Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Future of Our Cities

 

Buildings on Hamilton Avenue, Detroit.
In 1968, in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, a great many American cities were engulfed by riots. In one such city – Detroit – the mayor, a well-meaning liberal Democrat named Jerome Cavanaugh, made a fateful decision to rein in the police and let the riot burn itself out. To his judgment, the state’s governor – George Romney – deferred, and the riots went on for five full days. “Burn, baby, burn,” they said. And burn it did.

Eighteen years before, Detroit had been the richest city in the United States – with a per capita income exceeding that in every other urban area in the country. By 1968, it was no longer so well situated. But it was prosperous. It was vibrant. The architecture was stunning; the churches, beautiful; the picture palaces, a wonder.

Thanks to Cavanaugh’s decision, all of this in time disappeared. Every major black-owned company, including Motown Records, abandoned Detroit soon after the riots. The white-owned companies soon followed suit, and Detroit gradually descended into anarchy. By the time that I moved to Michigan in 2007, it was a wasteland resembling a bombed-out city or a town rendered virtually uninhabitable long before by the plague. Among the vast multitude of houses left derelict was the abode where Governor Romney, then an auto executive, had reared his young son Mitt. Never in human history, to the best of my knowledge, has anything like this happened to a city absent war or an epidemic.

All of this took place for one reason. In Detroit, you weren’t safe, and your property wasn’t either. Law and order are the key to prosperity. Law and order are necessary to civilized life, and civilized life is not what one had come to associate with Detroit.

Detroit was not the last such city. A few years ago, a similar riot took place in Baltimore, and the mayor acted as Jerome Kavanaugh had, restraining the police and allowing the rioters free rein. In the aftermath, the police force was cut, and much of Baltimore descended into anarchy. No one in his right mind would go to live there now. Baltimore is gone.

In the last three weeks, cities all across the country have experienced similar riots – replete with property damage, looting, arson, and murder. In virtually all of our cities – including Minneapolis, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Denver, and Atlanta – mayors have followed the Kavanaugh playbook and governors have stood aside. The mainstream press, what remains of it, has played down the damage done and the violence, and nearly all of the television networks have done the same. But that has not changed the facts. The people who live in or near these cities know what has happened, and they know that neither they nor their property will be protected by the police. In the interim, there have been calls for defunding the police, and they have been taken up by the Minneapolis City Council, the mayors of New York City and Los Angeles, and a great many other local officials. In Denver, the school board voted unanimously to withdraw the police from the public schools.

Unless there is a dramatic reversal – and there is no reason to expect one now or in the near future – what has been done by the authorities in the last three weeks is going to lead to a withdrawal from our cities. No one is going to want to live in an urban area where person and property are unsafe, and what I am saying applies to our fellow citizens of color at least as emphatically, if not more so. Why would any African-American want to live in the southside of Chicago? Next to no one there can afford a car, and the grocery stores have all been looted or burned to the ground. By the same token, why would anyone want to live in Georgetown where the stores are all boarded up and looters were allowed to run free?

There are thugs everywhere. There have always been thugs everywhere, and that will never change. They can be contained; they can be restrained – but not without rigorous policy and lengthy prison terms. America’s great cities are about to follow Detroit . . . into a nightmare world.

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  1. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Paul A. Rahe: Thanks to Cavanaugh’s decision, all of this in time disappeared. Every major black-owned company, including Motown Records, abandoned Detroit soon after the riots. The white-owned companies soon followed suit, and Detroit gradually descended into anarchy. By the time that I moved to Michigan in 2007, it was a wasteland resembling a bombed-out city or a town rendered virtually uninhabitable long before by the plague. Among the vast multitude of houses left derelict was the abode where Governor Romney, then an auto executive, had reared his young son Mitt. Never in human history, to the best of my knowledge, has anything like this happened to a city absent war or an epidemic.

    Paul,

    This current situation is due to two factors. First, twisted Marxist ideology that will try to obtain its amoral end by any means necessary. Second, a new naive generation that doesn’t recognize the awful cost of miscalculating and allowing the monsters to run amok.

