Jens Kurt Heycke was educated in Economics and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago, the London School of Economics, and Princeton University.
He worked as an early employee and executive in several successful technology startups, including one that pioneered the mobile Internet and produced software installed in more than a billion mobile phones.
Since retiring from high tech, he has worked as a writer and independent researcher, conducting field research around the world, from Bosnia to Botswana.
He is an internationally competitive masters cyclist, winning a bronze medal at the World Masters Games and top-ten places in other world championship events.
On this episode, Jens shares his one way ticket to a future America that fully realizes the melting pot ideal.
Plus, he shares ideas and introduces us to historical figures as outlined in his book: “Out of the Melting Pot, Into the Fire: Multiculturalism in the World’s Past and America’s Future”. These include:
- Ibn Khaldun, the 14th century North African father of sociology who introduced the notion of “asabiyah”, which scholars have translated to mean “social cohesion”, “group consciousness” or “esprit de corps”, and how without it, a nation falls apart
- How a melting pot has always been a two-way process whereby immigrants adapt to the nation and the nation adapts to immigrants
- Soft Multiculturalism which fits into the melting pot paradigm where cultures are respected and welcomed vs. Hard Multiculturalism or Multicultural Particularism where ethnicities remain separate, thereby not allowing for a shared culture to flourish
- Examples of countries that adopted “asabiyah” to great success including, Botswana and Singapore and eventually after its horrific genocide, Rwanda
- Examples of countries that pitted one ethnic group against another to disastrous effect, including Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Sri Lanka
- Ethnic opportunists
- Questioning DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) programs and whether there are measures in place to quantify their success
- How ethnic unity promotes economic success.
Jens maintains the answer to segregation isn’t more segregation, which he believes is a path we’re currently going down in the US. To remedy this, he calls for: Ending group distinctions, ceasing to pit one group against another, national team building exercises (borrowing from the “umaganda” example in Rwanda), and a type of national service program to foster social cohesion.