It is definitely more advantageous to be a diverse society than a homogenous one. Discuss.

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It is the first century, and globalization is, or rather has been for a few years now, all the rage. Cultures are being dissipated all over the world, encouraged by the advancements in technology that would have left our ancestors absolutely lost in amazement. People are travelling worldwide thanks to the ease and affordability of transportation, going to places previously unexplored and settling down in countries they would never have dreamt of. It is in this context then, that I would assert that a diverse society, being a product of the above-mentioned trends would be more advantageous than a homogeneous one. This so-called advantage might be understood in terms of the benefits, socially, economically and politically, that it confers upon the society itself, allowing it to eventually better weather the forces of globalization today and make itself continually poised to tackle the future of uncertainty.

The diverse society might firstly be interpreted as one which, through welcoming the inflow of foreigners from all over the world, has become a place in which both the native citizens of the country and the people hailing from countries abroad work and live together on common land. In such a case, the diverse society might be said to be more advantageous than one which has remained close to outsiders in that it is able to benefit from the different set of skills that these very foreigners bring with them. A clear example of this would be Singapore, which, through incentives from the government, finds itself to be a very attractive place to foreigners. People come not only to impart their specialized skills, such as research in the biomedical industry, but also to add weight to our work force and help take on jobs that most Singaporeans might spurn. Examples are Bangladeshi workers in the construction industry and the Chinese waiting on tables at hawker centres. In this instance, a diverse society, consisting of people who bring with them their wealth of knowledge as well as people willing to undertake otherwise unpopular tasks, would be more economically vibrant and viable than a homogeneous one.

In addition, a diverse society might be seen to be one in which minority groups are accepted and treated with respect, facing little or no discrimination and being allowed to live their lives as freely as the “majority”. In such a society, homosexuals, the disabled, and even the poor, who might not count strictly as the minority but would nevertheless often be marginalized, would be able to find their wants and needs being recognized and even met. Such a society would also find itself being the melting pot of people with varying religious beliefs, such as Buddhism, Christianity or Islam. In this case, a diverse society would be more advantageous than a homogeneous one, in that this accommodation of people of different beliefs, cultures and lifestyles, would allow for the growth of a tolerant and open populace, one that is mature enough to accept differences and live and unselfishly, in harmony with possibly radically different people.

Politically, a diverse society might be interpreted as one where alternative political views are allowed to be expressed, where people of conflicting political beliefs are allowed and even encouraged to engage with each other, where the word of the government is not simply tacitly accepted but instead challenged and argued against. In the United States for example, political parties abound and the variety of political beliefs and values can be seen in the recent presidential elections in which candidates such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain all appealed to different crowds due to the differences in their political assertions. A diverse society, in which there is constant dialogue and engagement with various political views, is thus more advantageous than a homogeneous one in which only one view is espoused and alternatives are not entertained; in such a society, the incumbent is always being questioned, forced to always be on his feet.

Yet, in some instances, diverse societies might be seen to be in fact less advantageous than homogeneous ones. One instance when this might be true would be where the very diversity of the society, in terms of cultures and beliefs, leads instead to the tearing of the social fabric holding society together, resulting in social problems and discrimination. In Indonesia, for example, the presence of different cultures of even the natives themselves has led to unhappiness for example on the part of the Acehnese, who, despite government efforts to increase their wealth and living conditions, constantly see themselves as being separate from the rest of Indonesia and, in fact, even seek to be a separate state. In Singapore too, the very welcoming of foreigners has led to much unhappiness among the locals who view these outsiders as competitors for jobs as well as university places. These thus show that to some extent, a diverse society in terms of people with different cultures and lifestyles might not be more advantageous than a homogeneous one.

Moreover, a diverse society in which alternative political views are encouraged and tolerated might experience political instability, with the government in power unable to garner enough support and respect of the people to be able to be effective in policy-making. This would lead to the inability of the society to progress, as alternative views and opposition voices constantly object to the government and prevent the improvement of people’s lives. However, despite these instances in which a diverse society might be less advantageous than a homogeneous one, I would still maintain that in general, the variety and openness accorded to a diverse society is more beneficial to the society itself, than homogeneity would be. This is so as the above mentioned disadvantages of a diverse society are not the norm, and in the light of today’s globalised and fast-changing world, the diverse society would undoubtedly be better able to position itself to accommodate these changes and to suitable adapt itself to the future.

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