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Diversity and trust

Recent research by the sociologist Robert Putnam may provide tentative backing for David Goodhart's arguments on diversity

By Anthony Giddens   November 2007

Three years ago, the editor of Prospect, David Goodhart, published an article arguing that the increasing diversity, individualism and mobility found in present-day societies may pose a threat to the welfare state. Ethnic diversity produced by immigration adds to this mix. Goodhart stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism, even though he was by no means the first to raise the possibility, and indeed he raised it only as a possibility. The welfare state, he pointed out, is based upon sharing; yet sharing might be in conflict with diversity. People feel stronger obligations to others when these others are like…

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