Diversity and equality seem tragically incompatible today. But are they?
Here are three trends that are often discussed in isolation:
- The low birth-rates of advanced economies
- The rise of a xenophobic anti-immigration politics
- The fragility of the welfare state
While these subjects might seem to have nothing to do with each other, in fact they crash into each other like dominos. As rich countries have fewer babies, they need immigration to grow their prime-age workforces. But as the foreign-born share of the population rises, xenophobia often festers and threatens egalitarian policy-making.
an unavoidable lesson of the last few years, from both inside and outside the U.S., is that cultural heterogeneity and egalitarianism often cut against each other. … The future of the U.S. economy depends on population growth. The future of U.S. population growth depends on immigration. But, as in so much of the world, immigration can trigger bigotry and backlash. The liberal cause requires Americans learning to break the catch-22 of diversity and equality. If multicultural egalitarianism is the future of liberal politics, the road to the future will be bumpy.