Which state is the most republican
America: The Mormon state of Utah relies on growth through low wages and archaic virtues: Money and belief
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Compared to the rest of America, Utah's workers are more educated and productive, said Fred Ball, president of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "Because the Mormons take what the Bible says quite literally," says Ball, the workforce is also as young as anywhere else: only Alaska has a higher birthrate. The thousands of young men (and a few women) whom the Church sends year after year as missionaries around the world have an even greater impact on Utah's economic development. You will return with exceptional foreign language skills. Residents of the state speak ninety percent of all written languages on earth. "One phone call is all it takes to find someone who speaks Korean," assures Ball - or Lao and Tagalog.
Being able to hire employees with Mandarin skills was one of the most important reasons for the Taiwanese computer company Compaq to look for a domicile in Utah. American Express set up a telephone service that answers inquiries from customers all over the world. Delta handles international reservations in Salt Lake. "Language and work ethic are Utah's best selling points," said Lieutenant Governor Val Oveson.
The unemployment rate is only 5.1 percent, a good quarter lower than in the rest of America. It wasn't always like this: in the early 1980s, Utah's mining and steel industries collapsed and thousands lost their jobs. But only a short time later, young companies from other sectors took the place of the previously dominant heavy industry. Today Utah is home to 180 high-tech companies, among them such well-known names as software manufacturers Novell and WordPerfect. Two dozen companies have moved their headquarters from California to the industrial belt around the cities of Salt Lake City and Provo.
They were also drawn to wages that are around fifteen percent below the American average. Unions hardly play a role in Utah. The government is also doing everything to make a company attractive: When the aviation company McDonnell Douglas (MDD) considered settling near Salt Lake, even the boundaries of an electoral district were changed in order to ignore a politician critical of the MDD .
No wonder that's why magazines like Fortune write, investing in Utah paid off. But not every newcomer feels comfortable: women earn barely half as much as men. Polygamy is not legal, but it still exists in the country. Because wages are often barely enough to support a family, around one in ten residents lives below the poverty line. Concerns about the environment are growing because of air pollution.
In politics, Utah has remained extremely conservative: in 1984, 75 percent voted Ronald Reagan, in 1988 66 percent of the vote went to George Bush. This makes Utah the most republican state in America. The ideals of the 1950s, says Norman Bangerter, the governor of Utah, lived on here unbroken. But that's where the godly politician paints the picture. The modern age has long since found its way into the land of the Mormons. Nowhere are so many drugs prescribed for mental depression as in Utah. In Salt Lake City, the crime rate has doubled since 1980.
Fifteen years ago, three-quarters of the capital's population were Mormons; today it is only forty percent. In order to satisfy new settlers and millions of tourists, the strict alcohol regulations have been relaxed despite religious concerns. In 2002 the salt lake state plans to host the Winter Olympics. "Our state is globally oriented," says Chamber President Fred Ball. Utah is no longer isolated from the world.
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