Zuhlke Publishes Book on Americans' Distrust of Government and Regulated Drinking Water
Samantha Zuhlke, research fellow in the Environmental Policy Research Program, published a book on the consumerism of water and lack of confidence in American government. The Profits of Distrust: Citizen-Consumers, Drinking Water, and the Crisis of Confidence in American Government is co-authored by Manuel P. Teodoro and David Switzer.
The book examines the paradox of the bottled water industry, why consumers opt for expensive bottled water rather than rigorously regulated tap water, through a variety of data on public opinion, consumer behavior, political participation, geography. As the bedrock of democratic legitimacy, basic services cause citizen-consumers to abandon government in favor of commercial competitors when they fail. This cycle of distrust threatens democracy while commercial firms reap the profits. The research concludes that, "rebuilding confidence in American democracy starts with literally rebuilding the basic infrastructure that sustains life."