Island Dweller with a retrospective on the Death of Detroit; well worth your time and attention so heed:
Most illustrious sultan of the steppes:
This post is just a couple of observations about Detroit’s demise.
I am a native of the metro Detroit area, but have not resided there since the fall of 1987. I still follow events there, though.
Dad’s family moved to Detroit from Canada in the 1920s, and he considered the area home. Even though he died in 1982, long before then he predicted what has just come to pass. There may be other members of your audience who can trace their roots to Detroit or the surrounding areas. We can remember the late 1950s and the 1960s when Detroit was a powerhouse of economic activity, when jobs were plentiful, when you were advised by your counselors in high school to try for a job with one of the Big 3, because then you would be set for life. The auto industry was king. Wages were high there, with the result they elevated other wages in associated industries, which in turn ultimately tended to keep other folks’ wages higher than average in the country. City services were very good. The PD was professional. There seemed to be no end in sight to this upward economic spiral.
Then the imported autos began to show up, quality-built imported autos that lasted, and for less money. People began to gravitate toward them and the writing was on the wall for the auto industry. The rest is history which has been so well described elsewhere in this blog, and on the net.
Dad wasn’t the only one who could see what was going to happen. Other visitors to this site with a Detroit background may remember a TV talk show host who had a regular program (nationally-syndicated from Detroit) on WKBD-TV Channel 50, on Saturday and Sunday evenings. His name was Lou Gordon. Gordon had a tough, no-compromise interviewing style and was very good with “gotcha” questions. I remember one evening (late 1970 – early 71?) him becoming so upset with then Detroit mayor Roman Gribbs, who was saying there was no resident/business flight from the city, Detroit was still a fine place to live and do business, etc. Mr. Gordon produced from beneath his desk the previous year’s White/Yellow Pages (fat), and the current year’s White/Yellow Pages (definitely not so fat), and placing them on the desk, edge toward the camera. He challenged Gribbs to come on his program to explain the differences in the directories, and what that difference portended. The offer was never accepted, and I never forgot the episode.
As you have so correctly stated, what happened to a once-vibrant community was caused by greedy public-sector unions, a series of compliant liberal mayors beholden to those unions for their jobs, and grossly-inflated wages in an industry rife with hubris and so terribly vulnerable to underestimated foreign competition, There are other factors but IMHO those are the key ones. I know – I saw it happen.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.