Wednesday, June 08, 2005

How much do we want cultural diversity?

Would we prefer to have warlike cultures living beside more peaceful neighbors, or peaceful homogeneity?

Would we prefer to have economically exploitive and deceitful cultures in world markets trading with collaborative and honest cultures, or would we prefer more trustworthy homogeneity?

Would we prefer to have highly inequitable cultures with lots of poor living beside more egalitarian cultures with less poverty, or would we prefer not to have to guard borders against the massive immigration of the poor to more favored environments?

Would we prefer to have libertarian cultures weak on immunizations and preventive medicine living beside cultures that valued public health measures, or would we prefer a more disease free world?

Would we prefer to have cultures willing to pollute the air and water living beside cultures who protect the environment, or would we prefer homogeneously clean cultures and a clean environment?

Would we prefer cultures accepting coercive governments living side by side with cultures demanding democracy, or would we prefer cultural homogeneity fostering democratic institutions?

There is a saying that all happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. I suspect that all developed nations are somewhat alike, and that there are a plethora of ways nations find to fail in development.

It may be that trends toward cultural convergence in many dimensions are needed if the peoples of the world are to advance the agenda of social, economic and political development. Cultural diversity is not a value for which I would willingly sacrifice sustainable peace and prosperity.

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