Identity Politics Is Here to Stay

 

One of my reactions to the events in Charlottesville was to chide my liberal friends: See, this is what you get when you embrace identity politics. Do you really want to double down on that? At that moment nothing seemed more obvious than the fact that, when you mainstream ethnic identity politics and insist on politicizing “Whiteness”, as the Left has been doing for more than a generation, both reasonable and unreasonable people will choose to organize politically around white identity. Even some Liberals are coming around to the realization that identity politics is no way to run a railroad.

But two minutes of calm reflection were enough to see that I was being a little unfair. Identity politics is not really the problem. Rather, identity politics is the normal mode of political organization in a multi-ethnic democracy that worships the twin gods, “Diversity” and “Multiculturalism”. Identity politics is our politics, and it’s here to stay. Get used to it.


This wouldn’t be so bad, except for two problems: 1) identity politics is bad for society; and 2) identity politics is bad for democracy. The purveyors of multiculturalism didn’t really think their little theory through.

The language we use to talk about our political institutions is full of embedded assumptions about the nature of peoplehood. Consider the terms “self-government” and “self-determination”: who is this “self” that is free to determine how it is governed? Who makes up the “demos” in democracy?

The first word of the first political document drafted in the name of American independence is “We”:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Likewise, the first words of our Constitution:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In a multiethnic, multicultural United States, the “We” becomes problematic, there is no “People of the United States”, no “ourselves”, there can be no talk of a more perfect Union and “we” can kiss domestic Tranquility goodbye.

Of course, you could object that we were never “We” to begin with. The idea that factions are both natural in human societies and harmful to politics is not new, as James Madison famously expounded in Federalist No. 10:

“So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.”

Madison and the other Federalists argued that the effects of faction based on economic interests could be controlled through republican government institutions. But Madison never had to deal with ethnic identity politics.

Ethnic factionalism is different. I’m blue in the face from pointing out that human beings are naturally tribal and gravitate easily toward exclusive collective identities. People naturally self-segregate along various criteria, and they are especially prone to self-segregate along ethnic and racial lines. This being the case, the marginal cost of political organization along the lines of ethnic and racial affinity is lower than the cost of organizing with respect to other criteria, such as economic interest. So we should not be surprised when a multi-ethnic democracy like the United States splinters into rival ethnic and racial blocs. We don’t need much government encouragement to do this.

This is a recipe for problems. The dirty little secret of social science is that serious academic research in management science, economics, and other areas suggests fairly unambiguously that ethnic diversity imposes substantial social costs in many if not most settings, from reduced firm productivity to loss of social capital, to reduction in effective government and the willingness of taxpayers to fund public goods.

Truly free and democratic multi-ethnic societies are rare. Switzerland perhaps comes closest, but it’s unclear that the Swiss model can be grafted on top of any other society. The Swiss have had more than 600 years to figure out how to govern themselves, and therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that they have arrived at a formula that works well for their particular circumstances. Also, because of their long history, there is actually a quite strong unifying Swiss national identity, despite the linguistic and ethnic divisions. Moreover, a core principle of the Swiss solution is separation: the country’s four ethnicities are overwhelmingly concentrated in their own cantons. Because of this, Switzerland is very decentralized: it is a true confederacy, and most political issues are decided at the canton level. This keeps ethnic and regional tensions to a minimum. The federal government in Bern is practically invisible; most Swiss can’t name their country’s president. This is not a model that is easily copied, even if we wanted to do it (which nobody does).

The bottom line is that the “diversity tax” is a problem crying out for a solution. The question is, what to do about it.


Fortunately, national and ethnic identities are malleable, and countries use a mix of strategies to build them up: language policy, nationalist ideology, mobilization against an external threat, and various social engineering schemes. For a country of settlers and immigrants like the United States, it is especially important to undergo a continuous process of what in other contexts we call “nation-building”. The United States actually used to be exceptionally good at this. Lately, though, we seem to have forgotten how to do it.

The good news is that the melting pot model is actually alive and well, just not operating on the same scale as it did a century ago. Consider the case of the most authentically American ethnicity of all: Hispanics. Lots of countries have white people; lots of countries have black people; one country has lots of Chinese people. But only the United States has Hispanics – an ethnicity that didn’t exist at all until the Nixon-era Census Bureau cooked it up in its basement. The Hispanic ethnicity is purely the product of Yankee ingenuity.

