Oct 9, 2006

Study: Diversity erodes trust

The core message of the research was that, “in the presence of diversity, we hunker down”, [study author Robert Putnam] 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”.
Putnam recommends that societies undergo "social reconstruction" in order to better cope with diversity. But isn't forcing majorities to cope with the whims, desires and customs of minorities also a source of friction?

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