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From the Harvard Business Review:

Teams Solve Problems Faster When They’re More Cognitively Diverse
Alison Reynolds David Lewis
MARCH 30, 2017

… we have run a strategic execution exercise with executive groups focused on managing new, uncertain, and complex situations. The exercise requires the group to formulate and execute a strategy to achieve a specified outcome, against the clock.

Received wisdom is that the more diverse the teams in terms of age, ethnicity, and gender, the more creative and productive they are likely to be. But having run the execution exercise around the world more than 100 times over the last 12 years, we have found no correlation between this type of diversity and performance. With an average group size of 16, comprising senior executives, MBA students, general managers, scientists, teachers, and teenagers, our observations have been consistent. Some groups have fared exceptionally well and others incredibly badly, irrespective of diversity in gender, ethnicity, and age.

Since there is so much focus on the importance of diversity in problem solving, we were intrigued by these results. If not diversity, what accounted for such variability in performance? We wanted to understand what led some groups to succeed and others to crash and burn. This led us to consider differences that go beyond gender, ethnicity, or age. We began to look more closely at cognitive diversity.

Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.

 
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  1. Twinkie says:

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.

    Note one of the problems in being able to achieve cognitive diversity in real life:

    The second factor that contributes to cognitive diversity being overlooked is that we create cultural barriers that restrict the degree of cognitive diversity, even when we don’t mean to.

    There is a familiar saying: “We recruit in our own image.” This bias doesn’t end with demographic distinctions like race or gender, or with the recruiting process, for that matter. Colleagues gravitate toward the people who think and express themselves in a similar way. As a result, organizations often end up with like-minded teams. When this happens, as in the case of our biotech R&D team, we have what psychologists call functional bias — and low cognitive diversity.

    This is why it’s very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can’t be identified readily and easily).

    Read More
    • Replies: @JW Bell
    I'm skeptical. The tyranny of g-loading is that it's very hard to beat simple selection on g.

    Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.

    , @res

    This is why it’s very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can’t be identified readily and easily).
     
    Agreed (though I suspect the AEM cube folks would disagree with your parenthetical statement ; ). Despite my cranky comment above, I think the idea of mapping thinking in the dimensions of Relationship/Matter and Stability/Exploration orientations and looking for diversity across those has merit. I had a job interviewer once discuss his team in terms of pioneers vs. settlers which seems like a perfect map to Stability/Exploration. The interesting thing in the context of this article is that he was consciously looking for settlers because he thought pioneers might be unhappy there (i.e. the opposite of diversity). In hindsight, I think he was right (it is worth noting that the team was in a transition period from initial development to standardization).

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot. Enough commonality to be able to have effective discussions (e.g. national language, specialty languages, parliamentary procedure, priorities), but enough thought diversity to explore problem and solution spaces thoroughly.

    One area I would like to see explored more is the importance of specialists and generalists in achieving group effectiveness. I think the ability to understand the perspectives of others is underrated.
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  2. Hubbub says:

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.

    Harrumph! Do tell! Who would have guessed: the same old questions end up with the same answers. Now, let’s do that experiment again and again and again and agai………….

    Read More
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  3. David says:

    It’s sad that the authors must first genuflect (the meaning of Barack) to racial miscegenation to begin such an article: “there is a ways to go, but progress has been made.”

    They have an interesting way of braking up character types but I’d say, look for at least one team member with no loyalty. The kind of person who, affronted, never recalls past favor. You might say the one who lacks the instinct of self-preservation. He’s the guy to poke the inevitable holes in your beautiful plan.

    By the way, success in this experiment was a group coming up with a plan that the administrators thought would work to address a hypothetical situation, right? Not really science. I mean, did the experiment designers predict Trump’s win and subsequent capitulation?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "It’s sad that the authors must first genuflect (the meaning of Barack) to racial miscegenation to begin such an article: “there is a ways to go, but progress has been made.”"

    They also had to make an end run around the diversity crowd by playing an obfuscation game-
    "We wanted to understand what led some groups to succeed and others to crash and burn. This led us to consider differences that go beyond gender, ethnicity, or age. We began to look more closely at cognitive diversity."

    Got it? They aren't against the idea that diversity is the most important thing ever, they want to go even more diverse by looking at cognitive diversity.

    In a sane world, this would just be more evidence on the ever growing mountain that the conventional ideas about the wonders and need for diversity (i.e.- racial diversity- which is defined as brown people) is a load of crap.
    , @Bryan
    Your lips to God's ears, my friend. But this failure to have an instinct for self-preservation has a terrible selection problem: I've literally been kicked out of meetings where I explained why a piece of analysis was wrong. It's a curse, I tell ya.

    On job interviews, I used to say something like, "Hey, I don't care if I convince you or if you convince me - I just want us to get to the right answer!" I discovered after too long: that is almost the stupidest thing anyone could possibly say on a job interview. Getting to the right/best answer is close to the least important thing anybody cares about, for a number of very good reasons.
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  4. res says:

    As much as I agree with their conclusion, that article seems shockingly lightweight to me. I looked for an associated research paper by the authors, but failed to find one in a quick search (can anyone help?).

    Are HBR readers really going to make important decisions based on that graphic showing the results for six (!) teams? Why not show us the team data for gender, ethnicity, or age diversity? And what about other metrics like average team IQ?