(Someone more bloody-minded than I might even conclude that its invention was a clever Republican plot to sow strife and division between two groups of Democrats vying for the same socio-economic space. But this is unlikely – the Stupid Party is incapable of such Machiavellian cunning. Richard Nixon, though, surely was capable of it.)

To appreciate just how amazingly well the Hispanic melting pot works, consider what an absurd concoction it is. The Census Bureau defines “Hispanic” to mean “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.” This category includes Eric Estrada, Jorge Ramos, His Royal Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, a Zapotec-speaking peasant from Oaxaca, a Quechua-speaking peasant from the highlands of Ecuador, and former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori. On the face of it, these people have nothing in common. Nonetheless, now, less than 50 years later, nearly 60 million Americans identify as Hispanic. There are Hispanic Awareness Months, a Congressional Hispanic caucus, Hispanic studies programs in the universities, Hispanic lobbying and advocacy groups, Hispanic cable networks, Hispanic grocery store aisles, Hispanic affirmative action preferences, and Hispanic supremacist and separatist organizations.

How did the government do this? Officially, the reason the Census Bureau collects information about race and ethnicity is this:

“Information on race is required for many Federal programs and is critical in making policy decisions, particularly for civil rights. States use these data to meet legislative redistricting principles. Race data also are used to promote equal employment opportunities and to assess racial disparities in health and environmental risks.”

Here is the plain English translation: We need to know your ethnicity to know how and to whom to distribute various Federal gum drops and lollipops: direct affirmative action programs, contracting set-asides, various gerrymandering schemes and private disparate outcome lawsuit payouts. The census ethnic category racket is a big, lucrative business for political entrepreneurs. It pays big bucks to have your own ethnic category officially recognized by Uncle Sam, which is why the advocates of the late Obama-era ethnic fiction called “Middle East and North African” (“MENA”) are celebrating.

(In fact, if I were more conspiracy-oriented, I might conclude that officially encouraging the fracturing of people the Census Bureau used call “White” is a cunning Democrat stratagem to undermine Republicans. But I would never suggest anything of the sort.)


That our government is capable of summoning up a 60-million strong fictional ethnicity out of thin air virtually overnight simply through administrative fiat is testimony to the truly awesome power of the Federal bureaucracy in the field of ethnic engineering.

Which leads naturally to a crazy question… What if we made it our national policy to create an “American” ethnicity? Surely the American population as currently constituted is no less diverse than the people our government has labeled “Hispanic”. If we wanted to create an American ethnicity, how would we go about it?

At the risk of falling into misty nostalgia, let me suggest that by the early 1960s – the high water mark of American nationalism – the United States came quite close to creating its own unique national ethnicity, albeit with a very large asterisk. If we really wanted to, we could do it again. The most important thing to do would be to eliminate the 20+ census ethnic and racial categories. In fact, we should make it illegal for the government to classify and identify the U.S. population by race, ethnicity or religious affiliation for any purpose whatsoever. Make the government completely blind to race and ethnicity, so that all citizens look like those images rendered by the airport body scanners: vaguely human-shaped schematics with no identifying characteristics whatsoever. There is simply no innocent reason for the government to make it its business to know the race or ethnicity of any citizen.

How realistic is it that this could happen? Completely unrealistic. The census ethnicity and race categories are, in effect, huge government entitlements with constituencies numbering in the tens of millions and growing. As we know, once put in place, government entitlements never, ever go away.

The only imaginable scenario where I can see the United States getting its nation-building act together involves a rising China. I mentioned that mobilization against an external threat has historically been an important nation-building strategy. This has certainly been true for us, despite the fact that, thanks to its geography, the United States has been the most secure great power in history. Traditionally, the United States has focused laser-like on great powers that threatened to dominate parts of the world we cared about. We have been very good at dispatching such global rivals to history’s boneyard, and in the process creating a robust national identity. If China continues to grow, its sheer size and military potential will dwarf those earlier peer competitors and powerfully concentrate Uncle Sam’s mind. It is also interesting to note in this connection that China is an old-fashioned ethno-state whose leadership regards our obsession with diversity and multiculturalism with a mixture of amusement and contempt. The coming U.S.-China rivalry will be a contest, among other things, between two very different approaches to nation-building. The outcome of this contest depends to a great extent on how we think of ourselves as a nation. Personally, I am not optimistic.


