The Importance of Studying Mythology and Folklore

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Strangers In Their Own Land" by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is disinvestment in the public sector? Why is this harmful and why do governments do it?

Disinvestment in the public sector is a decision by the government to take funds out of public services, while keeping taxes for businesses and the wealthy low. Even though this has consequences for average people,

Read more about disinvestment in the public sector and what it means.

Disinvestment in the Public Sector

The state of Louisiana, where we’ll focus our analysis, ranks near the very bottom of all 50 states across most quality-of-life measurements, including life expectancy, health outcomes, median income, educational attainment, and pollution. Here, Republican politicians offer minimal public investments in services like healthcare, social insurance, and education, while keeping taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals low.

Meanwhile, their anti-regulatory agenda allows the powerful oil and petrochemical industries to pollute the state’s air and drinking water, leading to some of the nation’s highest cancer rates for residents. It would seem that if any state would stand to benefit from a more activist government committed to investments in public goods and one less friendly to business interests, it would be Louisiana. The paradox runs even deeper when you consider the fact that, for all of the state’s anti-federal rhetoric, it is in fact highly dependent on federal largesse—with a full 44 percent of the state budget coming from Washington.

But this is clearly not how Louisianans see it, particularly those living around Lake Charles in the southwest corner of the state—the epicenter of the state’s sprawling extraction industry. Since 1972, Louisiana has voted Republican in nine out of 12 presidential elections, and it gave President Donald Trump one of his largest margins in 2016.

Disinvestment in the public sector seems illogical, but many people continue to vote for people who enforce these policies.

Disinvestment in Public Sector & Low Quality of Life

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Here's what you'll find in our full Strangers In Their Own Land summary:

  • What drives right-wing politics in America
  • How a lack of empathy is increasing the partisan divide
  • Why Republican politicians remain popular even if their policies don't help their voters

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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