    Overall, that article reads more like an advertisement for the AEM cube than a presentation of the results of substantive research. Does anyone have definitions of the following terms (from graphics): “Knowledge Processing”, “Perspective”, “Matter orientation”, “Relationship orientation”, “Stability orientation”, “Exploration orientation”? What about how they are related? What exactly is the AEM cube? The graphic talking about it only shows a 2d representation of measurements of the above terms.

    Read More
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  5. JW Bell says:
    @Twinkie

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.
     
    Note one of the problems in being able to achieve cognitive diversity in real life:

    The second factor that contributes to cognitive diversity being overlooked is that we create cultural barriers that restrict the degree of cognitive diversity, even when we don’t mean to.

    There is a familiar saying: “We recruit in our own image.” This bias doesn’t end with demographic distinctions like race or gender, or with the recruiting process, for that matter. Colleagues gravitate toward the people who think and express themselves in a similar way. As a result, organizations often end up with like-minded teams. When this happens, as in the case of our biotech R&D team, we have what psychologists call functional bias — and low cognitive diversity.
     
    This is why it's very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can't be identified readily and easily).

    I’m skeptical. The tyranny of g-loading is that it’s very hard to beat simple selection on g.

    Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.

    Read More
    • Replies: @27 year old
    >Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.

    How does industrial psychology define "employee success"? I have a feeling that my definition of succeeding as an employee is at best not in line with my firm's definition of what it means for me to be successful. Probably in conflict.

    , @anon

    Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.
     
    Individual success maybe but this is talking about groups engaged in problem-solving.
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  6. Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.

    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gunnar von Cowtown

    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?
     
    LOL! Lewontin vindicated!
    , @Wilkey
    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    I have to confess that I never got that saying. Is it supposed to tell me that there is a greater absolute difference between the net worth of Bill Gates and the bum on the street corner than between the average net worths of blacks vs. whites? I guess I never got it because to me it seems both frightfully obvious (from a very young age) and inherently not all that interesting. So why would anyone bother to make such a big deal of it? The differences between groups are far more interesting.

    Of course it is leftists who spend so much time obsessing about the differences between groups. Maybe they tell us that blacks are poorer than whites we need to respond with "there is more economic diversity within racial groups than between racial groups." Perhaps that will shut them up.
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  7. Thursday says:

    Applying this to academia, I still think conservatives will always be somewhat at a disadvantage, due to the fact that one of the major predictors of conservatism is low Big 5 Openness, and you’re just not going to get low Openness intellectuals.

    However, the other major predictor of conservatism is high Big 5 Conscientiousness, particularly subtrait Orderliness, and you absolutely can get high Orderliness intellectuals. However, they do tend to be dutiful people, so they very often go into something practical.

    Of course, they also tend to face discrimination.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonym
    Interesting. I'm as high O as they come, but also relatively high C. O correlates with IQ.
    , @Melendwyr
    Most people would consider me something of a conservative, and I'm relatively high on Openness. I have a low tolerance of tradition for tradition's sake, and a willingness to test beliefs and discard the ones that are wrong or don't 'function'. Which is a large part of why I've rejected the dominant belief systems of my society, including the so-called 'liberal' one, because it's both incorrect and grossly maladaptive.

    Unfortunately, it also means that I don't associate all that well with people who are really attached to their ideologies, which isolates me from conservatives and liberals alike - most human beings, really.
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  8. res says:
    @Twinkie

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.
     
    Note one of the problems in being able to achieve cognitive diversity in real life:

    The second factor that contributes to cognitive diversity being overlooked is that we create cultural barriers that restrict the degree of cognitive diversity, even when we don’t mean to.

    There is a familiar saying: “We recruit in our own image.” This bias doesn’t end with demographic distinctions like race or gender, or with the recruiting process, for that matter. Colleagues gravitate toward the people who think and express themselves in a similar way. As a result, organizations often end up with like-minded teams. When this happens, as in the case of our biotech R&D team, we have what psychologists call functional bias — and low cognitive diversity.
     
    This is why it's very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can't be identified readily and easily).

    This is why it’s very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can’t be identified readily and easily).

    Agreed (though I suspect the AEM cube folks would disagree with your parenthetical statement ; ). Despite my cranky comment above, I think the idea of mapping thinking in the dimensions of Relationship/Matter and Stability/Exploration orientations and looking for diversity across those has merit. I had a job interviewer once discuss his team in terms of pioneers vs. settlers which seems like a perfect map to Stability/Exploration. The interesting thing in the context of this article is that he was consciously looking for settlers because he thought pioneers might be unhappy there (i.e. the opposite of diversity). In hindsight, I think he was right (it is worth noting that the team was in a transition period from initial development to standardization).

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot. Enough commonality to be able to have effective discussions (e.g. national language, specialty languages, parliamentary procedure, priorities), but enough thought diversity to explore problem and solution spaces thoroughly.

    One area I would like to see explored more is the importance of specialists and generalists in achieving group effectiveness. I think the ability to understand the perspectives of others is underrated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Well, as JT has noted, too, at some point group communication begins to impose genuine costs to problem solving not only through the obvious communication issues but likely through the more subtle things, such as widely diverging thought patterns.

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/group-iq-doesnt-exist/
    , @Reg Cæsar

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot.
     
    We found it in sex a long time ago. You don't marry across the sea, but you don't marry within the household either.
    , @Twinkie

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot. Enough commonality to be able to have effective discussions (e.g. national language, specialty languages, parliamentary procedure, priorities), but enough thought diversity to explore problem and solution spaces thoroughly.
     
    Yes, indeed. With a team or an organization or a unit and what have you, the most important thing is a high degree of cohesion and unity of purpose. All must share that "band of brothers" sentiment and ought to share the same objectives. This, more than anything else, increases survivability and chance of success.