The asterisk, of course, is that the American ethnicity excluded African Americans. But even this exception seemed to be moving rapidly toward resolution before the country went completely off the rails and gave up on nationalism in the late 1960s. For example, there is a strong case to be made that the early Civil Rights movement was very much a product of the mid-century high water mark of American nationalism. Listen to MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and it is striking how classically nationalist it is, from its evocation of the country’s geographical features, to the reaffirmation of its basic creed of freedom, equality and individual rights, to its Old Testament shining-city-on-a hill rhetoric. Perhaps a topic for another post.

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    That’s very good and you ended on an important focus.  It’s government created tribalization.

    “(In fact, if I were more conspiracy-oriented, I might conclude that officially encouraging the fracturing of people the Census Bureau used call “White” is a cunning Democrat stratagem to undermine Republicans. But I would never suggest anything of the sort.) ”

    It’s not being conspiracy oriented, it’s got to be at the heart of their strategy, it’s not aimed at Republicans but at the republic.  Irish knew they were Irish, Italians knew as did wasps, Eastern european jews and so forth, Blacks from the Caribbean and blacks freed before the war etc.. we’ve always had more such groups than any other country and they knew who they were and who others were, but they accepted the basic ideas in the declaration and constitution and that made all the difference to the country and to their relationships and they came together culturally and politically on that basis.   The melting pot wasn’t melted by policy, but by the ideas, and  people were free to adapt and compete, aggregate or join or ignore it all.  We celebrated that diversity as well because it wasn’t being used against us.  It meant  more choice and variety and innovation and fashion and better food and beautiful mixes.  That was the best of all worlds and is being systematically attacked not to foster the richness of diversity but to obliterate homogenize even as they divide and conquer.

     

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  2. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Identity politics is burdensome and impractical.

    Politicians don’t talk much about the Irish vote or the Italian vote anymore is that economic assimilation and intermarriage have erased those lines.  I have two half-African-American grandchildren and two who are a quarter-Filipino and three who are a more conventional Irish-Scottish-English-German.  That kind of mixing has always been the American norm. And even more so now.

    It is much harder for demagogues to do identity politics when the lines break down.

    One key event could be to expose the horrific fraud inflicted on black kids bright enough to become doctors and lawyers from second-tier colleges but get accepted to the first tier via affirmative action where they wind up in “Studies” courses which are essentially a four year training program to learn how to shine for white liberals and with zero economic value.  From the creation of urban poverty reservations to Ivy League ideological cocoons, the left has inflicted horrific injury on African-Americans.  That reality is too big to ignore indefinitely.

    Unless Trumpian intemperance and a useless GOP Congress bring the hard left to power, I am optimistic that the dam will break and reality will drown identity politics.  Unity and equality under the law may become more attractive as the leftist alternatives play out.

    Imagine if Barrack Obama had been a man of vision and integrity who used his mandate to tear down the entire edifice of policy-driven harm instead of a race-baiting political hack…

    • #2
  3. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov
    @Oblomov

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Imagine if Barrack Obama had been a man of vision and integrity who used his mandate to tear down the entire edifice of policy-driven harm instead of a race-baiting political hack…

    I tried to imagine that very thing here: http://ricochet.com/archives/the-central-tragedy-of-the-obama-presidency/

     

    • #3
  4. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    It is much harder for demagogues to do identity politics when the lines break down.

    Here’s the rub – the 1-drop rule.  It may not be a rule in law anymore, but it is very much a rule of convention.  And by following that social convention, your grandchildren are African American.  Period, end of story.  There is no option for them to chose for themselves, no option except to perhaps check “none of the above” when asked.  The rules in place force the divisions and keep them there.  And those who benefit (hello Lizzie Warren!) want those divisions to remain permanent.