    The damage won’t be repaired for decades if at all.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • June 16, 2020, at 2:39 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A comment I made in one of my first posts here comes to my mind:

    This didn’t involve an army crossing a border, or a bomb being dropped, or an outbreak of some hideous plague, or even little green guys in flying saucers.

    They did this to themselves.

    • #2
    • June 16, 2020, at 3:07 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  3. Franz Drumlin Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Second, a new naive generation that doesn’t recognize the awful cost of miscalculating and allowing the monsters to run amok.

     

    But let’s not forget the older folks who’ve put in office the same class of craven nest-feathering, rent-seeking, tax-sopping, job-killing mediocrities election after election after election after election. It needed no hordes of Barbarians to sweep in from the far plains; we done it mostly ourselves.

    • #3
    • June 16, 2020, at 3:19 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noDJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Detroit is also an example of The Curley Effect.

    The Curley Effect: The Economics of Shaping the Electorate
    Edward L. Glaeser, Andrei Shleifer, Harvard University

    (This pretty much needs a separate post.)

    Not named after the famous Stooge, but instead after James Curley, mayor of Boston. 

    Basically… The traditional way of being reelected is to do a really good job in your position. But another approach is to drive away those would vote against you.


    It’s also illustrative to look at the population of Detroit, or any city for that matter, over time. Wikipedia does a really good job of this. Here’s Detroit:

    See any trends here?

    • #4
    • June 16, 2020, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  5. garyinabq Member

    Paul, I’m so pleased to see you post. I know you have a long view of history as Soft Despotism is sitting on the shelf behind me. Where is today’s Tocqueville? Please keep it up and put today’s craziness in historical context when you can.

    • #5
    • June 16, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Detroit is also an example of The Curley Effect.

    The Curley Effect: The Economics of Shaping the Electorate
    Edward L. Glaeser, Andrei Shleifer, Harvard University

    (This pretty much needs a separate post.)

    Not named after the famous Stooge, but instead after James Curley, mayor of Boston.

    Basically… The traditional way of being reelected is to do a really good job in your position. But another approach is to drive away those would vote against you.


    It’s also illustrative to look at the population of Detroit, or any city for that matter, over time. Wikipedia does a really good job of this. Here’s Detroit:

    See any trends here?

    Fascinating. In 1963 or 1964, I met the son of James Curley. He was a Jesuit.

    • #6
    • June 16, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Detroit is also an example of The Curley Effect.

    The Curley Effect: The Economics of Shaping the Electorate
    Edward L. Glaeser, Andrei Shleifer, Harvard University

    (This pretty much needs a separate post.)

    Not named after the famous Stooge, but instead after James Curley, mayor of Boston.

    Basically… The traditional way of being reelected is to do a really good job in your position. But another approach is to drive away those would vote against you.


    It’s also illustrative to look at the population of Detroit, or any city for that matter, over time. Wikipedia does a really good job of this. Here’s Detroit:

    See any trends here?

    Fascinating. In 1963 or 1964, I met the son of James Curley. He was a Jesuit.

    That’s quite an opening for a Protestant heretic like me, but I’ll pass.

    An interesting thesis about the Curley effect. I hadn’t heard of it before.

    I’m not sure how much the racial demographic change was a cause of the decline of Detroit. Per Wikipedia (here), the population was 9% black in 1940; 16% in 1950; 28% in 1960; 43% in 1970; and 63% in 1980. It is now 82%.

    Though the overall population declined precipitously after 1950, the black population continued to increase until 1990.

    I’m sure the situation is complicated, and don’t know what conclusion should be drawn. The rates of crime, illegitimacy, and other social problems have been significantly higher among black Americans than white Americans for a long time (since 1940 for illegitimacy; I’m not sure how long the crime rate gap has existed). So it is possible that a large influx of black folks brought serious social problems. On the other hand, perhaps not. It might just be that welfare policies failed, the riot dealt a terrible blow to a city that was already in trouble, and everyone who could do so got out — leaving the poorer folks, who were mostly black.