    The next thing is to have some diversity of skillsets (which come from varied training AND experiences) - to use a military analogy, combined arms. In the life of any organization, many different kinds of challenges will arise. It must be equipped (foremost with human material) to be able to deal flexibly with different types of contingencies. This also ensures autonomy of the said organization (i.e. it can function without the aid of others).

    The priority after that is redundancy. With most organizations, difficulties or challenges will often incur loss/attrition. If it is to navigate multiple challenges, it has to be able to absorb some losses. For example, if a given unit has only one medic and that guy is out of the game first, that doesn't bode well for the unit's ability to recover from future challenges/losses. You need a backup medic. Redundancy creates resilience, both in physical and moral terms.
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  9. It has occurred to me that the reason why some groups of Europeans seem to have greater creativity then equally intelligent Asians may be due to their method of finding mates for marriage.

    Family arranged marriages, such as in much of Asia and much of the Middle East look for indicators of social approval and success within the current social milieu such as doing well on achievement tests which are socially coupled to success in life.

    On the other hand, in historical England for example, the female chooses the male, and, in this case, going back to Darwin, the males may exhibit a broad spectrum of capabilities; some very maladaptive and some extremely adaptive. Those that are extremely adaptive have more children.

    I wonder if there is a greater variance in male IQ in historical England than in China.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yeah, love marriages probably contribute to a wider variety of personality types in offspring than arranged marriages.
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  10. @Robert Hume
    It has occurred to me that the reason why some groups of Europeans seem to have greater creativity then equally intelligent Asians may be due to their method of finding mates for marriage.

    Family arranged marriages, such as in much of Asia and much of the Middle East look for indicators of social approval and success within the current social milieu such as doing well on achievement tests which are socially coupled to success in life.

    On the other hand, in historical England for example, the female chooses the male, and, in this case, going back to Darwin, the males may exhibit a broad spectrum of capabilities; some very maladaptive and some extremely adaptive. Those that are extremely adaptive have more children.

    I wonder if there is a greater variance in male IQ in historical England than in China.

    Yeah, love marriages probably contribute to a wider variety of personality types in offspring than arranged marriages.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Robert Hume
    Also, it's likely easier to cheat or study for a formal test than to fool a marriage-interested female about yourself.
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  11. @Steve Sailer
    Yeah, love marriages probably contribute to a wider variety of personality types in offspring than arranged marriages.

    Also, it’s likely easier to cheat or study for a formal test than to fool a marriage-interested female about yourself.

    Read More
    • Replies: @27 year old
    The PUAs might disagree there
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  12. john lee says: • Website

    First!… Dr Thompson actually noted this earlier…

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  13. Nico says:

    Received wisdom is that the more diverse the teams in terms of age, ethnicity, and gender, the more creative and productive they are likely to be.

    They make it sound so innocent. This isn’t received wisdom; this is deliberate indoctrination in the social sciences and in HR school.

    I remember my Organizational Behavior textbook speculating that the U.S. auto industry’s decline could be attributed in part to its management being composed entirely of middle-aged white males resulting in groupthink and lack of creativity. Of course they bothered to contrast these to BMW’s headquarters brimming with Turks and Africans, or Honda’s brimming with Chinese and Arabs for comparative scientific evidence. NOT.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    They lost to *Japan*, the most homogeneous nation in the industrialized world! Maybe they should have, you know, made better cars?
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  14. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @David
    It's sad that the authors must first genuflect (the meaning of Barack) to racial miscegenation to begin such an article: "there is a ways to go, but progress has been made."

    They have an interesting way of braking up character types but I'd say, look for at least one team member with no loyalty. The kind of person who, affronted, never recalls past favor. You might say the one who lacks the instinct of self-preservation. He's the guy to poke the inevitable holes in your beautiful plan.

    By the way, success in this experiment was a group coming up with a plan that the administrators thought would work to address a hypothetical situation, right? Not really science. I mean, did the experiment designers predict Trump's win and subsequent capitulation?

    “It’s sad that the authors must first genuflect (the meaning of Barack) to racial miscegenation to begin such an article: “there is a ways to go, but progress has been made.””

    They also had to make an end run around the diversity crowd by playing an obfuscation game-
    “We wanted to understand what led some groups to succeed and others to crash and burn. This led us to consider differences that go beyond gender, ethnicity, or age. We began to look more closely at cognitive diversity.”

    Got it? They aren’t against the idea that diversity is the most important thing ever, they want to go even more diverse by looking at cognitive diversity.

    In a sane world, this would just be more evidence on the ever growing mountain that the conventional ideas about the wonders and need for diversity (i.e.- racial diversity- which is defined as brown people) is a load of crap.

    Read More
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  15. Anonym says:
    @Thursday
    Applying this to academia, I still think conservatives will always be somewhat at a disadvantage, due to the fact that one of the major predictors of conservatism is low Big 5 Openness, and you're just not going to get low Openness intellectuals.

    However, the other major predictor of conservatism is high Big 5 Conscientiousness, particularly subtrait Orderliness, and you absolutely can get high Orderliness intellectuals. However, they do tend to be dutiful people, so they very often go into something practical.

    Of course, they also tend to face discrimination.

    Interesting. I’m as high O as they come, but also relatively high C. O correlates with IQ.

    Read More
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  16. Anonym says:

    In other words, two idiots don’t make a genius. (Diversity of identity)

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  17. @Opinionator

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.
     