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  5. Derek Simmons Member
    Derek Simmons
    @

    Oblomov: In a multiethnic, multicultural United States, the “We” becomes problematic

    bc assimilation is no longer acceptable as the goal. We don’t even try for ‘mosaic’ or ‘mixed salad’ any more. We settled for the immiscibility of oil and water. And the inevitable social chaos.

     

    • #5
  6. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Oblomov:If China continues to grow, its sheer size and military potential will dwarf those earlier peer competitors and concentrate Uncle Sam’s mind. It is also interesting to note in this connection that China is an old-fashioned ethno-state whose leadership regards our obsession with diversity and multiculturalism with amusement and contempt. The coming U.S.-China rivalry will be a contest, among other things, between two very different approaches to state-building. The outcome of this contest depends to a great extent to how we think of ourselves as a nation. Personally, I am not optimistic.

     

    The other point is that in the past the United States was courted to become part of an alliance that was already at war.

    There will be no such courtship now.

    At least one of our allies is thinking seriously of switching sides.

    Our allies are not armed, but neither were we. More importantly, our allies are not geographically isolated as we had the good fortune to be. Allies are not always worth having, e.g., Austria-Hungary for Germany in 1914. They can get you into trouble when you write blank checks as we have.

    Further we have leadership in this country that does not understand the difference between strategy and tactics.

    Our strategy is for stability in a world that is inherently unstable – always has been, always will be. But the imbeciles in charge of strategy for this country insist on a strategy guaranteed for loss. Trump is doubling down on it. Afghanistan shows this in spades.

    • #6
  7. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    skipsul (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    It is much harder for demagogues to do identity politics when the lines break down.

    Here’s the rub – the 1-drop rule. It may not be a rule in law anymore, but it is very much a rule of convention. And by following that social convention, your grandchildren are African American. Period, end of story. There is no option for them to chose for themselves, no option except to perhaps check “none of the above” when asked. The rules in place force the divisions and keep them there. And those who benefit (hello Lizzie Warren!) want those divisions to remain permanent.

    The difference is that where there are clear lines, there can be an “other.” That’s a lot harder to do when the other is an aunt, uncle or grandparent.

    • #7
  8. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    skipsul (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    It is much harder for demagogues to do identity politics when the lines break down.

    Here’s the rub – the 1-drop rule. It may not be a rule in law anymore, but it is very much a rule of convention. And by following that social convention, your grandchildren are African American. Period, end of story. There is no option for them to chose for themselves, no option except to perhaps check “none of the above” when asked. The rules in place force the divisions and keep them there. And those who benefit (hello Lizzie Warren!) want those divisions to remain permanent.

    The difference is that where there are clear lines, there can be an “other.” That’s a lot harder to do when the other is an aunt, uncle or grandparent.

    Hopefully more and more Americans, as racial lines continue to blur and cross, will cease to see those lines at all.

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Oblomov: What if we made it our national policy to create an “American” ethnicity? Surely the American population as currently constituted is no less diverse than the people our government has labeled “Hispanic”. If we wanted to create an American nationality, how would we go about it?

    That was sort of a Whig goal in the 1840s.  I learned from  Ron Formisano’s 1970 book on the formation of mass political parties in Michigan (which I have not finished reading) that in the late Jacksonian days in Michigan, the Democrats were playing identity politics, appealing to the Irish as Irish, the French as French, and the Germans as Germans.   The Democrats were good about using government funds to influence a few key community organizers who could influence others of their ethnicity or religion. The Whigs were against this kind of identity politics, preferring a national identity. When they realized the practical need to go after Irish votes, etc., it was an “outreach” project. Their hearts weren’t in it. The repulsive term “outreach” wasn’t used then, but the Whigs were just as ham-handed about it as modern Republicans are when they try to get Hispanic or African-American votes.

    The Whigs had rather limited success in those days, especially in putting their own in the White House and keeping them there.

    • #9
  10. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov
    @Oblomov

    Wow, @thereticulator, I did not know that and it’s really interesting. Amazing how these patterns persist over long periods of time. It’s actually kind of encouraging. It tells you that at some deep level we are still the same country we’ve always been.

    • #10
  11. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Thought provoking.

