Building a better world
What are the economic consequences to Australians of the growing diversity in Australian cities and regional centres? That’s the question we try to answer in this issue of TGR and it’s not easy. Productivity, the growth of wages, the use of minimum wage and even housing has been affected.
For the most part the influx of migrants is a positive one and continues to be so. Certainly, socially the positives outweigh the negatives. This is true of all cultures and economies.
A US report titled The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence From Us Cities by Gianmarco Ottaviano and Giovanni Peri found that, “Diversity over several dimensions has been considered by economists as valuable in consumption and production. Jacobs (1969) attributes the success of cities to their industrial diversity. Quigley (1998) and Glaeser et al. (2001) identify the diversity of available services and consumption goods as one of the attractive features of cities. Florida (2002a, 2002b) stresses the importance of diversity in creative professions such as research and development and high tech. More generally, Fujita et al (1999) use ‘love of variety’ in preferences and technology as the building block of their theory of spatial development: production of a larger variety of goods and services in a location increases productivity and utility of people living in that location.”
The Australian Government sees cultural diversity or multiculturalism as the way forward for Australia. In a report conducted by the government they premised, “The economic efficiency area of multicultural policy initially concentrated on the disadvantages that many migrants face in the workplace.
“These disadvantages are to do with difficulties in the recognition of overseas skills and the language and cultural barriers that migrants can face when looking for a job.
“Since the early 1990s, the emphasis has moved to looking at the economic benefits that can arise directly from a diverse customer base and workforce.
“The Australian economy is a microcosm of the international marketplace making Australia an excellent test market as well as an ideal location for regional headquarters covering the Asian region.
“Programs have been developed to promote the use of our linguistic and cultural diversity for the economic benefit of Australia.
“This has helped to reposition us economically, both in the world and in our region.”
“There are business people from all over the world in Australia, and their skills and knowledge of their countries of origin can help us meet the challenges of the global marketplace.”
Australia could be at the forefront of of this movement. The diversity in this country puts us well on our way. But how far are we down the track?
Our resident experts give their opinion, while we analyse the nature of diversity and where it impacts most.
Diversity is the new world order and needs to be embraced by all businesses and entrepreneurs.
In the April/May 2014 issue of TGR the article ‘The Importance of Giving Back’ was written by Pat Mesiti. Apologies to Petar Lackovic.
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