

Diversity Is Not Our Strength

 Diversity in action: "Firefighters battle a blaze set in a 
shoe store that collapses in flames during rioting in the
 Watts district of Los Angeles on Aug. 14"
      Since we were wee lads and lasses in grammar school, it has been drilled into our head that racial and ethnic diversity is what makes America strong. Remember all the lessons regarding the American "melting pot"? Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream?

       What if it was a lie? As Kevin Williamson, writing at The National Review, muses, "[w]e’ve been told that diversity is our strength, but the unhappy truth may be something closer to the opposite."

      Our founding fathers knew that racial and cultural diversity was not a strength. In January 1802, Alexander Hamilton briefly discussed why open immigration was inimical to the young Republic. He noted that "[t]he safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common National sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias, and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family." Contrary wise, due to their foreign culture and attachments, "[t]he influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency." Thus, he concluded, "[t]o admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens, the moment they put foot in our country, ..., would be nothing less, than to admit the Grecian Horse into the Citadel of our Liberty and Sovereignty."

     Hamilton's honest assessment was born of common sense and real world experience. Alas, that is insufficient an argument today. Nevertheless, what little research that has been done on the subject supports Hamilton's conclusions. Williamson's article begins by noting that we tend to trust, share and cooperate with people that look like us--the closer the better (such as family or kin). Thus, homogeneous societies are high trust societies. Unfortunately, the exact opposite occurs where there is a large amount of racial or ethnic diversity.
       The obvious and unfortunate flip side of this is that we are less inclined to trust and share with people who are less like us. This has been a well-established fact in social-science literature for a long time: Ethno-linguistic diversity imposes costs on societies by reducing trust and undermining social cooperation. It isn’t a linear relationship, because diversity has real value, too. There are very happy homogeneous societies and miserable homogeneous societies; there are rich diverse countries and poor diverse countries. Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor, economists at Williams and Brown, respectively, have argued that there is in effect a point of diminishing return for diversity, finding that excessive homogeneity has held back the economic performance of Native American populations but excessive diversity has hobbled development in Africa. Their position is a controversial one, but research from around the world has produced similar results: Peter Thisted Dinesen and Kim Mannemar Sønderskov surveyed Danish municipalities from 1979 to the present and found that increasing diversity was correlated with diminished social trust. The effect seems to be general, at least at some level. 
       In their fascinating paper on the subject (“Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance,” Journal of Economic Literature, September 2005) Harvard’s Alberto Alesina and Eliana La Ferrara of Bocconi University lay out the challenges: “The potential benefits of heterogeneity come from variety in production. The costs come from the inability to agree on common public goods and public policies.”
He continues:
       The northern-European welfare states that many American progressives embrace as their ideal were, until very recently, very homogeneous places. Norway, for much of its modern history, had a small minority population of Sami in the north, a few immigrants from neighboring countries, and approximately a thimbleful of immigrants from elsewhere. It was historically not a liberal society on the subject of immigration and integration: Its policy toward the Sami was fornorskning, or Norwegianization, and its 1814 constitution banned Jews from entering the country (a provision revived after the events of 1942). But enjoying an economic boom and fearing a population decline that would undermine its social-welfare model, Norway, beginning in the 1960s, permitted an influx of job-seeking immigrants from Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. The result of that experiment was a general ban on economic immigration enacted in 1975, with an exception for a few coming from other Nordic countries. Norway’s experience with the cohort from the 1960s and ’70s has been problematic: Their employment rate has dropped from 95 percent to less than 40 percent, their dependency on welfare has increased. Subsequent non-Nordic immigrants, partly the result of chain migration from the first cohort, are less likely to work, earn much less money if they do, and are more heavily dependent on welfare than their native-born counterparts. Trust in Norwegian political institutions is, no surprise, on the decline.
       The resulting resentment makes problems worse. Tino Sanandaji, the Kurdish-born, Chicago-trained economist who serves as a fellow at Stockholm’s free-market Research Institute of Industrial Economics (and who of course is a National Review contributor) finds that immigrants in Sweden are eager to work but unable to find jobs. “International comparisons have shown that no other OECD country performs worse than Sweden in terms of integrating immigrants in the labor market,” he writes. “The unemployment rate is 18 percent among immigrants, compared to 7 percent among the native born. The explanation is hardly that immigrants enjoy being unemployed. Studies show that unemployed immigrants in Sweden search far more intensely for work than unemployed Swedes, but often have their job applications ignored. Due to low employment rates, 57 percent of welfare payments in Sweden in 2012 went to immigrant households.” 
       In Sweden, diversity is not their strength. Homogeneity is.
On the other hand, Williamson notes that Japan is a heterogeneous state that does not welcome immigrants--even Korean immigrants that have lived in Japan for generations. "Japan places a very high value on Japaneseness, and there is no self-evident reason for believing that it is wrong to do so."