    Recently saw an independent film named ‘I Am. How Jack Became Black’. It was a father’s tale of trying to get his multi-racial children enrolled in a L.A. public school but they would not allow him to select their true demographic on the application. The children must be labeled either Caucasian, African American, Hispanic etc. The father said they fit several races and the entire movie was about him fighting the system to prevent LAUSD to use his children as pawns in their money making demographic scheme.

    When the government monetizes something, groups will abuse it. Thus society is now more focused on race than ever before.

    • #11
  12. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov
    @Oblomov

    Thanks Dave. That film is going in my queue.

    • #12
  13. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    @oblomov, brilliant post as always.

    our govt can’t make up its mind between “tell us your tribe so we know if we have to hand out bennies” and “we are color-blind, we don’t even SEE ethnic characteristics”.

    The township for which our office was solicitor was asked to fill out a form for the EEOC , detailing the exact ethnic origins of township employees.  The manager didn’t know this info. (And BTW, isn’t that the goal?) .  She asked  us to determine whether she could ask the employees,  so she could complete the form.  So we contacted the agency.

    The EEOC  would not take a position one way or the other on this.  It was like: we need this info from you, you must get it, but we can’t guarantee you won’t find yourself liable if you try to inquire to obtain that information .

     

    • #13
  14. civil westman Inactive
    civil westman
    @user_646399

    Thank you for this thoughtful analysis. The fact that our so-called “mainstream” media is playing this tune – right off the Alinsky sheet music, sforzando – is downright oppressive. It feels like we have entered the “Twilight Zone” or an alternative universe. They have obviously decided that it suits their ideological goals. Given, as you point out, that there remains little that unites us, I am forced to conclude that leftist ideology now demands complete destruction of what once was the United States. We are on notice that reconciliation is impossible, that ‘whiteness’ is, by leftist rubric original sin and that one even attempts to communicate with a member of any “oppressed group’ at one’s peril. To stand up and speak in favor of an item in the Bill of Rights is to invite a beating, or worse, at the hands of a mob while a police audience stands by watching.

    This is a prescription for repetition of the Genesis story of the Tower of Babel; tribalism writ large in the former ‘melting pot’ (even this term is now politically incorrect). I find myself thinking that the only way many (a majority?) of us can fight back is to quietly re-elect Donald Trump. Sad to say, that is the only effective thing I can think of as an alternative to holding up a middle finger or shouting obscenities. When reasoned argument is no longer allowed by one side in society and politics, i.e. when communication is impossible, it seems likely that violence will ensue. Freedom of speech, after all, is like the safety release valve on a pressure cooker.

    • #14
  15. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov
    @Oblomov

    civil westman (View Comment):
    Thank you for this thoughtful analysis. The fact that our so-called “mainstream” media is playing this tune – right off the Alinsky sheet music, sforzando – is downright oppressive. It feels like we have entered the “Twilight Zone” or an alternative universe. They have obviously decided that it suits their ideological goals. Given, as you point out, that there remains little that unites us, I am forced to conclude that leftist ideology now demands complete destruction of what once was the United States. We are on notice that reconciliation is impossible, that ‘whiteness’ is, by leftist rubric original sin and that one even attempts to communicate with a member of any “oppressed group’ at one’s peril. To stand up and speak in favor of an item in the Bill of Rights is to invite a beating, or worse, at the hands of a mob while a police audience stands by watching.

    This is a prescription for repetition of the Genesis story of the Tower of Babel; tribalism writ large in the former ‘melting pot’ (even this term is now politically incorrect). I find myself thinking that the only way many (a majority?) of us can fight back is to quietly re-elect Donald Trump. Sad to say, that is the only effective thing I can think of as an alternative to holding up a middle finger or shouting obscenities. When reasoned argument is no longer allowed by one side in society and politics, i.e. when communication is impossible, it seems likely that violence will ensue. Freedom of speech, after all, is like the safety release valve on a pressure cooker.

    Yup. Very well put. Don’t know what else to say.

    • #15
  16. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    This is a recipe for problems. The dirty little secret of social science is that serious academic research in management science, economics, and other areas suggests fairly unambiguously that ethnic diversity imposes substantial social costs in many if not most settings, from reduced firm productivity to loss of social capital, to reduction in effective government and the willingness of taxpayers to fund public goods.