    It is quite a tragedy and a lesson.

    I remember how strange it was to see this song by John Davidson from The Happiest Millionaire, a 1967 musical:

    By the time I saw it, probably in the late 80s or 90s, the idea of a romantic song about Detroit was just bizarre. I mean, like singing excitedly about going to Dresden or Hiroshima or Beirut.

    • #7
    • June 16, 2020, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Some cities have a little more leeway than others. In December of 1992, “60 Minutes” ran a segment entitled ‘The Wild Man of 96th Street’ on Larry Hogue, a psychotic drug addict who terrorized the Upper West Side of Manhattan and was continuously released back onto the street by city law enforcement and health officials. What made it interesting in hindsight was 11 months before Rudy Giuliani was elected, airing the segment to a national audience on CBS was basically the Upper West Side of Manhattan — one of the most progressive places in the country — yelling ‘help!’ The progressives of the area had finally reached their level of tolerance on high crime, lower quality-of-life, and the city government’s inability or unwillingness to do anything about it.

    But it was 27 years after New York elected John Lindsay as mayor, and 28 years after the Kitty Genovese murder let the world know something was going wrong with crime in the city. That New York was able to bounce back in only a few years under Giuliani — extended to a 20-year period of calm under Michael Bloomberg — was due to the enticements the city had for enough people to be willing to put up with three decades of plunging quality of life. Most cities can’t futz around for a quarter-century and recover from the tailspin, as Detroit and Newark showed after their late 1960s collapses.

    But as with New York, you can’t help the city if the voters in the city don’t want help, to where ideological solidarity is more important than trying new things with new political leadership. Baltimore almost put one of their disgraced, corrupt former mayors back into office last week, and Detroit voters wouldn’t change their ways until the city went insolvent and the state had to take over. If voters in cities around the nation hit by recent rioting are content to elect the same types of politicians with the same type of ideology to office in the future, they’re just going to get the same results

    • #8
    • June 16, 2020, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Columbo Member

    • #9
    • June 16, 2020, at 5:25 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  10. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noDJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Paul A. Rahe: In the last three weeks, cities all across the country have experienced similar riots – replete with property damage, looting, arson, and murder. In virtually all of our cities – including Minneapolis, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Denver, and Atlanta – mayors have followed the Kavanaugh playbook and governors have stood aside.

    I’ll throw out the suggestion that the mayors of these cities are working with the rioters, with the goal of creating something to blame on the current president during an election year. 

     

    • #10
    • June 16, 2020, at 5:29 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  11. WI Con Member
    WI ConJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Perhaps it is time to consider (reconsider) the making the practice of “Redlining” and legal segregation in housing, schools and business (along with accompanying city representation/budgeting & taxing authority by sector) before all cities and urban areas empty out. I’d me more open to remaining in the urban area I currently am if I could be assured that the property values, the school demographics wouldn’t be jeopardized by an influx of undesirables. 

    For those residents that want the integrated lifestyle, fine. Rent or buy in that area. Send your kids to school there and be subject to that curricula. For those that want it homogeneous, select your neighborhood.

    Let’s drop the pretense already. Most people, even on ‘The Right’ won’t come out and say they’re trying to get away from the Blacks. Whatever goodwill there once was has evaporated. Let’s recognize it, move on and maybe in the process, the cities won’t be emptied of everyone but the worst.

    • #11
    • June 16, 2020, at 5:43 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Perhaps it is time to consider (reconsider) the making the practice of “Redlining” and legal segregation in housing, schools and business (along with accompanying city representation/budgeting & taxing authority by sector) before all cities and urban areas empty out. I’d me more open to remaining in the urban area I currently am if I could be assured that the property values, the school demographics wouldn’t be jeopardized by an influx of undesirables.

    For those residents that want the integrated lifestyle, fine. Rent or buy in that area. Send your kids to school there and be subject to that curricula. For those that want it homogeneous, select your neighborhood.