       Similarly, Thomas Sowell, writing at The American Spectator, observes what should be obvious:
       Is diversity our strength? Or anybody’s strength, anywhere in the world? Does Japan’s homogeneous population cause the Japanese to suffer? Have the Balkans been blessed by their heterogeneity — or does the very word “Balkanization” remind us of centuries of strife, bloodshed and unspeakable atrocities, extending into our own times? 
       Has Europe become a safer place after importing vast numbers of people from the Middle East, with cultures hostile to the fundamental values of Western civilization?
Jared Taylor at the American Renaissance answers Sowell's questions: "Racial diversity is not a strength. It is a grinding, permanent source of conflict and tension, not just in the United States but everywhere in the world where there is racial diversity." He goes on to note that poll after poll reveals that people like to live around people that are like them. All races will self-segregate given the choice. Integration of schools, he observes, has led to white flight and riots. Integrated prisons leads to riots. Even in businesses and industry, racial diversity brings no benefits:
      Thomas A. Kochan, a professor at MIT has probably researched corporate diversity more thoroughly than anyone. The first thing he did was contact 20 major companies that brag about their diversity, and asked them to tell him what diversity had done for them. He was astonished to learn that not one company had done a study on how diversity might have increased profits or improved operations. They had nothing to show him. 
      After five years of studying corporate diversity, he found that the more diversity there was, the more conflict and tension there was, and the more likely people were to quit. His conclusion: “The diversity industry is built on sand.”
He cites other studies that have shown that diverse work forces fosters conflict and distrust.

