11 January 2008

Famous Friends: Scott Page

Nearly a year ago I posted about the then-new, very smart book - The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools & Societies - by my friend Scott Page. Essentially, Scott offers a pragmatist defense of the value of diversity. Well, The New York Times ran an interview with Scott the other day. You can find it here. What I find interesting is that the interview ran in the "science" section instead of migrating into one of the sections dealing with politics/economics/society given that that is where the real payoff of his argument resides. But Scott even got his picture in The Times. (Photo Credit: Jim Wilson/The New York Times.)

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Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

His argument is not at all compelling. He points to NY as an example of a diverse city that has done exceptionally well. There's two problems with that. First, the power of NY's economy is driven by Wall Street's prestigious banks and midtown's big law firms -- hardly the bastions of diversity, unless your idea of diversity is Orthodox Jews and Wasps. Second, even if NY is a legitimate example, it is a very rare exception to the rule. What about all the other major power cities like London, Tokyo, Moscow, and Dubai city, to name a few, which are almost entirely homogeneous. And, on the flip side, all the diverse regions of the world that are a complete disaster! What he's trying to achieve with his argument is admirable but the evidence seems to be a lot of hot air.

11 January, 2008 18:44  
Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

I just listened to a podcast with Scott Page where he lays out his argument with clarity and nuance, and I take back my comment above. His argument is actually quite sound and reasonable. The New York Times did a terrible job of getting at the essence of his thesis! They made it seem as if he was implying that diversity intrinsically trumps ability and that's far from what he's saying.

11 January, 2008 19:33  

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