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Physicist, Startup Founder, Blogger, Dad

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dismantling Detroit

29 comments:

RKU1 said...

The whole thing is very peculiar.  Detroit was the Silicon Valley of its era, and ended up being totally destroyed in just a generation or two, now increasingly reverting back to the original prairie.

Offhand, I can't think of a similar thing to one of the most important cities of any other country absent total nuclear destruction...and not even then, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki are just as large and prosperous as they were before.

steve hsu said...

Maybe not fully destroyed -- IIRC Pittsburgh lost half its urban population over 1-2 decades when the steel mills closed but is doing relatively well now. Perhaps the same thing will happen to Detroit, with the culprit again being concentrated industry in a sector that collapses.

botti said...

The 1967 riot seems to have also contributed to the exodus and had an enduring impact.

http://www.american.com/archive/2008/january-february-magazine-contents/present-at-the-destruction

Bobdisqus said...

Steve the problems of the US auto industry are only peripherally related to the blight in Detroit.  I remember when I was young and dumb 20 years ago the wife and I moved to East English Village in Detroit.  We knew better than everyone that told us to stay out of Detroit that it was all just raciest nonsense.  Well a couple of drive-by sprays of random gunfire later we broke the lease and headed for burbs.
 
So far no emergency manager, the Michigan equivalent of bankruptcy for local governments.  It is just a matter of time to my mind though.  My personal opinion is that partition is the only hope for the area.  There are still some sections that could be viable if they could get out from under the rest of the City.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/23/us-michgov-detroit-idUSTRE80M2AO20120123
 
Detroit ruin porn:
http://www.hipstertravelguide.com/archives/5722
http://www.amazon.com/RUINS-DETROIT-Yves-Marchand/dp/3869300426/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327685203&sr=8-2
http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Moore-Disassembled-Philip-Levine/dp/8862081189/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1327685203&sr=8-3
 

steve hsu said...

I have to admit the closest I have been to Detroit are the airport and Ann Arbor. So I have no first hand knowledge of the city ...

Yan Shen said...

Bob, what are you really trying to say here? Don't be shy. I think that delightful fellow Cornelius Troost could also enlighten us as to why Detroit has fallen into such a state of disarray...

Reactionary_Konkvistador said...

I think a few lesser examples can be found in the former Soviet Union where old industrial cities suffered severe economic setbacks after the transition to a free market system.

Bobdisqus said...

I am not sure how a Dutch painter fits in perhaps you can explain?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelis_Troost

Bobdisqus said...

The city seemed to make some progress under Mayor Archer, but it seems gone now and it seems to be rolling down hill faster and faster now.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Archer

botti said...

He seems to be referring to the crime issues that are mentioned by Barone. I suppose Troost would observe that groups have different crime rates and the demographics have changed significantly. I think Malcolm Gladwell also refers to the phenomenon of "white flight" in 'The Tipping Point' and Detroit often seems to be cited as an example of that. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_profile_of_Detroit 

Yan Shen said...

The city may be in disarray, but if I remember correctly, the main airport is top notch. There are numerous signs in Japanese because the airport is a common destination for connecting flights from and to Japan. There's also a light rail inside of the airport.

RKU1 said...

On the subject of the one major aspect of massive ongoing parasitism which underlies most of America's current problems, here's an extensive article published on Counterpunch.org by an experienced economist: 
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/27/banks-werent-meant-to-be-like-this/ 

Although as someone apparently unfamiliar with modern biology, the author never even uses the term or any other helpful analogy, his detailed analysis is quite descriptive.  Note how the tendrils have sunk deep into the major organs of the host's central nervous system, thereby effectively subverting the normal control mechanisms and defenses.  Note the massive flow of nutrients redirected from the hapless host to its oppressor.  Note the endless production of mimetic emissions preventing the host from recognizing its peril or even the very existence of the deadly parasite with which it is entwined.  The actions of the parasite itself are clearly automatic and programmed rather than rational, since its behavior is rapidly becoming fatal to the host, after which it itself will surely die.

This comment might have been more suited to a previous thread, but the proliferation of endlessly embedded remarks has rendered it confusing and almost unreadable.  Anyway, I'd argue that the underlying causes behind the primary subject of this thread are also closely related.

Yan Shen said...

How fascinating! Are there any blogs or websites where I can learn more about the issues you've addressed in your post?

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

"Cornelius J. Troost was a professor of science education at UCLA and
chair of graduate studies at Brock University in Ontario, Canada."

More on:
http://apesorangels.com/

Bobdisqus said...

Again, You make Ju's point, and Yes here you go:
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/preliminary-annual-ucr-jan-jun-2011/data-tables/table-4/table-4-illinois-missouri


Detroit is long since past "white flight":
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704292004575230532248715858.html

Yan Shen said...

Interesting articles. All of this discussion about white flight reminds me of a new form of white flight which Steve Hsu blogged about years ago...

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2005/11/new-white-flight.html

botti said...

No, I can't think of any ;-) Actually, Mencius Moldbug at Unqualified Reservations often mentions Detroit. I particularly recall a post including referring to it as a homework assignment for GMU economist Robin Hanson, who responds in the comments section.

