Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Diversity: how much is too much

Oxford Prof Paul Collier manages to navigate very dangerous waters here: immigration, multiculturalism, diversity. I came across his views from a BBC World Service Radio program I just heard.  And, googling, came across the above interview with the Economist just a few days ago. So this is breaking news...
Normally these issues -- immigration and diversity -- are viewed from a prism of Left or Right.  On the Left: all good; on the Right all bad.
Prof Collier's view is that we need to talk about "how much".  And coming from an Oxford Don, cannot be ignored, as is usually the case when these issued are raised by the Right.
Collier says we should be looking not at whether immigration/diversity is good or bad, but how much immigration and how much diversity. One devastating point: that the countries from which UK immigrants come from have great diversity (eg Africa), but very little trust and cooperation in their societies (as a corollary of that diversity).  We should not expect to continue immigration without it's having the same effect on the host country.
In response to the interviewer's paean of praise for London and its wonderful diversity, Collier says that over half the indigenous population of London has left in the last half century, more than any other city now or in history. So while it may have been good for the immigrants, it's clearly not been good for the original inhabitants of London....
His main point is that we need to understand the fact that "diversity" affects aspects of our society:
More Diversity = less Trust (he says there's "loads of evidence for this")
More Diversity = less Cooperation
More Diversity = less Generosity.
Have a look at the video.  The interviewer, of the daintily nice Left Economist, looks like he's got a gherkin up his khyber.  A pickled one.  As one of the commenters says, "You can tell this interviewer is scandalized by Prof. Collier's lack of complete unconditional acceptance of unlimited immigration."