       But it is not just limited to people in close proximity like work, school or prison (although, perhaps I repeat myself):
       In their own sheepish way, a few scholars have tumbled to the obvious about diversity. Have any of you heard of Robert Putnam of Harvard? He studied 41 different communities in the US that ranged from very homogeneous rural South Dakota to super-mixed-up Los Angeles. And what he found was that the more diversity there is, the less people trust each other. Well, Robert Putnam is a typical confused white man, and he just couldn’t believe what he found. He analyzed his data every possible way to find some reason other than diversity to explain why people in Los Angeles don’t trust each other. He couldn’t find one. 
       This was terrible for him, because he wanted to believe that diversity is a strength. So he just sat on his research for five years, and finally published it only because some of his findings leaked out. 
       So what did Robert Putnam found out? Diversity leads to: 
       * A lower expectation that people will cooperate to solve problems. 
       * Less voluntarism and less charitable giving. 
       * Fewer friends and more unhappiness. 
       * A lower likelihood to bother to register to vote. 
       * Less confidence in local government, local leaders, and local media.  
       * A lot more television watching. 
When you haven’t got friends and you don’t trust people you watch a lot of TV. 
       So, there it is, straight from Harvard: Diversity destroys trust. 
        Another study run by MIT and Tufts University summarized 15 different investigations of the impact of diversity on trust. The conclusion every time was: more diversity, less trust.* 
       By the way, there is a field of study called “happiness research” that analyzes what makes people happy. Prof. Michael Hagerty of UC Davis has surveyed decades of international happiness research and found that “for the most part, the top-rated countries are small and homogeneous.” He went on to explain that “they have a similar world view and a similar religion, so that it’s easier for them to communicate and to understand each other’s motives. And they don’t have race problems.” 
       Once again, here is the voice of research. Diversity destroys trust. Homogeneity makes you happy.
     Mike Conrad notes that Brazil is a case study of the failure of multiculturalism. Although it has world-class industries, its economic success is largely limited to the White-European southern provinces. The Globe and Mail notes:
At the last census, in 2010, 51 per cent of Brazilians identified themselves as black or of mixed race. But the halls of power show something else. Of 38 members of the federal cabinet, one is black – the minister for the promotion of racial equality. Of the 381 companies listed on BOVESPA, the country’s stock market, not a single one has a black or mixed-race chief executive officer. Eighty per cent of the National Congress is white. In 2010, a São Paulo think tank analyzed the executive staff of Brazil’s 500 largest companies and found that a mere 0.2 per cent of executives were black, and only 5.1 per cent were of mixed race.
With such diversity comes violent crime.
       In the most recent UN report on global homicide figures, Africa was overtaken by a surprise entrant: Latin America. One-third of all world’s homicides take place in a region that contains only 8 percent of the global population. And of the top 50 most dangerous cities, in terms of homicide, an astounding 19 of them are located in Brazil. 
       In the United States, Detroit has the worst murder rate: 44.9 murders per 100,000 people. For the Brazilian city of Ananindeua, it’s nearly triple that: 125.7. The murder rate overall in Brazil is 29, making it more dangerous even than Mexico. 
In the past decade, homicides among whites have decreased 24 percent. But among the black population they have increased 40 percentParticularly galling is the surge in murders of women--but again, these are murders of black and mixed race women. But, like the overall murder statistics, the murder rates for white women has actually fallen.

       But faced with a mounting economic crises, the fissures in the country are now exposed.
Although the region has not been spared the worst recession in Brazil’s modern history, its effects have been milder. The south’s unemployment rate has doubled to 8% since the recession began in 2014 but remains well below the national average of 11.8%. Sales-tax receipts have kept pace with inflation, a sign of resilient consumption. In São Paulo, Brazil’s industrial powerhouse, they have dropped in real terms. This strength has its origins in industrial history, but the region has lessons to teach the rest of Brazil, too.
Conrad writes:
For a while it was touted as the example that very diverse races could get along harmoniously and peaceably. Its prosperity - which only emerged among the whites - is now cracking; and if it breaks, Southern Brazil may split away, leaving a Northern Brazil as ethnically African and as poor as many countries in Africa itself, while Southern Brazil may end up as white and as prosperous as areas of Europe.
In that regard, it is notable that in an unofficial October 2016 plebiscite in the three southern states of Brazil, over 90% of voters indicated that they wanted to separate from Brazil and form their own nation.

     So is there any type of diversity that is good? Surprisingly, yes. But it is not racial diversity. In his book, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, Scott Page of the University of Michigan found that different points of view and problem-solving techniques were beneficial. Similarly, in a paper published in the Journal of Applied Economic Letters, economists Bala Ramasamy & Matthew C. H. Yeung found that that "ethnic diversity or fractionalization and values diversity are distinct and while the former has a negative effect on innovation, the latter contributes positively." Moreover, they also found that "countries that are ethnically homogenous but diverse in values orientation are the best innovators."

       Right now, as it stands, America has the worst of both worlds: the nation is highly diverse from an ethnic or racial perspective, magnifying distrust and conflict, but our "best and brightest" in our universities, our "captains of industry" and our highest government officials (collectively, the elite or ruling class) are homogeneous in their values orientation. As Angelo Codevilla observed in 2010:
Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. 
This does not bode well for our ability to preserve our technological innovation, or maintain a civil society and rule of law.

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