Yan Shen said...

I remember a while ago Mencius Moldbug commenting on some blog or another and commenter RKU mistakenly referring to him as Mencius Moldberg. Alas, Mr. Moldbug was less than thrilled and complained vociferously about anti-Semitism...

botti said...

I think I remember that exchange - recall RKU became exasperated with Moldbug's long winded responses.

Just back on the globalization issue and decline of US manufacturing, I've been meaning to read this book by Ha-Joon Chang "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism":

"The
first involves growth, and the particular importance of manufacturing.
Mr Chang is persuasive that enthusiasm for moves to a post-industrial
economy was over-cooked. Much recent growth in services in advanced
countries, he claims, has been a trick. ...

Instead,
Mr Chang argues, what developing countries really need are large
“effective organisations and institutions” — in particular big
manufacturing companies capable of growing and adapting over time, just
like South Korea’s steel mills...

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/905ef80e-b915-11df-99be-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1koMBJ0iQ

Bobdisqus said...

Yes I confess to being aware of the Troost to which he made reference.  It is fun to play the sly game with Yan Shen though.  Perhaps one day he will put a book together that can draw such respectful comments as these.
 
“You have put together a wonderful book!”-Henry Harpending Professor of Anthropology, University of Utah

“Apes or Angels is a well-written, serious book.”-Steve HsuProfessor of Physics, University of Oregon

Bobdisqus said...

One of my cousins lives in Cupertino.  He took over the machine shop in Mountain View from my Uncle. The last of his kids would have left the public schools 15 years ago.  I know there are a few grandkids, but I don’t ever remember hearing anything about them running away from the public schools at any family reunion. 
 
http://ouradopt.com/content/china-adoption-statistics
It will be interesting to see the marriage statistics of these girls as they grow up.  I am going to guess that the interracial marriage rate will be much higher than their ethnic cousins born in the US.

Jean Huiskamps said...

I have read many reports about what's happening in the US. From my so called "socialist" European perspective I see the country sliding into a highly segregated rich-versus-poor society. The more I learn the bigger the mystery. How come people still tolerate what's happening? Philip K. Dick's dystopian paranoid society has become reality and nobody cares. "Occupy" sees some things correctly but everyone laughs at them. A possible explanation is given in this book, but I found it too depressing to buy it:
The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin - Corey Robin 
http://www.amazon.com/Reactionary-Mind-Conservatism-Edmund-Burke/dp/0199793743

My rough summary - but the book deserves better:
The reactionary elite has been spooked by the emancipation of the masses that started in the late sixties. They have started a counter-revolution and a power-grab. And they have won. What the reactionary elite believes in is: rules for the lower class masses and freedom from rules for the higher class elite.

I'm afraid this is all too recognizable nowadays ...

Jean Huiskamps said...

And an afterthought from another blog I read:

Owen Jones, as a journalism undergraduate, was invited, in 2005, along with his peers, to speak to what he describes as an ‘extremely prominent Tory politician from the moderate wing of the party.’ Jones continues: ‘So that he could speak candidly, aspiring student journalists were barred from reporting on the speech and we were sworn to preserve his anonymity. It soon became clear why. As the logs crackled in the fireplace on a rainy November evening, the Tory grandee made a stunning confession. “What you have to realise about the Conservative Party,” he said as though it was a trivial, throwaway comment, “is that it is a coalition of privileged interests. Its main purpose is to defend that privilege. And the way it wins elections is by giving just enough to just enough other people.”‘
http://steveaitch.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/more-military-industrial-infestations/

Bobdisqus said...

Jean

I would suggest instead:

If you would know the Conservative Mind
http://www.amazon.com/Conservative-Mind-Burke-Eliot/dp/9659124112/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327853283&sr=8-1

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

On the reverse side, the incrimination of the rich has manifested itself time and time again in periods of economic hardship.  Communism was all about "occupying" and taking from the rich people.  I wonder how many of the "Occupy" activists today would've supported communism if they lived in Russia of 1917 or China of 1947.

Bobdisqus said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/29/us-detroit-pugh-idUSTRE80S0IR20120129?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=71&google_editors_picks=true

RKU1 said...

Jean Huiskamps: From my so called "socialist" European perspective I see the country sliding into a highly segregated rich-versus-poor society. The more I learn the bigger the mystery. How come people still tolerate what's happening?

A very astute observation.  Sometimes it takes a bit of geographical distance to get a better sense of things.

Frankly, unless I'm sorely mistaken, lots of the things currently happening in American politics and society rank among the weirdest in history, and I'm not excluding Caligula appointing his horse as head of the Roman government...

yulva said...

Sir James Goldsmith predicted all this in his 1994 interview with Charlie Rose:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5064665078176641728

How your Representatives voted:

http://www.amtacdc.org/Pages/Votes%20Legislation/key-votes.aspx

Bobdisqus said...

http://www.freep.com/article/20120211/NEWS01/120211024/Three-Detroit-shootings-8-hours-leave-three-dead?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

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