There Goes the Neighborhood!

I know one frequent commenter who may find this interesting.  A conservative website reports that a recent study of American cities by Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam (no right-winger himself) shows that ethnic diversity may have serious drawbacks:

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, is very nervous about releasing his new research, and understandably so. His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.

Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.”

In the 41 sites Putnam studied in the U.S., he found that the more diverse the neighborhood, the less residents trust neighbors. … 

Putnam emphasizes that the long-term effects of immigration are generally positive, when there’s a responsible policy in place. However, he "acknowledges that most empirical studies do not support the ‘contact hypothesis.’ [i.e. that tolerance grows with increased contact with people of different ethnicities].  In general, they find that the more people are brought into contact with those of another race or ethnicity, the more they stick to their own, and the less they trust others."

My two cents on this. To me, Putnam’s research (assuming it’s being accurately portrayed by John Leo, a man with a distinct agenda) confirms the need for an anti-discrimination law like the one Germany passed in 2006. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive, so let me explain my reasoning. First, humans have likely been programmed by evolution to prefer associating with people who share their ethnicity, a point E.O. Wilson made nearly 30 years ago. Yet, the growing interdependence of nations and increased mobility mean that we’re coming in ever more frequent contact with people different from us. Germany’s already got a lot of immigrants, they’re here to stay, and Germany probably needs more of them. What Putnam’s research shows (not that it’s all that surprising) is that this influx of immigrants will cause strains.

To preserve as much social harmony as possible, a two-way compromise needs to be maintained. First, the immigrants need to adapt, to some reasonable degree, to life in Germany. Second, and as a conscious bargained exchange with the first requirement, Germany needs to make it official policy that, as long as immigrants have made honest efforts to adapt to the extent their abilities permit, access to jobs, housing, and other opportunities will not be restricted based solely on their ethnicity. There’s a difference between an employer who has a policy of "only fluent German speakers need apply" and one who has policy of "no Turks need apply." The latter approach needs to be illegal, attempts to achieve it "through the back door" also need to be illegal.

Yes, punishing people who discriminate on the basis of ethnicity costs money, but it’s money well-spent.  It shows Germany is keeping its part of the two-way bargain and is therefore justified in demanding integration from immigrants. Put another way, no reasonable immigrant will be satisfied with a social compact that says "You will be discriminated against unless you learn to speak reasonable German and make some effort to fit in. However, even if you do all of that, you might well still be discriminated against by certain powerful people just because your last name is Yildiz or because you’re a Muslim. We aren’t going to do anything about that, because of freedom of contract, individual automony, blah blah blah."

16 thoughts on “There Goes the Neighborhood!

  1. “There’s a difference between an employer who has a policy of “only fluent German speakers need apply” and one who has policy of “no Turks need apply.””

    Hmmm, I’m not so sure about that. It depends upon the context of the jobs. “only fluent German speakers need apply” might well be a reasonable criteria for a shop assistant but not for a street-sweeper or a shelv-stocker at a supermarket. Presumably some level of German is needed for most jobs – but full ‘fluency’? One suspects that a considerable number of the native-born could not reach such a standard!

    Like

  2. “There’s a difference between an employer who has a policy of “only fluent German speakers need apply” and one who has policy of “no Turks need apply.””

    Hmmm, I’m not so sure about that. It depends upon the context of the jobs. “only fluent German speakers need apply” might well be a reasonable criteria for a shop assistant but not for a street-sweeper or a shelv-stocker at a supermarket. Presumably some level of German is needed for most jobs – but full ‘fluency’? One suspects that a considerable number of the native-born could not reach such a standard!

    Like

  3. Here’s a theory. Putnam’s a self promoter, ginning pre-publication interest with his a-lack-a-day worries about the consequence of his research (which just must be earth shattering), and suggesting, at the same time, the painstaking integrity of both his data and of his soul.

