Every so often, Detroit seems to pop up in our popular consciousness in a negative way. Ever since the ’67 riots, a steady stream of bad press has altered the national perception of the Motor City. Right now the city’s efforts to prevent state takeover because of its fiscal problems seems to shape discussion about Detroit. The most recent demonstration of this is the State of Michigan’s proposal to make Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, the jewel of the city’s park system, into a state park through an extended lease agreement. read more »
Picasso said “Art is a lie that tells the truth”. Nowadays, there’s less truth to that, as the creative process is increasingly about prettying up and papering over what’s broke.
More on that shortly, but first, about the breakage: it’s legitimate. Said Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz in a recent NY Times piece that plain-talks our economic conditions: “Increasing inequality means a weaker economy, which means increasing inequality, which means a weaker economy.”
That assessment—from a very smart man studying the problem—isn’t good. But in the American feel-good milieu you wouldn’t know it: “We’re coming out if it.” “Tomorrow is forever.” “Start-ups will save the U.S.” Etc. And while tone deaf, this kind of brushing off of problems isn’t new, but part of what social critic Barbara Ehrenreich refers to as America’s “cult of cheerfulness”, and it’s a “cult” that has spawned a longstanding and growing American feel-good industry. read more »
For more than a century, the city of Detroit has been an ideological and at times actual battleground for decidedly different views about the economy, labor and the role of government. At one time it was the center of a can-do entrepreneurialism that helped launch the American automobile industry. By 1914, for example, no fewer than 43 start-up companies were manufacturing automobiles in the city and surrounding region. Following a wave of sit-down strikes that began almost immediately after FDR’s landslide victory in 1936, the economic character of the city changed dra read more »
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Brewster-Douglass housing projects of Detroit Michigan and there is nothing to celebrate. More accurately, there is no one to celebrate. For several years now this section of the city, already infamous for its vacancy, has been completely abandoned. Rows of houses, full apartment blocks, schools empty.
A cursory Google search will reveal many details regarding the architecture and planning employed at Brewster-Douglass . Diana Ross lived there. For my part, I didn’t want an explanation, but an experience. read more »
When we think of places with high salaries, big metro areas like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco are usually the first to spring to mind. Or cities with the biggest concentrations of educated workers, such as Boston. read more »
Facebook‘s botched IPO reflects not only the weakness of the stock market, but a systemic misunderstanding of where the true value of technology lies. A website that, due to superior funding and media hype, allows people to do what they were already doing — connecting on the Internet — does not inherently drive broad economic growth, even if it mints a few high-profile billionaires. read more »
In this still tepid recovery, the biggest feel-good story has been the resurgence of American manufacturing. As industrial production has fallen in Europe and growth has slowed in China, U.S. factories have continued an expansion that has stretched on for over 33 months. In April, manufacturing growth was the strongest in 10 months. read more »
The Midwest’s troubles are well-known. The decline of manufacturing has resulted in job losses and dying industrial towns. The best and brightest have fled the flatlands for more exciting, sunnier, mountainous, or coastal places where the real action is. Even Peyton Manning has left the heartland for the Rockies. read more »
This piece is an except from a new report on the Great Lakes Region for the Sagamore Institue. Download the pdf version for the full report including charts and maps on the region.
The American Great Lakes region has long been a region defined by the forces of production, both agricultural and industrial. From the 1840s on, the region forged a legacy of productive power, easily surpassing the old northeast as the primary center of American industrial and agricultural might. read more »
A big crowd gathered earlier today to welcome the first Corolla that rolled off the assembly line at Toyota’s tenth U.S. plant in the tiny hamlet of Blue Springs, Mississippi. Situated in Union County, just 17 miles from Elvis’ hometown of Tupelo, the new plant is the latest new automobile manufacturing facility to fly the flag of a foreign manufacturer in the Deep South. read more »