Cultural Diversity and Globalization Essay

Racial and cultural diversity means that there are, according to Professor So, different ways of life, languages, political values and religions existing in a society. (Professor So, HKUST lecture, 1 November 2012) To determine whether cultural and diversity is essential to the advancement of a globalized society, which is a society that trades, exchanges, or is interconnected with other societies around the globe, the effects of diversity on the economic development and the living standard of the people should be considered. Because of variations such as traditions, ways of life, systems, values, etc. n a society, the effect that the diversity can bring to a society also varies. As there are more grounds indicating adverse effects of the diversity on a society, it is regarded as not essential to the advancement of a society to a greater extent. To start with, let’s consider the case of the United Kingdom. On 5 February 2011, New York Times reported that Prime Minister of the United Kingdom said the country’s decades-old policy of “multiculturalism” has failed in Britain. It has contrarily encouraged “segregated communities” which fosters extremist ideology and directly contributes to homegrown Islamic terrorism.

This demonstrates that multiculturalism and multiracialism does not work for every society and may possibly create divided groups that will, in serious cases, cause social instability. Even if there are successful historical examples like the great and idealistic Melting Pot in the United States, there are still societies and places where the policy of multiculturalism is not applicable. There are actually societies where the diversity brings about the separation of people into groups of different cultures and races, as they share no common beliefs or values, leading to instability in a society eventually. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which the people feel they want to belong”, said the Prime Minister. This implies instead of providing an environment for the people where they can learn to accept and accommodate with each other’s differences, and expecting people to learn to live with multifarious customs and traditions, gain insights and learn more about things that may not have been in their lives before, people might feel that they are not a part of a society and be worse-off with such “segregated communities”.

In these particular societies, the creation of division among individuals, resulting in discrimination of certain groups, is likely to happen, rather than making them more united under the policy of multiculturalism. Failure to promote a sense of common identity for the people is also then plausible and hence affects people’s sense of belonging to the society. When the diversity makes people worse off, it is ascertain that it is not essential for a society. It should be noted that the case for Britain is not a one-off incident, as there are also similar thesis in Germany, Australia and Canada.

Thus, it can be seen among the manifold places in the world, there are indeed societies where cultural and racial diversity is not a precondition for their advancement. Next, racial and cultural diversity can bring detrimental effects such as the increment of corruption and reduction in institutional quality to a society, which affects both the economic and political development. The major explanation for the effects is that members of the same cultural and ethnic group tend to exhibit ethnocentric behavior by favoring their group members over non-members. Van Den Berghe, The Ethnic Phenomenon, 1987) For example, in a society with a number of ethnic groups, people tend to support politicians with the same ethnicity as them, even if the people know they are corrupt by allocating more of the resources to groups of their own ethnicity. Yet, multiculturalism and multiracialism concurrently, helps a society economically in a sense that it brings along with a variety of skills that in turn enables the production of heterogeneous goods and services. Distinctive ideas and innovations also favor companies to develop.

Under this situation, the essentiality of the diversity should be determined by examining which one, the good or the bad, has a greater effect on the growth of a society. In other words, when growth is restrained when there is an increase in level of diversity in a particular society, it can be determined that it is not that requisite. Take China as an example. Using different indexes and models to estimate the real provincial per capita GDP growth rates and measure the diversity in several Chinese provinces, Dincer and Wang came to a conclusion that the growth rate in China is reduced between 2 to 2. percentage points, depending on which ethnic diversity index they used, when going from complete ethnic homogeneity to complete heterogeneity. (Oguzhan Dincer, Fan Wang, Ethnic diversity and economic growth in China, 12 Dec 2011) Dincer and Wang compared Inner Mongolia and Qinghai, where both provinces were located in inland China and shared similar economic characteristics, so as to eliminate the odds in results caused by other factors like economic status, geographical location, etc. They found out that in Qinghai where there is greater degree of cultural diversity, economic growth is lower and vice versa in the Inner Mongolia.

The negative relationship between the diversity and economic growth implies that the existence of multiculturalism and multiracialism does not necessarily contribute to the advancement of a society, and is probable to obstruct progression. To sum up, it is possible for people to feel worse off of living in the society by failing to promote a common identity among the people and affect their sense of belonging, and may even lead to instability because of racial and cultural diversity as experienced in places like Britain, Germany, Canada, etc. rather than experiencing the Melting Pot in the United States. Besides, detrimental effects such as increment of corruption and reduction in institutional quality to a society, which affects both the economic and political development, may be brought about as well. Examples of different societies mentioned that seem to be worse off with existence proves that racial and cultural diversity is not essential for the advancement of every globalized society.


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