    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    LOL! Lewontin vindicated!

    Read More
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  18. Bryan says:
    @David
    It's sad that the authors must first genuflect (the meaning of Barack) to racial miscegenation to begin such an article: "there is a ways to go, but progress has been made."

    They have an interesting way of braking up character types but I'd say, look for at least one team member with no loyalty. The kind of person who, affronted, never recalls past favor. You might say the one who lacks the instinct of self-preservation. He's the guy to poke the inevitable holes in your beautiful plan.

    By the way, success in this experiment was a group coming up with a plan that the administrators thought would work to address a hypothetical situation, right? Not really science. I mean, did the experiment designers predict Trump's win and subsequent capitulation?

    Your lips to God’s ears, my friend. But this failure to have an instinct for self-preservation has a terrible selection problem: I’ve literally been kicked out of meetings where I explained why a piece of analysis was wrong. It’s a curse, I tell ya.

    On job interviews, I used to say something like, “Hey, I don’t care if I convince you or if you convince me – I just want us to get to the right answer!” I discovered after too long: that is almost the stupidest thing anyone could possibly say on a job interview. Getting to the right/best answer is close to the least important thing anybody cares about, for a number of very good reasons.

    Read More
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  19. Kind of ironic coming from Harvard

    Read More
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  20. With an average group size of 16, comprising senior executives, MBA students, general managers, scientists, teachers, and teenagers

    It sounds like they (unintentionally?) controlled for g, with the result that other influences on success became more salient.

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  21. Felix M says:

    If a group has more than 5 or so members, it needs one or two people who have chairing/coordinating skills, so that the differing perspectives are actually heard and taken into account.

    There’s also the time factor. The more diverse the group, the more people need time to establish a common approach. In contrast, people with the same professional or comparable formation can communicate easily.

    (For example, when I worked for a government agency, it was nearly always useful to contact the legal area in another agency or company. Because we’d share a common outlook and could usually work out acceptable solutions quickly and efficiently.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Good points about structure, as someone needs to keep things on track even with, or despite, the targeted diversity. Robert's Rules of Order may be helpful and were developed for many good reasons. That shouldn't mean slavish devotion to parliamentary procedure, which could be overkill, but could help start and maintain order in disparate groups.

    http://www.robertsrules.org/
    , @jon

    There’s also the time factor. The more diverse the group, the more people need time to establish a common approach. In contrast, people with the same professional or comparable formation can communicate easily.
     
    If you l0ok at the chart in the linked article, you'll see that there is an upper limit to the benefits of what they measure as cognitive diversity. Mid-20s seems to be the sweet spot, with 20 or less being the worst, and numbers approaching or exceeding 30 being in the middle.
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  22. @JW Bell
    I'm skeptical. The tyranny of g-loading is that it's very hard to beat simple selection on g.

    Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.

    >Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.

    How does industrial psychology define “employee success”? I have a feeling that my definition of succeeding as an employee is at best not in line with my firm’s definition of what it means for me to be successful. Probably in conflict.

    Read More
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  23. @Robert Hume
    Also, it's likely easier to cheat or study for a formal test than to fool a marriage-interested female about yourself.

    The PUAs might disagree there

    Read More
    • Replies: @Argosy jones

    The PUAs ...
     
    They aren't targeting 'marriage interested females.'
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  24. Wilkey says:

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.

    I wonder what their “non-diverse” groups looked like. Did they have test groups comprised completely of Hispanics or blacks, or were they mostly limited to being all white (and all men)? There just isn’t much diversity *within* some racial groups, particularly blacks.

    Create a random group of 10 black men and women. There is a frighteningly good chance that such a group will be 100% Democrat, Christian (at least nominally), rap/soul music fans, and raised in big cities. But none of those categories are usually considered legitimate i.d politics categories, except maybe religion. Even within Christianity they will probably belong to a fairly narrow range of denominations, and if they are anything other than Christian it’s almost certainly Muslim. Even blacks who come from Africa don’t seem to add much to their diversity.

    Take a random group of 10 white men, however, and all bets are off. Their politics, college major, and favorite movie or music genres are all fairly unpredictable, and their religion could be absolutely anything. If they are Christian their particular denomination is completely unpredictable. They could have been raised on a farm, a suburb, a big city, or among missionaries in Central America.

    And none of that is to even say that those kinds of diversity matter in problem solving. It’s just to say that they are probably a much better proxy for cognitive diversity than race or gender. Raw intellectual horsepower matters more than diversity. You can’t haul a backhoe with a lawnmower engine. But take a random group of white men and you’re more likely to get a group that is both more intelligent and more diverse, in many ways, than if your definition of diversity factors in only race and gender.

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  25. Wilkey says:
    @Opinionator

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.
     
    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    I have to confess that I never got that saying. Is it supposed to tell me that there is a greater absolute difference between the net worth of Bill Gates and the bum on the street corner than between the average net worths of blacks vs. whites? I guess I never got it because to me it seems both frightfully obvious (from a very young age) and inherently not all that interesting. So why would anyone bother to make such a big deal of it? The differences between groups are far more interesting.

    Of course it is leftists who spend so much time obsessing about the differences between groups. Maybe they tell us that blacks are poorer than whites we need to respond with “there is more economic diversity within racial groups than between racial groups.” Perhaps that will shut them up.

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    • Replies: @res
    I think you get it all too well. The analogy I like to use is differing heights between men and women.

    LOL at your last paragraph. I need to try that sometime.
    , @International Jew

    Maybe when they tell us that blacks are poorer than whites we need to respond with “there is more economic diversity within racial groups than between racial groups.”
     
