In European politics a useful distinction is sometimes drawn between the “clean right”, a group which can include pretty flinty conservatives, and the “dirty right”, meaning those who cross the bounds of democratic decency, whether with race-baiting, threats of political violence or snarling challenges to the rule of law …Meanwhile, for those of you here on the dirty right who’ve heard about Robert Putnam’s mammoth study showing that diversity reduces social capital, let The Economist soothe your anxieties. From this week’s letters columns:
Donald Trump, front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, is of the dirty right. [The Big Schmooze by “Lexington”; The Economist, March 5th 2016.]
It is true: diversity undermines trust (Schumpeter, February 13th). But this may be its greatest gift. When ethnically different others are present, people tend to remain cautious, scrutinise information and reach better decisions. Our research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that ethnically diverse markets are significantly less likely to bubble compared with homogenous ones. The results held for North America and South-East Asia, notwithstanding the differences in culture, history and ethnic composition.See? Sure, diversity undermines trust; but that’s a good thing!
In homogenous markets, we reason, trust in other people’s reasonableness can cause erroneous beliefs to spread more readily. Diversity makes you better precisely because it makes you less trusting. [Mix it up by Prof. Sheen Levine, The University of Texas, Dallas; The Economist (Letters to the Editor), March 5th 2016.]