Beneficent Polluters

Why Louisianans blame government, not corporations, for pollution problems” — PBS Newshour, 2019, 9:51

Who do you blame for pollution in your neck of the woods? If you ask folks in Louisiana, their answers appear to place blame on the government as opposed to corporate polluters. After all, corporations provide jobs while the government takes your money and spends it ineffectively. The blame may be misplaced in this situation, but sociologist Arlie Hochschild thinks she knows why: corporations have colonized Louisiana’s state government. This has resulted in a feeling of betrayal among residents who see little benefits from their tax dollars but significantly more benefits from their corporate “neighbors”.

What other sociological concepts or theories are evident in this news segment? How might we make public sentiments more government-friendly? Who should bare the responsibility of cleaning up this toxic mess?

From the video’s description: UC Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild traveled to Louisiana, the second-poorest state, to explore why its neediest populations simultaneously rely on federal aid and reject the concept of “big government.” As Paul Solman reports, the author and professor discovered many residents feel betrayed by their state's government for failing to protect them from toxic pollution that risks their health.