    Awesome. I'm gonna weaponize that. "Yes, Black Lives Matter, but when it comes to victimization by the police there's more variation within races than across them."
    , @anon

    I have to confess that I never got that saying.
     
    It's a trick intended to deceive the innumerate.

    By saying there's more variation within races than between them it implies differences between races somehow don't matter - but that's only true only if differences within races don't matter

    but difference within races matter a lot so if there are also differences in the average between two races then it matters a lot multiplied by the gap.
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  26. jacobsson says:

    I get the main idea of the post, but it sounds a bit like Trump’s management style of getting a bunch of people with different views (neocons vs. nationalists, etc.) in a room, hash it out and then he decides. It looks like chaos, but maybe it’s supposed to. Was this what Trump learned from Steinbrenner and the HBR is just now learning?

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  27. @res

    This is why it’s very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can’t be identified readily and easily).
     
    Agreed (though I suspect the AEM cube folks would disagree with your parenthetical statement ; ). Despite my cranky comment above, I think the idea of mapping thinking in the dimensions of Relationship/Matter and Stability/Exploration orientations and looking for diversity across those has merit. I had a job interviewer once discuss his team in terms of pioneers vs. settlers which seems like a perfect map to Stability/Exploration. The interesting thing in the context of this article is that he was consciously looking for settlers because he thought pioneers might be unhappy there (i.e. the opposite of diversity). In hindsight, I think he was right (it is worth noting that the team was in a transition period from initial development to standardization).

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot. Enough commonality to be able to have effective discussions (e.g. national language, specialty languages, parliamentary procedure, priorities), but enough thought diversity to explore problem and solution spaces thoroughly.

    One area I would like to see explored more is the importance of specialists and generalists in achieving group effectiveness. I think the ability to understand the perspectives of others is underrated.

    Well, as JT has noted, too, at some point group communication begins to impose genuine costs to problem solving not only through the obvious communication issues but likely through the more subtle things, such as widely diverging thought patterns.

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/group-iq-doesnt-exist/

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  28. if the diversity consisted of folks with intellectual disabilities (formerly known as mentally retarded), severe mental illnesses (depressive disorder, etc., & maybe throw in a few with bipolar, & severe autism spectrum disorder) it might not help – unless you could get a bipolar dude during his manic phase – then that might help too much.

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  29. res says:
    @Wilkey
    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    I have to confess that I never got that saying. Is it supposed to tell me that there is a greater absolute difference between the net worth of Bill Gates and the bum on the street corner than between the average net worths of blacks vs. whites? I guess I never got it because to me it seems both frightfully obvious (from a very young age) and inherently not all that interesting. So why would anyone bother to make such a big deal of it? The differences between groups are far more interesting.

    Of course it is leftists who spend so much time obsessing about the differences between groups. Maybe they tell us that blacks are poorer than whites we need to respond with "there is more economic diversity within racial groups than between racial groups." Perhaps that will shut them up.

    I think you get it all too well. The analogy I like to use is differing heights between men and women.

    LOL at your last paragraph. I need to try that sometime.

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  30. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @Thursday
    Applying this to academia, I still think conservatives will always be somewhat at a disadvantage, due to the fact that one of the major predictors of conservatism is low Big 5 Openness, and you're just not going to get low Openness intellectuals.

    However, the other major predictor of conservatism is high Big 5 Conscientiousness, particularly subtrait Orderliness, and you absolutely can get high Orderliness intellectuals. However, they do tend to be dutiful people, so they very often go into something practical.

    Of course, they also tend to face discrimination.

    Most people would consider me something of a conservative, and I’m relatively high on Openness. I have a low tolerance of tradition for tradition’s sake, and a willingness to test beliefs and discard the ones that are wrong or don’t ‘function’. Which is a large part of why I’ve rejected the dominant belief systems of my society, including the so-called ‘liberal’ one, because it’s both incorrect and grossly maladaptive.

    Unfortunately, it also means that I don’t associate all that well with people who are really attached to their ideologies, which isolates me from conservatives and liberals alike – most human beings, really.

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  31. Jimi says:

    The problems that Harvard MBAs are expected to solve are abstract problems. Or even abstractions of abstractions. Or even abstractions to the third degree.

    At that level your personal life experiences AREN’T relevant. If anything they are a distraction. This is why identity diversity is not helpful but cognitive diversity is.

    Do you need to figure out how Christianity is practiced in USA? Then talk to young latino men, old black women, and rednecks.

    Do you want to figure out efficient supply chain management strategies based on collected data? Talk to a bunch of cognitively diverse folks.

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  32. OT:

    Chelsea Batista, whose parents are from the Dominican Republic, is “clapping back” at critics who say that her acceptances at eleven of the 16 medical schools that she interviewed with are due to affirmative action. Instead of acknowledging that she is exceptional for a Hispanic applicant, Chelsea insists that she had to struggle against disadvantage. She went to Brooklyn Tech and is a scholarship recipient in the honors program at Brooklyn College, plus two of the medical schools offered full-tuition scholarships.

    (3/21/2017)
    They grew up in large, low income families and yet both managed to become the first in their families to get college degrees. My mom is one of the directors of the College NOW program at Kingsborough Community College and my dad was an NYPD detective.” LINK

    (4/11/2017)
    “Several naysayers have attributed my successes to affirmative action, as opposed to discipline and hard work,” Batista said. “At some points, I had to remind myself that I earned these accomplishments. That I worked just as hard as those around me and that I had to break through a prominent glass ceiling to get here. I had to remind myself that I was not chosen because I am a Hispanic woman who fulfills the requirements. I was chosen because as a Hispanic woman, I had to struggle through more obstacles and resistance than the typical medical school applicant and I still managed to excel.”

