The costs of homogeneity

For a long time, Bhutan has prized our homogenous people, culture and society as a great strength in dealing with all kinds of challenges.

We operate well as a collective or as a team being disciplined and the best example of that was during the pandemic.

However, it is time we should start looking at the drawbacks of this homogeneity and perhaps look at paving a more balanced path forward in touch with the times. 

One of the signs of societal homogeneity is that we are great at following orders and coordinating with each other almost like a hive mind, but we are not very good at analyzing issues, asking questions and coming up with solutions.

This is when this modern age demands creativity, innovation, an open mind and an ability to look at multiple aspects of an issue.

This homogenous mind set is costing is far more then we know or are willing to admit.

An aspect of this homogenous mindset was on display during the early stages of the Punatsangchu I project where we trusted external consultants and experts so blindly that we did not bother to double check or even look deeper at some troublesome clues early on about the right bank.

Another example is us accepting blindly the invoices sent by Indian Oil companies to us blindly for decades not bothering to find out or even question why Nepal is paying lesser than us or what are the hidden charges and the break up of fuel prices.

It took this paper to point out the issues in a series of investigative articles that contributed to a drop in the fuel prices.

One of the dangers of a homogenous mindset is that while we are quick to come together for the nation or for each other, we are also quick to panic.

A small example is long lines at the fuel stations triggered by even the slightest rumors.

A bigger example of this is the mass exodus to Australia where many are going just because others are going almost like a herd stampede.

Our unity and homogeneity are our strengths, but it is time we also learn to think deeper for ourselves, have differing opinions, analyze, question and examine instead of just following the crowd.

The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.
Herbert Spencer

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