    Let’s drop the pretense already. Most people, even on ‘The Right’ won’t come out and say they’re trying to get away from the Blacks. Whatever goodwill there once was has evaporated. Let’s recognize it, move on and maybe in the process, the cities won’t be emptied of everyone but the worst.

    I do not know a single conservative who would agree. Integration is the only way to go.

    • #12
    • June 17, 2020, at 6:44 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. WI Con Member
    WI ConJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Perhaps it is time to consider (reconsider) the making the practice of “Redlining” and legal segregation in housing, schools and business (along with accompanying city representation/budgeting & taxing authority by sector) before all cities and urban areas empty out. I’d me more open to remaining in the urban area I currently am if I could be assured that the property values, the school demographics wouldn’t be jeopardized by an influx of undesirables.

    For those residents that want the integrated lifestyle, fine. Rent or buy in that area. Send your kids to school there and be subject to that curricula. For those that want it homogeneous, select your neighborhood.

    Let’s drop the pretense already. Most people, even on ‘The Right’ won’t come out and say they’re trying to get away from the Blacks. Whatever goodwill there once was has evaporated. Let’s recognize it, move on and maybe in the process, the cities won’t be emptied of everyone but the worst.

    I do not know a single conservative who would agree. Integration is the only way to go.

    It’s tough stuff, I don’t take pleasure in coming to these conclusions but a look at the settlement & purchasing decisions of ten’s of millions of home owners throughout the United States indicate massive evidence that there are millions of people that trend toward just that viewpoint. 

    You’re not commuting to Hilsdsle from Detroit are you professor? Did you live in Oakland and commute to Stanford? 

    I’ll concede it is some tough stuff I’m advocating. You disagree with the Great Society programs, you’ve identified the shame, danger and hopelessness of the cities and are advocating what exactly? More police, end/curtail police and educational unions, some pension reform/restructuring and people of all races and incomes will flock back to these cities? Do you think those people that came back to NYC after the 60’s and 70’s exodus are going to do so yet again after this latest round of unrest? After another Gulliani figure cleans up after DeBlasio? That people will just leave, clean up, reinvest, riot again, leave again, reinvest again?

    It is unfortunately time to recognize that integration has failed, understand why before spending another 60 years and 22 trillion on something that hasn’t performed as hoped for. 

    • #13
    • June 17, 2020, at 10:00 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noDJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The mechanism of failure is not with the cities themselves, but with how these cities are being run.

    A city is an enormous collection of resources and assets, and those can fuel massive of growth and prosperity. But they can also be drained through fraud, waste, mismanagement, and graft. And there is a lot of incentive for the latter. And one party rule, with no competition, and no checks and balances, accelerates this.

    I think it’s pretty clear that the problem with these cities is that they’ve been under one party rule for roughly 60 years.

    Got to blame Republicans for this; they’ve been too stupid to even show up.

    • #14
    • June 17, 2020, at 10:59 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noDJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Right now there is an otherwise impossible opportunity.

    For each of these cities listed above, we could run a slate of mayors, city council members, commissioners, whatever. And they would all be working together, a united front. And they would have a common platform of literally not setting the city on fire.

    It could actually be pretty easy.

    • #15
    • June 17, 2020, at 11:12 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Perhaps it is time to consider (reconsider) the making the practice of “Redlining” and legal segregation in housing, schools and business (along with accompanying city representation/budgeting & taxing authority by sector) before all cities and urban areas empty out. I’d me more open to remaining in the urban area I currently am if I could be assured that the property values, the school demographics wouldn’t be jeopardized by an influx of undesirables.

    For those residents that want the integrated lifestyle, fine. Rent or buy in that area. Send your kids to school there and be subject to that curricula. For those that want it homogeneous, select your neighborhood.

    Let’s drop the pretense already. Most people, even on ‘The Right’ won’t come out and say they’re trying to get away from the Blacks. Whatever goodwill there once was has evaporated. Let’s recognize it, move on and maybe in the process, the cities won’t be emptied of everyone but the worst.

    I do not know a single conservative who would agree. Integration is the only way to go.