    “I am proud of my background and I am proud of what I have overcome to get here,” she added. “I am proud because, in spite of the disadvantages I may have been born into, I never let that stop me from pursuing my goals.”  LINK

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  33. Ivy says:
    @Felix M
    If a group has more than 5 or so members, it needs one or two people who have chairing/coordinating skills, so that the differing perspectives are actually heard and taken into account.

    There's also the time factor. The more diverse the group, the more people need time to establish a common approach. In contrast, people with the same professional or comparable formation can communicate easily.

    (For example, when I worked for a government agency, it was nearly always useful to contact the legal area in another agency or company. Because we'd share a common outlook and could usually work out acceptable solutions quickly and efficiently.)

    Good points about structure, as someone needs to keep things on track even with, or despite, the targeted diversity. Robert’s Rules of Order may be helpful and were developed for many good reasons. That shouldn’t mean slavish devotion to parliamentary procedure, which could be overkill, but could help start and maintain order in disparate groups.

    http://www.robertsrules.org/

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  34. @27 year old
    The PUAs might disagree there

    The PUAs …

    They aren’t targeting ‘marriage interested females.’

    Read More
    • Replies: @27 year old
    Oh, right, it only works on sluts and floozies. Of course.
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  35. @res

    This is why it’s very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can’t be identified readily and easily).
     
    Agreed (though I suspect the AEM cube folks would disagree with your parenthetical statement ; ). Despite my cranky comment above, I think the idea of mapping thinking in the dimensions of Relationship/Matter and Stability/Exploration orientations and looking for diversity across those has merit. I had a job interviewer once discuss his team in terms of pioneers vs. settlers which seems like a perfect map to Stability/Exploration. The interesting thing in the context of this article is that he was consciously looking for settlers because he thought pioneers might be unhappy there (i.e. the opposite of diversity). In hindsight, I think he was right (it is worth noting that the team was in a transition period from initial development to standardization).

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot. Enough commonality to be able to have effective discussions (e.g. national language, specialty languages, parliamentary procedure, priorities), but enough thought diversity to explore problem and solution spaces thoroughly.

    One area I would like to see explored more is the importance of specialists and generalists in achieving group effectiveness. I think the ability to understand the perspectives of others is underrated.

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot.

    We found it in sex a long time ago. You don’t marry across the sea, but you don’t marry within the household either.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    You don’t marry across the sea
     
    Why not? Seems to have turned out well for the Vikings, to cite but one example.
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  36. Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.

    I’m watching Scott E Page’s The Hidden Factor from The Great Courses people. It’s all about cognitive diversity, which he contrasts with “identity diversity”.

    However, based in Ann Arbor you can’t contrast them too much.

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  37. Cognitive diversity? The Manhattan Project proved its efficacy; those physicists spanned the IQ gamut from 140 to 190!

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  38. @Wilkey
    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    I have to confess that I never got that saying. Is it supposed to tell me that there is a greater absolute difference between the net worth of Bill Gates and the bum on the street corner than between the average net worths of blacks vs. whites? I guess I never got it because to me it seems both frightfully obvious (from a very young age) and inherently not all that interesting. So why would anyone bother to make such a big deal of it? The differences between groups are far more interesting.

    Of course it is leftists who spend so much time obsessing about the differences between groups. Maybe they tell us that blacks are poorer than whites we need to respond with "there is more economic diversity within racial groups than between racial groups." Perhaps that will shut them up.

    Maybe when they tell us that blacks are poorer than whites we need to respond with “there is more economic diversity within racial groups than between racial groups.”

    Awesome. I’m gonna weaponize that. “Yes, Black Lives Matter, but when it comes to victimization by the police there’s more variation within races than across them.”

    Read More
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  39. jon says:
    @Felix M
    If a group has more than 5 or so members, it needs one or two people who have chairing/coordinating skills, so that the differing perspectives are actually heard and taken into account.

    There's also the time factor. The more diverse the group, the more people need time to establish a common approach. In contrast, people with the same professional or comparable formation can communicate easily.

    (For example, when I worked for a government agency, it was nearly always useful to contact the legal area in another agency or company. Because we'd share a common outlook and could usually work out acceptable solutions quickly and efficiently.)

    There’s also the time factor. The more diverse the group, the more people need time to establish a common approach. In contrast, people with the same professional or comparable formation can communicate easily.

    If you l0ok at the chart in the linked article, you’ll see that there is an upper limit to the benefits of what they measure as cognitive diversity. Mid-20s seems to be the sweet spot, with 20 or less being the worst, and numbers approaching or exceeding 30 being in the middle.

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  40. SFG says:
    @Nico

    Received wisdom is that the more diverse the teams in terms of age, ethnicity, and gender, the more creative and productive they are likely to be.
     
    They make it sound so innocent. This isn't received wisdom; this is deliberate indoctrination in the social sciences and in HR school.

    I remember my Organizational Behavior textbook speculating that the U.S. auto industry's decline could be attributed in part to its management being composed entirely of middle-aged white males resulting in groupthink and lack of creativity. Of course they bothered to contrast these to BMW's headquarters brimming with Turks and Africans, or Honda's brimming with Chinese and Arabs for comparative scientific evidence. NOT.