    Oblomov, by any chance could you provide citations (even if the URLs point only to abstracts not full articles etc.)?

    Not being a nudnik — rather, I’m looking for ammo:  Lately, I’m seeing a barrage of posts/articles/etc. on LinkedIn asserting “Diversity & Inclusion = Massive ROI” and supposedly undergirded by reputable research — I can’t help but think that the empirical case is considerably overstated or worse.

    Many thanks in advance for whatever you (and others on this thread) might be able to share!

     

     

    • #16
  17. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I Walton (View Comment):
    but they accepted the basic ideas in the declaration and constitution and that made all the difference to the country and to their relationships and they came together culturally and politically on that basis

    This is the key in a nutshell. Look at it. There’s not much there. At least, not much that inhibits cultural diversity once one has signed up for the constitutional basics. The federal government monstrosity is the source and the cause of the disfunction and the removal of all the unnecessary busybody work of that bureaucracy is the cure. That will make America great again. It is true that we were on the correct trajectory in the fifties and sixties with MLK, but LBJ took us off in the wrong direction and we have not recovered.

    • #17
  18. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov
    @Oblomov

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    This is a recipe for problems. The dirty little secret of social science is that serious academic research in management science, economics, and other areas suggests fairly unambiguously that ethnic diversity imposes substantial social costs in many if not most settings, from reduced firm productivity to loss of social capital, to reduction in effective government and the willingness of taxpayers to fund public goods.

    Oblomov, by any chance could you provide citations (even if the URLs point only to abstracts not full articles etc.)?

    Not being a nudnik — rather, I’m looking for ammo: Lately, I’m seeing a barrage of posts/articles/etc. on LinkedIn asserting “Diversity & Inclusion = Massive ROI” and supposedly undergirded by reputable research — I can’t help but think that the empirical case is considerably overstated or worse.

    Many thanks in advance for whatever you (and others on this thread) might be able to share!

    Danny,

    There are some useful links and cites here: http://economicsdetective.com/2016/07/costs-ethnic-diversity-garett-jones/

    There is also this Robert Putnam paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x/abstract

    I think you can find the full text of it online.

    There is also Putnam’s Bowling Alone book.

    • #18
  19. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Oblomov (View Comment):

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    This is a recipe for problems. The dirty little secret of social science is that serious academic research in management science, economics, and other areas suggests fairly unambiguously that ethnic diversity imposes substantial social costs in many if not most settings, from reduced firm productivity to loss of social capital, to reduction in effective government and the willingness of taxpayers to fund public goods.

    Oblomov, by any chance could you provide citations (even if the URLs point only to abstracts not full articles etc.)?

    Not being a nudnik — rather, I’m looking for ammo: Lately, I’m seeing a barrage of posts/articles/etc. on LinkedIn asserting “Diversity & Inclusion = Massive ROI” and supposedly undergirded by reputable research — I can’t help but think that the empirical case is considerably overstated or worse.

    Many thanks in advance for whatever you (and others on this thread) might be able to share!

    Danny,

    There are some useful links and cites here: http://economicsdetective.com/2016/07/costs-ethnic-diversity-garett-jones/

    There is also this Robert Putnam paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x/abstract

    I think you can find the full text of it online.

    There is also Putnam’s Bowling Alone book.

    I looked at the first link. One thing that strikes me,  that I didn’t see any mention of, unless I just missed it, is there any account taken of the negative effects of programs like ‘affirmative action’ in the sense that we are not getting what we think we are getting in the diversity pools being studied?

    • #19
  20. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    Oblomov, thanks for taking the time and trouble.

    I’ll have to fight back some personal bias in order to see if I can profit from reading Bob Putnam.

    His daughter was in both my high school graduating class and my undergrad graduating class — highly intelligent but also a pompous jackass.

    Into the bargain, my mom was the residential real estate broker who sold Prof. and Mrs. Putnam’s house in my hometown when they decided to “downsize” a few years back — apparently the proverbial tree(s) have considerable propinquity to the proverbial apple on the ground.

    • #20

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