The October Thing #4 – Diasporas – August 29, 2011


Three groups of people—Chinese, Jews, and Americans—have always migrated widely and became very successful. The richest religious group in the United States is Reformed Judaism, the third richest is Orthodox Judaism. Their forte is to buy basic resources others don’t want; scrap, for example. The Chinese diaspora is much more widely spread and provides a wide variety of basic services such as laundries and restaurants all over the world. In Southeast Asia, they command other richer economic sectors such as transportation and warehousing. The Americans have done particularly well in South America (as have the Germans) focusing on education, finance, and political infrastructure.

A dramatic new development (a discontinuity?) is the Indian diaspora which, in the United States, has a double focus. Recognizing that the U.S. is becoming a two-class society like India (rich and poor) Indian migrants are focusing on the poor by buying up lower-class housing, especially hotels and convenience stores, and on the rich by taking over large sectors of the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Hindus are now the second richest religious group in the U.S. (Baptists and Jehovah’s Witnesses are the poorest, in case you’re curious.) Although these four diasporas seem to be the most powerful, many others are also influential.

Is all this movement helping to build a world-culture or is it simply brain-draining some countries and establishing rich enclaves in other countries? Are the brilliant Asian/Indian students in the U.S. rescuing our declining intellectual status? What other questions should we be asking?

3 thoughts on “The October Thing #4 – Diasporas – August 29, 2011”

  1. On Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 12:11 a.m. CDT Amanda Borden posted the following comment:

    I have several questions. What would a “world culture” look like? How would basic differences–such as individualism vs. collectivism or high-context vs. low-context communication–be resolved in such a culture? To what extent (if any) would the cultures you mentioned become “dominant” so that members of other cultural groups would feel pressured to assimilate? Or would these diaspora groups remain below the radar (so to speak) so that members of the current dominant cultures are lulled into complacency, believing themselves to be “in control”?

  2. On September 1, 2011 at 8:48 a.m. CDT Ed Passerini posted the following comment:

    my god, you haven’t changed a bit; you still ask the best questions. future papers should address some of these issues, but they will be complicated due to other factors: wealth, religion, etc. more later. Ed

  3. On September 1, 2001 at 9:48 a.m. CDT Amanda Borden posted the following comment:

    Thanks, Ed. I agree that factors like religion and the distribution of wealth definitely interplay with culture, and they are powerful determinants of individuals’ choices and behavior. And then there’s the media’s role in the “culture wars,” attitudes about population, agriculture, etc. I was reminded of the media influence when I found this article Monday in The Wall Street Journal: “Monsanto Corn Plant Losing Bug Resistance,” Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2011, page B1.

    The cavalier and uncritical tenor of the article was jarring. Those of us listening to voices in the organic farming community know that the whole GMO/Monsanto food movement is unsustainable. Apparently readers of The Wall Street Journal are given no reason to question that Monsanto, Sygenta, or some other conglomerate can develop a means of feeding the world. The headline of the article, “Monsanto Corn Plant Losing Bug Resistance,” should be enough to scare some folks. But alas, read on, and you’ll have faith that technology will sort this one out too.


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