    They lost to *Japan*, the most homogeneous nation in the industrialized world! Maybe they should have, you know, made better cars?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Nico
    What'a incredible is that after American manufacturing getting a consistent bloody nose for nearly 60 years running, American products suck compared to most of their Japanese and European counterparts and at least until recently the disparity had been getting worse, not better. And depending on the product area they can actually be quite expensive compared to these latter. Why has this been? Is it the military-industrial complex fattening up inefficient industries? But the public sector is far more bloated in much of Europe. Maybe inertia holding over from the "Exorbitant Privilege" of the Bretton Woods era? A resistance to automation due to easy availability of quality and (compared to Europe) docile manual labor? I suspect maybe part of it is the U.S. having been so groundbreaking in the techniques that allowed us to invent and produce many of the staple modern goods, is too complacent to refine and improve those techniques, focused instead on "the next generation," the end that justifies the means. I don't know enough about this to wager more than educated guesses. Any ideas, anyone?
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  41. Boomstick says:

    It sounds like that may be a differently-worded rediscovery of a division of labor/specialization of labor situation.

    Classically in a group that large–sixteen members–you get some people who are good at different aspects. Maybe one or two creative thinkers who are lousy at execution, an extroverted sales guy, a couple diligent production people, a detail-oriented budget guy, and so on. If every one of the sixteen are diligent at executing plans but not in coming up with new ones, then you’ll get a failure. If all the members enjoy coming up with novel solutions but get bored executing them then you’ll also have problems.

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  42. Anon says: • Disclaimer
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  43. Twinkie says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot.
     
    We found it in sex a long time ago. You don't marry across the sea, but you don't marry within the household either.

    You don’t marry across the sea

    Why not? Seems to have turned out well for the Vikings, to cite but one example.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Why not? Seems to have turned out well for the Vikings, to cite but one example.
     
    Not in North America, it didn't. By "sea", I didn't mean "North" or "Irish" or "Baltic".

    I see interracial marriage kind of like immigration and international adoption-- not an all-bad/all-good issue, but a cost/benefit one. And best when selective-- safe, legal, and rare!

    I'm happy that yours and Derb's and Bruno Gollnisch's worked out, for you and for us.
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  44. Twinkie says:
    @res

    This is why it’s very important to have in a team or an organization people with diverse sets of life and professional experiences rather than identity diversity, as a substitute or proxy for cognitive diversity (which can’t be identified readily and easily).
     
    Agreed (though I suspect the AEM cube folks would disagree with your parenthetical statement ; ). Despite my cranky comment above, I think the idea of mapping thinking in the dimensions of Relationship/Matter and Stability/Exploration orientations and looking for diversity across those has merit. I had a job interviewer once discuss his team in terms of pioneers vs. settlers which seems like a perfect map to Stability/Exploration. The interesting thing in the context of this article is that he was consciously looking for settlers because he thought pioneers might be unhappy there (i.e. the opposite of diversity). In hindsight, I think he was right (it is worth noting that the team was in a transition period from initial development to standardization).

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot. Enough commonality to be able to have effective discussions (e.g. national language, specialty languages, parliamentary procedure, priorities), but enough thought diversity to explore problem and solution spaces thoroughly.

    One area I would like to see explored more is the importance of specialists and generalists in achieving group effectiveness. I think the ability to understand the perspectives of others is underrated.

    I have a major problem with the more diversity is better type argument we tend to see. I think there is a sweet spot. Enough commonality to be able to have effective discussions (e.g. national language, specialty languages, parliamentary procedure, priorities), but enough thought diversity to explore problem and solution spaces thoroughly.

    Yes, indeed. With a team or an organization or a unit and what have you, the most important thing is a high degree of cohesion and unity of purpose. All must share that “band of brothers” sentiment and ought to share the same objectives. This, more than anything else, increases survivability and chance of success.

    The next thing is to have some diversity of skillsets (which come from varied training AND experiences) – to use a military analogy, combined arms. In the life of any organization, many different kinds of challenges will arise. It must be equipped (foremost with human material) to be able to deal flexibly with different types of contingencies. This also ensures autonomy of the said organization (i.e. it can function without the aid of others).

    The priority after that is redundancy. With most organizations, difficulties or challenges will often incur loss/attrition. If it is to navigate multiple challenges, it has to be able to absorb some losses. For example, if a given unit has only one medic and that guy is out of the game first, that doesn’t bode well for the unit’s ability to recover from future challenges/losses. You need a backup medic. Redundancy creates resilience, both in physical and moral terms.

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  45. anon says: • Disclaimer

    Their conclusion is that having different kinds of thinkers on a team is helpful, but the important kinds of cognitive diversity don’t correlate much with the usual identity politics categories.

    Makes sense and maybe one reason why in the past recruiting at 18 and promoting on merit, rather than starting with 100% college++, might have lead to a more cognitively diverse top tier.

    Similarly having a PC filter probably narrows down the cognitive diversity to near zero – that would explain a lot.

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  46. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @JW Bell
    I'm skeptical. The tyranny of g-loading is that it's very hard to beat simple selection on g.

    Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.

    Industrial psychology shows iq and conscientiousness as the only significant indicators of employee success.

    Individual success maybe but this is talking about groups engaged in problem-solving.

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  47. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Wilkey
    Is that to say that there is more cognitive diversity within racial constructs that between racial constructs?

