Sunday, January 29, 2017

Immigration decreases trust

Among many other things, a modern economy requires a high-trust society. As social trust continues to decline across the West, so will the the standard-of-living and quality-of-life the West enjoys.

The immigration trends over the last fifty years are accelerating this process. Immigrants to the US are less trusting of others than natives are. The following graph shows the percentages of people, by whether they are native- or foreign-born, who say that "generally speaking most people can be trusted". For contemporary relevance all responses are from 2000 onward (n = 11,221):

All immigrants are not created equally, of course. The percentages of the foreign-born who say most people can be trusted, by place of origin*:

Ice People are more trusting than Sun People are. America's Magic Dirt doesn't change that.

Parenthetically, trust is neither universally adaptive nor universally maladaptive. There are cultural and biological differences across different populations. In WEIRDO countries, being a highly trusting person is generally beneficial because most people are trustworthy.

However in much of the rest of the world, where corruption is rampant and transparency rare, to trust other people is to be a sucker who gets taken advantage of.

As the US and other western countries increasingly fill up with Sun People, trusting other people will steadily move from being adaptive in those countries to being maladaptive in them.

This outcome is evitable. Avoiding it is simple. Simple, but not easy.

* Sample sizes for Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America are 297, 246, 60, and 502, respectively.

GSS variables used: TRUST(1-2), BORN, YEAR(2000-2014), ETHNIC(1)(17,38)(5,16,20,31,40)(2-4,6-15,18,19,24-27,32-36,41)


JayMan said...

One does wonder how useful self-reported trust is, though.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have to resort to the term "Ice People" if whites don't come out on top in any given study. Why don't you just go ahead and state the actual findings of this study instead of lumping whites in with yellows and then blacks in with browns?