    War has repeatedly torn the U.S. apart even when it wasn’t a civil war. Nonetheless, in 2001, Putnam saw it as an “opportunity for community”, not to bind together to resist carnage, but to support the war effort, as in the 40s. This, it should be noted, is a subtler use of same analogy between the “the war on terror” and World War II, which, in dunderheaded form, later equated Sadam with Hitler. Here’s some of what the monstrous ass said in 2001:

    “President Bush’s recent call to America’s children and teenagers to wash cars or rake yards to earn money to benefit the children of Afghanistan was well intentioned. But government can do more. It should urge America’s religious congregations to plan interfaith services over Thanksgiving weekend. It should also expand national service programs like AmeriCorps. And just as those Boy Scouts at filling stations learned firsthand the value of civic life, this new period of crisis can make real to us and our children the value of deeper community connections.”

    Que ridiculo! Boy scouts at filing stations! “The Government can do more…”; it should urge prayer over Tom Turkey! Of course, it would be a mistake to harp long on Putnam’s obvious nonsense; the real focus should be on his “deeper community,” for that is leavened thoroughly with nationalism.

    In 2001 Putnam was promoting intervention in Afghanistan, which very few saw for the disaster it has become, but this was a rhetorical tune up. Later, as one of a handful of poli-sci heavies, mostly old new lefties, who signed onto “Pre-emption, Iraq, and Just War: A Statement of Principles,” Putnam helped formulate reasons for attacking Iraq (what a great community opportunity!) all the more mealy for its “balanced” view of the case for thinking that Iraq might be developing weapons of mass destruction.

    If Putnam could not see through Bush’s manipulations, expect the diversity research Putnam is feign to publish to be utterly mealy as well, ignoring or dismissing class, as he does in the 2001 piece quoted above, in which victory gardens are a more important datum than the wave of strikes that hit U.S. industry during WWII. I’m betting, too, he ignores age differentials, particularly the phenomena of young families with, and of, TEENAGERS moving into older, middle class and working class neighborhoods. Of course we’ll have to wait until our sensitive professor publishes his brave research and emerges, oh, so reluctantly, as the anguished sage of the television talk shows.

    Like

  4. Here’s a theory. Putnam’s a self promoter, ginning pre-publication interest with his a-lack-a-day worries about the consequence of his research (which just must be earth shattering), and suggesting, at the same time, the painstaking integrity of both his data and of his soul.

    War has repeatedly torn the U.S. apart even when it wasn’t a civil war. Nonetheless, in 2001, Putnam saw it as an “opportunity for community”, not to bind together to resist carnage, but to support the war effort, as in the 40s. This, it should be noted, is a subtler use of same analogy between the “the war on terror” and World War II, which, in dunderheaded form, later equated Sadam with Hitler. Here’s some of what the monstrous ass said in 2001:

    “President Bush’s recent call to America’s children and teenagers to wash cars or rake yards to earn money to benefit the children of Afghanistan was well intentioned. But government can do more. It should urge America’s religious congregations to plan interfaith services over Thanksgiving weekend. It should also expand national service programs like AmeriCorps. And just as those Boy Scouts at filling stations learned firsthand the value of civic life, this new period of crisis can make real to us and our children the value of deeper community connections.”

    Que ridiculo! Boy scouts at filing stations! “The Government can do more…”; it should urge prayer over Tom Turkey! Of course, it would be a mistake to harp long on Putnam’s obvious nonsense; the real focus should be on his “deeper community,” for that is leavened thoroughly with nationalism.

    In 2001 Putnam was promoting intervention in Afghanistan, which very few saw for the disaster it has become, but this was a rhetorical tune up. Later, as one of a handful of poli-sci heavies, mostly old new lefties, who signed onto “Pre-emption, Iraq, and Just War: A Statement of Principles,” Putnam helped formulate reasons for attacking Iraq (what a great community opportunity!) all the more mealy for its “balanced” view of the case for thinking that Iraq might be developing weapons of mass destruction.