    I have to confess that I never got that saying. Is it supposed to tell me that there is a greater absolute difference between the net worth of Bill Gates and the bum on the street corner than between the average net worths of blacks vs. whites? I guess I never got it because to me it seems both frightfully obvious (from a very young age) and inherently not all that interesting. So why would anyone bother to make such a big deal of it? The differences between groups are far more interesting.

    Of course it is leftists who spend so much time obsessing about the differences between groups. Maybe they tell us that blacks are poorer than whites we need to respond with "there is more economic diversity within racial groups than between racial groups." Perhaps that will shut them up.

    I have to confess that I never got that saying.

    It’s a trick intended to deceive the innumerate.

    By saying there’s more variation within races than between them it implies differences between races somehow don’t matter – but that’s only true only if differences within races don’t matter

    but difference within races matter a lot so if there are also differences in the average between two races then it matters a lot multiplied by the gap.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's a little bit like saying there are more differences within families than between them.
    , @Boomstick
    That whole argument is puzzling to me. Lets say Green and Blue races have random variables representing IQs with a mean of 100 and 105 respectively, and the standard deviation is 15 in both populations. There's more variation within races than between them.

    And, uh, the Blue race has a 5 point higher average IQ.

    I don't think most reporters have had a statistics class.
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  48. @anon

    I have to confess that I never got that saying.
     
    It's a trick intended to deceive the innumerate.

    By saying there's more variation within races than between them it implies differences between races somehow don't matter - but that's only true only if differences within races don't matter

    but difference within races matter a lot so if there are also differences in the average between two races then it matters a lot multiplied by the gap.

    It’s a little bit like saying there are more differences within families than between them.

    Read More
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  49. @Argosy jones

    The PUAs ...
     
    They aren't targeting 'marriage interested females.'

    Oh, right, it only works on sluts and floozies. Of course.

    Read More
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  50. Boomstick says:
    @anon

    I have to confess that I never got that saying.
     
    It's a trick intended to deceive the innumerate.

    By saying there's more variation within races than between them it implies differences between races somehow don't matter - but that's only true only if differences within races don't matter

    but difference within races matter a lot so if there are also differences in the average between two races then it matters a lot multiplied by the gap.

    That whole argument is puzzling to me. Lets say Green and Blue races have random variables representing IQs with a mean of 100 and 105 respectively, and the standard deviation is 15 in both populations. There’s more variation within races than between them.

    And, uh, the Blue race has a 5 point higher average IQ.

    I don’t think most reporters have had a statistics class.

    Read More
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  51. Nico says:
    @SFG
    They lost to *Japan*, the most homogeneous nation in the industrialized world! Maybe they should have, you know, made better cars?

    What’a incredible is that after American manufacturing getting a consistent bloody nose for nearly 60 years running, American products suck compared to most of their Japanese and European counterparts and at least until recently the disparity had been getting worse, not better. And depending on the product area they can actually be quite expensive compared to these latter. Why has this been? Is it the military-industrial complex fattening up inefficient industries? But the public sector is far more bloated in much of Europe. Maybe inertia holding over from the “Exorbitant Privilege” of the Bretton Woods era? A resistance to automation due to easy availability of quality and (compared to Europe) docile manual labor? I suspect maybe part of it is the U.S. having been so groundbreaking in the techniques that allowed us to invent and produce many of the staple modern goods, is too complacent to refine and improve those techniques, focused instead on “the next generation,” the end that justifies the means. I don’t know enough about this to wager more than educated guesses. Any ideas, anyone?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Robert Hume
    When manufacturing moves oversees the engineers who build the plants and improve the plants are citizens of the countries in which the plants reside.

    No one in the US therefore studies manufacturing and anybody who is creative goes into another field.

    We have not just outsourced the low skilled labor we have also outsourced the ability to improve manufacturing, and to build new factories should some be needed. Required engineers would come from overseas

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  52. @Twinkie

    You don’t marry across the sea
     
    Why not? Seems to have turned out well for the Vikings, to cite but one example.

    Why not? Seems to have turned out well for the Vikings, to cite but one example.

    Not in North America, it didn’t. By “sea”, I didn’t mean “North” or “Irish” or “Baltic”.

    I see interracial marriage kind of like immigration and international adoption– not an all-bad/all-good issue, but a cost/benefit one. And best when selective– safe, legal, and rare!

    I’m happy that yours and Derb’s and Bruno Gollnisch’s worked out, for you and for us.

    Read More
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  53. @Nico
    What'a incredible is that after American manufacturing getting a consistent bloody nose for nearly 60 years running, American products suck compared to most of their Japanese and European counterparts and at least until recently the disparity had been getting worse, not better. And depending on the product area they can actually be quite expensive compared to these latter. Why has this been? Is it the military-industrial complex fattening up inefficient industries? But the public sector is far more bloated in much of Europe. Maybe inertia holding over from the "Exorbitant Privilege" of the Bretton Woods era? A resistance to automation due to easy availability of quality and (compared to Europe) docile manual labor? I suspect maybe part of it is the U.S. having been so groundbreaking in the techniques that allowed us to invent and produce many of the staple modern goods, is too complacent to refine and improve those techniques, focused instead on "the next generation," the end that justifies the means. I don't know enough about this to wager more than educated guesses. Any ideas, anyone?

    When manufacturing moves oversees the engineers who build the plants and improve the plants are citizens of the countries in which the plants reside.

    No one in the US therefore studies manufacturing and anybody who is creative goes into another field.

    We have not just outsourced the low skilled labor we have also outsourced the ability to improve manufacturing, and to build new factories should some be needed. Required engineers would come from overseas

    Read More
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