Harvard Study Paints Bleak Picture Of Ethnic Diversity - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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By Ixa
#996099
Not spam, though the link is broken. Here is the actual article:


Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity

By John Lloyd in London

Published: October 9 2006 03:00 | Last updated: October 9 2006 03:00

A bleak picture of the corrosive effects of ethnic diversity has been revealed in research by Harvard University's Robert Putnam, one of the world's most influential political scientists.

His research shows that the more diverse a community is, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone - from their next-door neighbour to the mayor.

This is a contentious finding in the current climate of concern about the benefits of immigration. Professor Putnam told the Financial Times he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it "would have been irresponsible to publish without that".

The core message of the research was that, "in the presence of diversity, we hunker down", he said. "We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it's not just that we don't trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don't trust people who do look like us."

Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, "the most diverse human habitation in human history", but his findings also held for rural South Dakota, where "diversity means inviting Swedes to a Norwegians' picnic".

When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust. "They don't trust the local mayor, they don't trust the local paper, they don't trust other people and they don't trust institutions," said Prof Putnam. "The only thing there's more of is protest marches and TV-watching."

British Home Office research has pointed in the same direction and Prof Putnam, now working with social scientists at Man-chester University, said other European countries would be likely to have similar trends.

His 2000 book, Bowling Alone, on the increasing atomisation of contemporary society, made him an academic celebrity. Though some scholars questioned how well its findings applied outside the US, policymakers were impressed and he was invited to speak at Camp David, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

Prof Putnam stressed, however, that immigration materially benefited both the "importing" and "exporting" societies, and that trends "have been socially constructed, and can be socially reconstructed".

In an oblique criticism of Jack Straw, leader of the House of Commons, who revealed last week he prefers Muslim women not to wear a full veil, Prof Putnam said: "What we shouldn't do is to say that they [immigrants] should be more like us. We should construct a new us."
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By The Antiist
#996349
The outcome of this research sounds logical, but there's no explanation reported for this outcome. Is it because people are prejudiced by the media or social groups that they distrust others, do people by nature distrust others or do they distrust others because they do? Because if people of different ethnicity don't mix and mingle, for instance people of different ethnicity don't live in the same neighborhoods, they wouldn't be used to each other's presence, hence the distrust.
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By byosotld
#996699
Ethnic and racial diversity is continually increasing in most communities. I'm guessing that people will become more accustomed to diverse communities.

However, one way or another, diverse communities won't last. Either groups will become irrated with other groups and move elsewhere, or groups will become accustomed to one another, begin interbreeding, and diversity will fade away.
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By Nattering Nabob
#996793
So there is less trust. Why hasn't America destroyed itself instead of prospering for the last 200+ years?
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By byosotld
#996828
So there is less trust. Why hasn't America destroyed itself instead of prospering for the last 200+ years?


Hold on there, champ! I'm not disagreeing with your logic, but we haven't been that diverse for that long.
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By Nattering Nabob
#996871
I'm not disagreeing with your logic, but we haven't been that diverse for that long.



Of course we have. Like many Americans I'm so much of a bastadrized hodge-podge of genetics that I can't even tell you what ancestry I should claim, and I can trace ancestry back to the American revolutionary war. I've got more nationalities in me than the U.N.
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By byosotld
#996894
Nattering Bob wrote:Of course we have. Like many Americans I'm so much of a bastadrized hodge-podge of genetics that I can't even tell you what ancestry I should claim, and I can trace ancestry back to the American revolutionary war. I've got more nationalities in me than the U.N.
\
While not opposing your bastardliness, we're more diverse today than we were before. We have been becoming more and more diverse for some time now. There's no other way to say it. You're wrong.
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By Nattering Nabob
#997030
There's no other way to say it. You're wrong.


You can say it in English, Dutch, French, and Spanish. All of those countries had colonies in the New World that became the United States. And that's not counting the blacks and the Natives. And yet we became the greatest country on earth...hhhmmm...
By SirKillerWreckTango
#999016

Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:58 am
So there is less trust. Why hasn't America destroyed itself instead of prospering for the last 200+ years?



guns germs and steel.

edit

The outcome of this research sounds logical, but there's no explanation reported for this outcome


America used to be a Collectivist/socialist nation. Now we are more Individualistic.

His whole thesis relies on the belief that the correlation between voluntary association (joining clubs, voting) and trust are causal.

Assume this is true: Less voluntary association = less trust

Causes:

1.) Breakdown of the family unit, more divorces, less children.

2.) Possibly race/immigration

3.) Growth of large corporations, decline of mom and pop shops

4.) We spend more time working and making money, so we have less leisure time

5.) Cities get bigger, we have to commute further to do ANYTHING

6.) Our exisiting leisure time has been privatised, meaning that we can enjoy our time all alone. We feel perfectly fine watching TV by ourselves

7.) Although he says that at first TV brought people together, now it keeps us apart. There used to be only one or two shows, now there are as many channels on your satellite as there are people on your block.

His book was written 7 years ago and based on research/data from much longer ago. Maybe we have changed over the last 15 years or so (for a book on how people interact, he doesnt mention the internet at all).

However, one way or another, diverse communities won't last. Either groups will become irrated with other groups and move elsewhere, or groups will become accustomed to one another, begin interbreeding, and diversity will fade away.

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