Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, recently completed a five year study on the effects of immigration, ethnic diversity, and multiculturalism and was shocked by his own results— so shocked he fears releasing the findings which could have a big impact on the immigration debate currently raging.
According to the results of Putnam’s research, immigration and ethnic diversity have a markedly negative short and medium term effect on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. According to Putnam, not only does immigration and ethnic diversity reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. According to Putnam: "In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to â€˜hunker down’â€”that is, to pull in like a turtle."
Putnam is so disturbed by his findings that he told The Financial Times in October of 2006 "he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity.” He said it “would have been irresponsible to publish without that.” Putnam has also not made details of his study available for examination by peers and the public, with only an initial summary of his findings published.
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