    If Putnam could not see through Bush’s manipulations, expect the diversity research Putnam is feign to publish to be utterly mealy as well, ignoring or dismissing class, as he does in the 2001 piece quoted above, in which victory gardens are a more important datum than the wave of strikes that hit U.S. industry during WWII. I’m betting, too, he ignores age differentials, particularly the phenomena of young families with, and of, TEENAGERS moving into older, middle class and working class neighborhoods. Of course we’ll have to wait until our sensitive professor publishes his brave research and emerges, oh, so reluctantly, as the anguished sage of the television talk shows.

    Like

  5. The diatribe against Putnam (not that he isn’t a quivering sod who merits bilious ripostes) I drafted earlier should be ignored, as, no doubt, it is.

    The interesting question Putnam’s work raises, as Andrew devines,is whether diversity is a common good, and it if it is not, but rather hamstrings the pursuit of them, affirmative action in hiring and education should be implemented.

    Affirmative action, as American law professor Mark Rothstein has pointed out, is needed in the U.S., but it is also an admission that the social contract promissed to African Americans by post-civil war reconstruction is broken. European countries should take action to obviate the need for affirmative action.

    Affirmative action is not a common good, obviously enough, as it is specifically designed to deliver benefits to part of society with a nebulous payoff for the rest, i.e., the ineffable joy of diversity. An underlying justification for AA is that it’s needed to help minorities compete, which underscores the fact that AA is not a common good, but instead is potentially and perhaps inherently divisive. (This explains its attraction to Sarkozy and the rightists in France.) Renewed commitment to full employment, social benefits and the panoply of civil rights for all born or naturalized in the European Unition is the surest way to avoid replicating the American scene.

    Like

  6. The diatribe against Putnam (not that he isn’t a quivering sod who merits bilious ripostes) I drafted earlier should be ignored, as, no doubt, it is.

    The interesting question Putnam’s work raises, as Andrew devines,is whether diversity is a common good, and it if it is not, but rather hamstrings the pursuit of them, affirmative action in hiring and education should be implemented.

    Affirmative action, as American law professor Mark Rothstein has pointed out, is needed in the U.S., but it is also an admission that the social contract promissed to African Americans by post-civil war reconstruction is broken. European countries should take action to obviate the need for affirmative action.

    Affirmative action is not a common good, obviously enough, as it is specifically designed to deliver benefits to part of society with a nebulous payoff for the rest, i.e., the ineffable joy of diversity. An underlying justification for AA is that it’s needed to help minorities compete, which underscores the fact that AA is not a common good, but instead is potentially and perhaps inherently divisive. (This explains its attraction to Sarkozy and the rightists in France.) Renewed commitment to full employment, social benefits and the panoply of civil rights for all born or naturalized in the European Unition is the surest way to avoid replicating the American scene.

    Like

  7. > First, the immigrants need to adapt, to some reasonable degree, to life in Germany

    Which those who come from non-Muslim countries do, to some reasonable degree, while the others do to a, ugh, much lesser degree.

    > “no Turks need apply.”

    Pardon me, you will never see an add worded like that, as present legislation doesn’t allow for it. As for closing backdoors, it’s obvious that they should be closed, while the dilemma of how to enforce that without restricting civil liberties overly will remain.

    > Yes, punishing people who discriminate on the basis of ethnicity costs money, but it’s money well-spent.
    > you might well still be discriminated against by certain powerful people
    > …
    > just because your last name is Yildiz or because you’re a Muslim

    Conveniently conflating ethnicity and religion again, are we? In German public schools, Scientologist aren’t allowed as teachers, and hardly anyone complains (over here). Where’s the trouble with discrimination based on religion? Should we allow a Hindu community to preach and practice Hinduism’s central element, the caste system, which brought death and slavery to hundreds of millions over three thousand years – and keeps on doing so, despite Gandhi’s reforms and ensuing legislation? Just to make a case – some Hindus are enlightened, I have no beef with them. The same goes for Alevis – but certainly not for Salafi Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Milli Görüs, who do run schools or provide teaching over here.

    > We aren’t going to do anything about that, because of freedom of contract,
    > individual automony, blah blah blah.”

