Diversity and its downside

In a Newsnight interview, the Economist Paul Collier sketched out his concerns over diversity and its political implicationsThe Human Development Context: Paul Collier

The BBC Newsnight interview [by Kirsty Wark, Dec 11th 2014] was partly framed by the increased importance being attached to the question of immigration control in the build-up to the General Election next May.

The distinguished economist Sir Paul Collier was introduced as a ‘liberal leaning’ figure who nevertheless had ‘expressed concerns about immigration’ in his work, including his analysis to be found in his recent book Exodus

Unsurprisingly, Sir Paul gently evaded attempts to simplify his ideas into an ‘immigration good or bad’ discussion. He suggested that the economic consequences of immigration were less significant than might be believed from the current narrative. His own concerns were that the consequences could result in a deterioration of socially cohesive factors of generosity, trust, and willingness to collaborate.

Loss of generosity
Loss of trust
Loss of collaboration

Wark suggested that her interviewee had been reported as relying too much on anecdote rather than evidence. Collier pointed out that the use of anecdote in his work was to illustrate the technical evidence, not replace it.

I found the interview a serious contribution to a debate on immigration that has increasingly demonstrated a preference for the glibness of absolute beliefs and evocative anecdotes. The issue is not so much whether immigration is good or bad, but how leadership and citizenship deals tolerance, trust and a willingness to seek collaborative over confrontational actions.

2 Responses to Diversity and its downside

  1. Edward Spalton says:

    You don’t need to be a believer in a racial, biological Volk to realise that the import of millions of alien people, whose cultures are very different and whose first loyalty is not to this country, is bad news for political and social stability. Whenever push comes to shove, it will be impossible to persuade a country of “communities” which have been encouraged to feel separate and distinct (and, with the incomers in practice given legal superiority over the natives) that “we are all in this together”. People are more than internationally mobile units of production and consumption.

    To give an insight into the self-hating nature of the ruling class, you should look at the Runnymede Trust’s report for the Blair government on British identity. They decided that the terms “British” and “English” were too laden with racism for use in their PC world and even considered the possibility of a completely new name for our country – but made no recommendation in that respect. Big of them, wasn’t it?

  2. I couldn’t follow Edward’s argument about the self-hating nature of the ruling class, so I went back to the original report:


    The report is a thoughtful contribution to the issues facing a multi-ethnic society, and well worth reading today.

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