Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Economy

- By Aryaki Sethi

Can promoting cultural diversity make us richer? There exists a wide consensus in the economic community that ‘human capital’ is the most uncertain and dynamic factor of any business. It can boost growth at an unpredictable and astonishing pace. Simultaneously, we also know that there is consensus in the psychological community that culture affects personality, attitudes, behaviour and most importantly, productivity. It stimulates originality and authenticity. The Indian society is both culturally diverse and aggressively pushing economic growth. Then, how can we combine these two principles for a better nation?

The United Nations states that three-fourths of all conflicts arise due to a lack of understanding of diversity. This is a pressing concern to our society, so naturally, the economic effects are devastating. The first response of a nation to international conflict is imposing trade barriers. The world of globalization that we live in, a large portion of our nation’s income is a result of exports, while on the other hand, imports of certain products are essential for many Indian manufacturers. Hence, in the absence of appropriate conflict resolution, there is a desire to assert dominance and more often than not, this leads to war. War and violence that lead to a great loss of life and property. The tremors of such drastic actions can be felt in the economic, social, and cultural development of the society till years after. So, societies are accepting and peaceful to protect themselves against such painful experiences.

How can cultural diversity help businesses? People that come from different ethnic backgrounds bring with them a pool of skills, competency, and experiences that are unique to them. They help with understanding how audiences from specific cultures may perceive the product by bringing a fresh viewpoint. This ensures that the products have mass appeal and are sensitive towards people of all cultures. Moreover, including different viewpoints has the domino-effect of including different ideas. Innovation is stimulated by such ideas and organization heads are persuaded to adopt newer technologies. Finally, culture is a source of strength for all humanity. So, employees want to work better for an organization that is sensitive and inclusive.

In today’s world, simply acceptance of diversity is not enough, it is important to create opportunities for diversity to flourish, both socially and economically. India with 38 UNESCO World Heritage sites, a vast intangible culture( folklore, languages, traditions) and natural heritage has no shortage of such cultural diversity. The most effective way to create opportunities is to establish a creative economy. The creative industry refers to business pursuits that make use of the creativity of a person and often, have cultural origins. These include the performing arts, cultural sites, folk art, and much more. It constitutes 3% of the world’s GDP and employs over 29.5 million people. Such industries help empower communities and help them financially support their families while embracing their cultural values. They are known to produce innovative and unique products and services. Creative economies have also employed women, tribals, and rural populations who are often shunned away by the technological economy of the urbanized cities. It ensures representation and respect for these communities.

Studies have shown that the increase of diversity in India after the 1980s can be credited to the economic explosion at the time. Alongside this, immigration of Indians to other countries has led to higher earnings and their ability to send more money back home. Such immigration has been possible for many due to community support and cultural belonging. Thus, cultural diversity has enabled India to be part of the global community and is indeed, the greatest asset to our economy as well.


Must read:

Aryaki Singh

About the Author

Aryaki Sethi is a content writer and mental health advocate. She is currently pursuing Bachelor of Applied Science , Psychology and Health Sciences from the University of Toronto Scarborough.