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Book Review “Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What American Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas” By Erica Grieder

Texas is considered one of the most controversial America’s states. Many people living in Texas are poor, the Evangelicals possess power, and the country has the busiest death row. People living outside Texas feel offended by the state’s politics and attitude. However,

Erica Grieder believes that there is much that the United States can learn from Texas. In the book “Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right“, Grieder attributes that the political past of a state is at all times more vital than life (Grieder 16).

Greider is a Texan and a journalist, Erica Grieder narrates confidently about Texas. The economy of the country has been flourishing over the years. This success stories have had a lot of impact on a certain group of writers who describes the state in some weird rebut stories concerning “Texas miracle’. Erica Grieder points out that their stories have resulted in a widespread notion that Texas is a corrupt, racist, confrontational, and callous and a dangerous state. People perceive that there is nothing new about Texas. But the author of “Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What American Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas” Erica Grieder, who has initially a correspondent for The Economist, has countered this notion and explain the reason the economy is flourishing.

The author addresses Texas rough beginnings intertwined with a passion for business and the long-standing suspicion of the state intrusion. Erica Grieder can assess the present situation by looking at the combinations of policies on subjects like immigration, regulation, taxes, debt, and energy. These policies in conjunction have steered Texas into higher heights regarding economic growth. Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right can acknowledge that Texas still has plenty of twenty-first-century challenges to face.

Erica Grieder book is a fascinating book that explores the America’s underrated powerhouse. The book elaborates the success of Texas amid the various problems especially the model of governance whose power according to Greider has been drastically underestimated.

It is much simpler to comprehend the achievements of Texas as compared with duplicating them. The author shows that what might be copied is the so-called Texas model. The model represents the weak state government having few regulations, taxes, and services. The model is fundamentally distinct from “commitment to small government.” Grieder is not clear if Texas model is applicable or even suitable for any other state. However, she notes that it would be harder to imitate the state’s civil DNA which embodies attributes that can be tracked back to the foundation of Texas as a stand-alone state (Grieda 24). That was independent and wary of Washington, its transition into the cowboy era where Texas was self-reliant and fraternal. And finally transition to the 20th century characterized by entrepreneurial culture, and the introduction of oil. Ms. Grieder describes all the attributes of these era’s to provide a good environment for commercial growth: “pragmatic, fiscally and socially moderate, and slightly loose.”

I tend to perceive at an analysis that attributes a state or an organization to events of the past. However, Grieder’s lessons of the past are fundamentally persuasive. Texas balanced aspects of weak government, few regulation, and low taxes is based on the state constitution established in the year 1876 whose foundation was an effort to take fervently apart an oppressive post-civil war administration of fundamental leaders. Individuals began to be interested in business leading to the flourishing of business in Texas cities because of the antitrust law passed to ensure that production of national oil and natural resources is under the watch of the local government (Grieder 64).

Grieder alludes that Texas was not a clear-cut business state but rather a pro-Texas. However, the recent development that resulted in the economic boom is as a result of good planning and some degree of luck. Strict lending laws enabled Texas to evade the recession and the housing collapse. Similarly, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement cemented the way for the development of the Texas’ export sector.

However, “the secret ingredient” as Grieder puts it, is the industrial policy fo the Government of Rick Perry. The system offered sufficient subsidies and incentives for investors thus attracting more entrepreneurs. The outcome was diversified traditional energy-based economy Thus, insulating the Texas economy from the cyclic nature of oil prices. Grieder also states that the Texas model did not come by accident but rather founded on Texas long tradition of extending beyond the government to look for support.  That lead to the revolution of Texas State as it was backed-up by the rise of the cattle kingdom of the cowboys and ultimately the oil ventures. When systems and laws are stripped, Grieder puts a lot of emphasis on the fundamental component in the Texas business success to its citizens. The citizens easily forget, are tolerant, results oriented and optimistic. That is why Houston, a city that sometimes is believed to have liberal minded individuals elected an openly gay mayor in the year 2009. The state also enjoys having a mixed population because of immigration after the civil war that has continued up to today.

These foreign individuals migrating to Texas tend to be very hardworking and self-sufficient individuals. On the same note, the pro-business nature of Texas has made it possible for job opportunities to be forthcoming. Immigrants tend to look at the good politicians elected to Texas and make an assumption that Texas electorate must be similar. Grieder goes ahead to describe Texas voters to be ambivalent about politics; this is mainly because of the state constitution that limits the power of politicians. As such, politicians tend to do little harm to the country.

Greider writes that Texans are pragmatic, and the politicians and their excesses can be proofed only by the economy. She also points that that’s one of the areas where no Texan has been disappointed. Therefore, people don’t give a damn whether state leaders come to rallies, pray for rain, breathe fire or even keep on suing the federal government (Grieder 76). She concludes that Texas is such a good place to live and proves her point by citing that several million people have migrated to Texas recently.

One of the primary themes is that by its appropriation each weird thing concerning Texas was already in place. Grieder describes Texas as a bastion of conservative notions, founded on the Texas model. Towards the end of the book, Grieder discusses the chances that Texas might one day change from the red state status to a blue state status.

The book is kind of attractive to any person who is proud or curious about Texas. Readers who want to dig deep into current politics of Texas also find the book fascinating. This is partly because of the author’s use of clear, vivid description that makes the book good to read. The author is much more promising, and the book is essentially a promising debut.



Works Cited

Grieder, Erica. Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas. PublicAffairs, 2014.



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