This is a follow-up to my post called “Governments shutting down services”. Tammy Bruce talked about a couple articles on the decline of Detroit, MI. One is on Detroit Mayor Bing’s plan to relocate some residents because they live in areas of the city that are largely abandoned, where the government sees no hope for recovery. The other is an article based on the account written by a Detroit blogger, which says that Nature is reclaiming parts of Detroit. New meadows and prairies are appearing that used to be developed. Wild animals are reclaiming parts of the city. The account reminds me of old Manhattan Island when it was a developing city settlement that coexisted with lush forests and country farmers who lived in sparsely populated areas.
Since 1950 Detroit has lost about 900,000 residents. Many of them have moved to Detroit’s suburbs. Unlike New Orleans, which lost a significant amount of its population due to Hurricane Katrina, there is no big push behind a recovery plan. A big reason for this is that Detroit was not hit by a natural disaster. This “disaster” has come about largely because Detroit “bet the farm” on the auto industry, which has been in decline for decades. Another cause that I think is unavoidable is Michigan’s economic policies. By this I mean their inflexibility. From the ads I’ve been seeing on TV they seem to be trying to welcome entrepreneurs, perhaps for the first time. What I’ve been hearing, though, is that Michigan’s government still doesn’t understand how to spur economic growth. So while they get points for effort, they have more to learn to really succeed.
Reviewing this information, and information from other sources, I’ve begun to wonder if we may someday see cities in California suffering a similar fate. Since the 1990s there has been an outward migration of residents from California to other parts of the country. Detroit’s and Michigan’s economic decline has taken about 4 decades. California is a larger state. So it may take longer. Then again, there is the old saying, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
Edit 6-16-10: Here is a very good video analysis of “What happened to Detroit”, showing its current state of decay, done by Steven Crowder:
A question that came into my mind as I was watching this is, “If Detroit is the poster child of liberal policies, and the decrepitude it causes, why didn’t this happen to New York City?” New York has had more “political diversity” than Detroit has. It’s had liberal, moderate, and conservative mayors. For a time New York City was bankrupt and in a state of decay. Then they elected Rudy Giuliani… But then the question came to mind, “What about San Francisco?” One of the most, if not THE most, liberal cities in the country. I don’t have an answer for that one. I can say though that Los Angeles is nearly bankrupt right now.