    It’s tough stuff, I don’t take pleasure in coming to these conclusions but a look at the settlement & purchasing decisions of ten’s of millions of home owners throughout the United States indicate massive evidence that there are millions of people that trend toward just that viewpoint.

    You’re not commuting to Hilsdsle from Detroit are you professor? Did you live in Oakland and commute to Stanford?

    I’ll concede it is some tough stuff I’m advocating. You disagree with the Great Society programs, you’ve identified the shame, danger and hopelessness of the cities and are advocating what exactly? More police, end/curtail police and educational unions, some pension reform/restructuring and people of all races and incomes will flock back to these cities? Do you think those people that came back to NYC after the 60’s and 70’s exodus are going to do so yet again after this latest round of unrest? After another Gulliani figure cleans up after DeBlasio? That people will just leave, clean up, reinvest, riot again, leave again, reinvest again?

    It is unfortunately time to recognize that integration has failed, understand why before spending another 60 years and 22 trillion on something that hasn’t performed as hoped for.

    The problem isn’t blacks. It’s white progressives.

    • #16
    • June 17, 2020, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  17. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There was a lot more going on in Detroit than just urban unrest. It had basically one and only one industry: automobiles.

    It was multiple punches to Detroit. The urban riots certainly was a problem, but so was the advent of the Japanese challenge, a gas embargo making gas guzzlers a bad idea. And the American auto industry answered the challenge by producing a decade of large rust buckets.

    Washington was probably as badly burned as Detroit. But government never goes into decline.

    My home city (Raleigh, NC) had riots with burning and looting in 1968. The downtown area died while the rest of the city thrived. We’ve had a city council and mayor who have spent a fortune on the downtown area in the last decade with heavily subsidized development. The streets and roads have been neglected and the roads are filled with potholes. Computer software companies (Redhat among them) have been attracted to the downtown area along with high-rise residential buildings that were threatened in recent looting, burning and vandalism. How it will develop remains to be seen.

    • #17
    • June 17, 2020, at 12:02 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  18. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    Chrissie Hynde was on to something back in the 80s, even if she is a flaming liberal* and didn’t realize it at the time.

    *To her credit, she has thanked Trump for some of his actions. She may be flaming, but she’s not mindless.

    • #18
    • June 17, 2020, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Lockdowns are Precious Inactive
    Lockdowns are PreciousJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Detroit is also an example of The Curley Effect.

    The Curley Effect: The Economics of Shaping the Electorate
    Edward L. Glaeser, Andrei Shleifer, Harvard University

    (This pretty much needs a separate post.)

    Not named after the famous Stooge, but instead after James Curley, mayor of Boston.

    Basically… The traditional way of being reelected is to do a really good job in your position. But another approach is to drive away those would vote against you.


    It’s also illustrative to look at the population of Detroit, or any city for that matter, over time. Wikipedia does a really good job of this. Here’s Detroit:

    See any trends here?

    Fascinating. In 1963 or 1964, I met the son of James Curley. He was a Jesuit.

    Actual exchange I was present at between 2 priests:

    Collar 1: After I spoke with him for awhile it became apparent he was an atheist.

    Collar 2: Was he a Jesuit?

    • #19
    • June 17, 2020, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noDJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    There was a lot more going on in Detroit than just urban unrest. It had basically one and only one industry: automobiles.

    It was multiple punches to Detroit. The urban riots certainly was a problem, but so was the advent of the Japanese challenge, a gas embargo making gas guzzlers a bad idea. And the American auto industry answered the challenge by producing a decade of large rust buckets.

    While that’s true…

    US car sales has not changed all that much. It’s pretty much been bopping between 7 and 11 million units sold per year since 1956.

    And some fraction of car production was moved to just outside the city of Detroit. My Chrysler was made just over the border in Windsor, Ontario.

    Regardless, it’s the city government’s responsibility to diversify their economy away from a single industry. I mean, good grief, if you can build a car you can build just about anything.

    [Added:]

    Oh, and last I heard, the towns outside of the Detroit city limits are doing well. So this is specific to the Detroit city government.