    Could you be bothered to cite only one relevant voice of public discourse to use these arguments to advocate ethnic discrimination over here? NPD, BNP, or Le Pen won’t cut it, as they do advocate racism, but never on libertarian arguments.

    Yes, I do resent this straw man, whipped up to smear “one frequent commenter” as racist. I wonder if I shouldn’t have called you blogwart some time ago, as some frequent bloggers have their own underhanded little ways of reacting. Just for the record: I just couldn’t resist to crack one of the few jokes I come up with, no offense intended – you didn’t give me reason to insult you as Nazi. Anyway: I’m quite talkative and I did care for quite a paper trail. Given that the body of evidence I amassed should make it easy to unmask me, I’d rather have you doing that openly, as I could expect you to support the accusation, then. However, that wouldn’t be lighthearted blogging, and chances are that we wouldn’t find anything. But ve haff our vays to get by.

    A carefree stand on Muslim immigration seems to become a veritable status symbol among the illuminati: it gives the peers the distinct signal that social standing and income will insulate you reliably from the, ugh, social stress it entails, and it tells them that you are confident of being able to shield your children and grandchildren from theirs. Let them eat cake.

    I link to it again, Springer Presse, warts and all, as it enshrines what you energetically chose to ignore:

    Eigentlich ziehen wir jeden Morgen in den Krieg: Messer, Totschläger, Stahlruten – eine Berliner Hauptschullehrerin über die tägliche Gewalt im Unterricht.

    This is Holtzbrinck Presse, your average liberal quality rag: Tatort Schulweg.

    You’d rather move to the North Pole that having your brats subjected to that. You won’t even expose your offspring to that neighbourhood. I wonder who these segregation prone “certain powerful people” mentioned above are. Funny wording, by the way. OK, that was below the belt. But earnestly: there’s no conspiracy going on – it’s the well-off, who needed cheap labour once–and that was a good idea, all profited–, and who don’t want to deal with the mess now, as it is so embarrassing.

    btw: someone once suggested that I either get a life or a liveblog – I took to wordpress, ok? Alas, it seems that GJ still gets the best of me.

    Like

  8. > First, the immigrants need to adapt, to some reasonable degree, to life in Germany

    Which those who come from non-Muslim countries do, to some reasonable degree, while the others do to a, ugh, much lesser degree.

    > “no Turks need apply.”

    Pardon me, you will never see an add worded like that, as present legislation doesn’t allow for it. As for closing backdoors, it’s obvious that they should be closed, while the dilemma of how to enforce that without restricting civil liberties overly will remain.

    > Yes, punishing people who discriminate on the basis of ethnicity costs money, but it’s money well-spent.
    > you might well still be discriminated against by certain powerful people
    > …
    > just because your last name is Yildiz or because you’re a Muslim

    Conveniently conflating ethnicity and religion again, are we? In German public schools, Scientologist aren’t allowed as teachers, and hardly anyone complains (over here). Where’s the trouble with discrimination based on religion? Should we allow a Hindu community to preach and practice Hinduism’s central element, the caste system, which brought death and slavery to hundreds of millions over three thousand years – and keeps on doing so, despite Gandhi’s reforms and ensuing legislation? Just to make a case – some Hindus are enlightened, I have no beef with them. The same goes for Alevis – but certainly not for Salafi Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Milli Görüs, who do run schools or provide teaching over here.

    > We aren’t going to do anything about that, because of freedom of contract,
    > individual automony, blah blah blah.”

    Could you be bothered to cite only one relevant voice of public discourse to use these arguments to advocate ethnic discrimination over here? NPD, BNP, or Le Pen won’t cut it, as they do advocate racism, but never on libertarian arguments.

    Yes, I do resent this straw man, whipped up to smear “one frequent commenter” as racist. I wonder if I shouldn’t have called you blogwart some time ago, as some frequent bloggers have their own underhanded little ways of reacting. Just for the record: I just couldn’t resist to crack one of the few jokes I come up with, no offense intended – you didn’t give me reason to insult you as Nazi. Anyway: I’m quite talkative and I did care for quite a paper trail. Given that the body of evidence I amassed should make it easy to unmask me, I’d rather have you doing that openly, as I could expect you to support the accusation, then. However, that wouldn’t be lighthearted blogging, and chances are that we wouldn’t find anything. But ve haff our vays to get by.

    A carefree stand on Muslim immigration seems to become a veritable status symbol among the illuminati: it gives the peers the distinct signal that social standing and income will insulate you reliably from the, ugh, social stress it entails, and it tells them that you are confident of being able to shield your children and grandchildren from theirs. Let them eat cake.

    I link to it again, Springer Presse, warts and all, as it enshrines what you energetically chose to ignore:

    Eigentlich ziehen wir jeden Morgen in den Krieg: Messer, Totschläger, Stahlruten – eine Berliner Hauptschullehrerin über die tägliche Gewalt im Unterricht.

    This is Holtzbrinck Presse, your average liberal quality rag: Tatort Schulweg.

    You’d rather move to the North Pole that having your brats subjected to that. You won’t even expose your offspring to that neighbourhood. I wonder who these segregation prone “certain powerful people” mentioned above are. Funny wording, by the way. OK, that was below the belt. But earnestly: there’s no conspiracy going on – it’s the well-off, who needed cheap labour once–and that was a good idea, all profited–, and who don’t want to deal with the mess now, as it is so embarrassing.

    btw: someone once suggested that I either get a life or a liveblog – I took to wordpress, ok? Alas, it seems that GJ still gets the best of me.

    Like

  9. > Germany’s already got a lot of immigrants, they’re here to stay, and Germany probably needs more of them

    Germany most certainly needs more of them, and sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn tells why in excruciating detail – though his prose leaves much to be desired. Berlin Morgenpost, however, tells how even best laid plans do fail: Sie lehnen unsere Werte ab, Regina Köhler, morgenpost.de, 2008/03/27 – “Der Film ‘Die Deutschstunde” zeigt den Alltag eines Kreuzberger Gymnasiums und das Scheitern der Integration’.” (They Reject Our Values, “The movie ‘The German Lessons’ shows everyday life in a Kreuzberg high school and the failure of integration.”)

    A teacher sums up: a third of the pupils accept the basics of German culture, another third is indifferent, while the rest opposes it vehemently. Needless to say, 94% of the student body is of immigrant descent, which in Berlin-Kreuzberg means predominantly from Muslim countries – a fact succinctly illustrated by young students supporting Islamist suicide attacks. Mind you, this is a high school, not a Hauptschule.

    > Germany needs to make it official policy that, as long as immigrants
    > have made honest efforts to adapt to the extent their abilities permit

    No, it needs to ensure that only those immigrants who are able to adapt are being accepted, lest we face the hate of those, whose abilities doen’t permit adaptation. Hate, he says? Yes. Let’s have successful integrée extraordinaire Neco Çelik on this.

    Like

  10. > Germany’s already got a lot of immigrants, they’re here to stay, and Germany probably needs more of them

    Germany most certainly needs more of them, and sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn tells why in excruciating detail – though his prose leaves much to be desired. Berlin Morgenpost, however, tells how even best laid plans do fail: Sie lehnen unsere Werte ab, Regina Köhler, morgenpost.de, 2008/03/27 – “Der Film ‘Die Deutschstunde” zeigt den Alltag eines Kreuzberger Gymnasiums und das Scheitern der Integration’.” (They Reject Our Values, “The movie ‘The German Lessons’ shows everyday life in a Kreuzberg high school and the failure of integration.”)

    A teacher sums up: a third of the pupils accept the basics of German culture, another third is indifferent, while the rest opposes it vehemently. Needless to say, 94% of the student body is of immigrant descent, which in Berlin-Kreuzberg means predominantly from Muslim countries – a fact succinctly illustrated by young students supporting Islamist suicide attacks. Mind you, this is a high school, not a Hauptschule.

    > Germany needs to make it official policy that, as long as immigrants
    > have made honest efforts to adapt to the extent their abilities permit

    No, it needs to ensure that only those immigrants who are able to adapt are being accepted, lest we face the hate of those, whose abilities doen’t permit adaptation. Hate, he says? Yes. Let’s have successful integrée extraordinaire Neco Çelik on this.

    Like

  11. > no reasonable immigrant will be satisfied with a social compact that says
    > “You will be discriminated against unless you learn to speak reasonable German and make some effort to fit in.
    > However, even if you do all of that, you might well still be discriminated against by certain powerful people just
    > because your last name is Yildiz or because you’re a Muslim. We aren’t going to do anything about that, because of
    > freedom of contract, individual automony, blah blah blah.”

    We don’t know much about reasonable immigrants at this point, but we do know something about Cologne municipality: certain powerful people decided to discriminate against those who …learned to speak reasonable German.

    Köln- Stadtverwaltung: Wer schlecht Deutsch kann, bekommt einen Bonus – Die Stadt Köln stellt Eignungstests für angehende Beamte um: Bewerber, die schlechter Deutsch sprechen, bekommen Bonuspunkte.

    > …freedom of contract, individual automony, blah blah blah

    Indeed, the powerful people found out how to handle freedom of contract in creative ways:

    Nun könnten sich ja die deutschsprachigen Bewerber benachteiligt fühlen. Die Verwaltung argumentiert: “Paragraf 8 des Allgemeinen Gleichbehandlungsgesetzes räumt ausdrücklich die Möglichkeit zur unterschiedlichen Behandlung ein.”

    Express is not a classy source, but it should do the trick, Cologne Stadtanzeiger and Rundschau will follow suit. Again, EU justice commissioner Frattini reminds us of the facts: each year 85% of worldwide unskilled migrant labour is for us, while 5% roots for the USA – German administration is learning to cope. We programmers have a technical term for this: graceful degradation. It works well for code – notoriously outspoken sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn explained why it won’t with humans. Yes, back in 2005 he got to do that in Die Zeit – there had been a time when vigorous debate wasn’t left to funny heads of art sections.

    Like

  12. > no reasonable immigrant will be satisfied with a social compact that says
    > “You will be discriminated against unless you learn to speak reasonable German and make some effort to fit in.
    > However, even if you do all of that, you might well still be discriminated against by certain powerful people just
    > because your last name is Yildiz or because you’re a Muslim. We aren’t going to do anything about that, because of
    > freedom of contract, individual automony, blah blah blah.”

    We don’t know much about reasonable immigrants at this point, but we do know something about Cologne municipality: certain powerful people decided to discriminate against those who …learned to speak reasonable German.

    Köln- Stadtverwaltung: Wer schlecht Deutsch kann, bekommt einen Bonus – Die Stadt Köln stellt Eignungstests für angehende Beamte um: Bewerber, die schlechter Deutsch sprechen, bekommen Bonuspunkte.

    > …freedom of contract, individual automony, blah blah blah

    Indeed, the powerful people found out how to handle freedom of contract in creative ways:

    Nun könnten sich ja die deutschsprachigen Bewerber benachteiligt fühlen. Die Verwaltung argumentiert: “Paragraf 8 des Allgemeinen Gleichbehandlungsgesetzes räumt ausdrücklich die Möglichkeit zur unterschiedlichen Behandlung ein.”

    Express is not a classy source, but it should do the trick, Cologne Stadtanzeiger and Rundschau will follow suit. Again, EU justice commissioner Frattini reminds us of the facts: each year 85% of worldwide unskilled migrant labour is for us, while 5% roots for the USA – German administration is learning to cope. We programmers have a technical term for this: graceful degradation. It works well for code – notoriously outspoken sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn explained why it won’t with humans. Yes, back in 2005 he got to do that in Die Zeit – there had been a time when vigorous debate wasn’t left to funny heads of art sections.

    Like

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