Monday, July 8, 2019

Social Diversity as a Parallel to Genetic Diversity

Most of us know that if we get a mix breed cat or dog they can be healthier than purebred animals.  The reason is that when genes from different heritage lines mix, stronger and more resilient genes become dominant.  When there is too much inbreeding the outcome tends to be weaker as defects become emphasized.

Interestingly, a society or workplace that promotes diversity tends to result in stronger and more creative ideas.  That is precisely because ideas coming from different cultural experiences can enhance each other.  This metaphor, to me is important as we strive to make our organizations increasingly stronger and better suited to cope with a complex environment.

When ideas intermix and get debated stronger results happen. Not surprisingly the United States is a great example of how diversity results in a stronger society.  A nation of immigrants without precedent has become the most powerful and creative society the world has seen.  Efforts to contain diversity are likely to be ill informed as diversity has been the engine that promotes prosperity and innovation.

It is understandable that certain groups would like to remain isolated and intact from outside influence.  After all, we all have the primitive tendency to try to stick with others who are like ourselves.  Unfortunately that effort is unlikely to do good for society as it perpetuates old conservative ideas that tend to restrain thought and innovation.

Clearly, borders have a reason to be.  They protect economic interests and they contain social and cultural identities.  The problem is that borders can be used as a political tool to restrain diversity and promote homogeneity.  That is likely to result in a degraded social system.  Having rational immigration and border protection policies makes sense for sure.  Promoting fear of "immigrants" and others who are different, on the other hand, can be very counterproductive.

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