    • #20
    • June 17, 2020, at 12:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Right now there is an otherwise impossible opportunity.

    For each of these cities listed above, we could run a slate of mayors, city council members, commissioners, whatever. And they would all be working together, a united front. And they would have a common platform of literally not setting the city on fire.

    It could actually be pretty easy.

    In my next post, which should appear in the next couple of hours, I intimate as much.

    • #21
    • June 17, 2020, at 2:45 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Stina Member

    Hang On (View Comment):
    The problem isn’t blacks. It’s white progressives.

    The white progressives are responsible for policies and attitudes that deteriorate the black populace.

    But there’s a lot currently wrong with the black culture that makes living side by side not a comfortable proposition.

    We make concessions for minority parents to leave crime infested areas through affordable housing projects and subprime mortgages only for the rot to follow them in 10 years time… and then white flight happens again.

    Those are facts… not just subjective opinions. White people flee vibrancy as crime rises and schools deteriorate in failing grades and rising delinquency.

    • #22
    • June 17, 2020, at 3:16 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noDJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Right now there is an otherwise impossible opportunity.

    For each of these cities listed above, we could run a slate of mayors, city council members, commissioners, whatever. And they would all be working together, a united front. And they would have a common platform of literally not setting the city on fire.

    It could actually be pretty easy.

    In my next post, which should appear in the next couple of hours, I intimate as much.

    …And there it is.

    (He wasn’t kidding. “Promises made, promises kept.”)

    • #23
    • June 17, 2020, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Steve C. Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    There was a lot more going on in Detroit than just urban unrest. It had basically one and only one industry: automobiles.

    It was multiple punches to Detroit. The urban riots certainly was a problem, but so was the advent of the Japanese challenge, a gas embargo making gas guzzlers a bad idea. And the American auto industry answered the challenge by producing a decade of large rust buckets.

    Washington was probably as badly burned as Detroit. But government never goes into decline.

    My home city (Raleigh, NC) had riots with burning and looting in 1968. The downtown area died while the rest of the city thrived. We’ve had a city council and mayor who have spent a fortune on the downtown area in the last decade with heavily subsidized development. The streets and roads have been neglected and the roads are filled with potholes. Computer software companies (Redhat among them) have been attracted to the downtown area along with high-rise residential buildings that were threatened in recent looting, burning and vandalism. How it will develop remains to be seen.

    Yes. The decline of auto production is an important aspect. Thank you for mentioning it.

    • #24
    • June 18, 2020, at 5:59 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    There was a lot more going on in Detroit than just urban unrest. It had basically one and only one industry: automobiles.

    It was multiple punches to Detroit. The urban riots certainly was a problem, but so was the advent of the Japanese challenge, a gas embargo making gas guzzlers a bad idea. And the American auto industry answered the challenge by producing a decade of large rust buckets.

    Washington was probably as badly burned as Detroit. But government never goes into decline.

    My home city (Raleigh, NC) had riots with burning and looting in 1968. The downtown area died while the rest of the city thrived. We’ve had a city council and mayor who have spent a fortune on the downtown area in the last decade with heavily subsidized development. The streets and roads have been neglected and the roads are filled with potholes. Computer software companies (Redhat among them) have been attracted to the downtown area along with high-rise residential buildings that were threatened in recent looting, burning and vandalism. How it will develop remains to be seen.

    Yes. The decline of auto production is an important aspect. Thank you for mentioning it.

    The lack of outside competition (VW and its Beetle was really the only foreign import of any note during the 50s and 60s outside of the luxury class), sort of allowed Detroit to live in an economic bubble, because the UAW made sky-high demands and the automakers pretty much gave them the salaries, benefits and pensions they wanted, knowing the bill for those things wouldn’t come due for years. OPEC’s embargo in late ’73 and the sudden shift in consumer vehicle preferences made the bill come due a lot faster than planned, and at a time when Detroit was still both reeling from the riots and in denial about the type of politicians they needed to elect to help the city recover from the riots.

    • #25
    • June 18, 2020, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes