Tuesday, March 31, 2009

America's Apocalypse


Did I get your attention?

No, I don't mean apocalypses of the Hal Lindsey variety, which involve armies fighting it out on the plains of Megiddo (don't know who the latest combatants are supposed to be), haven't been paying attention. And, I don't mean the kind of apocalyptic mumbo jumbo being spewed out by Glen Beck (who is now at Fox) or Sean Hannity.

No I mean an apocalypse of a different sort -- America's declining fortune. Now I don't think America is in dire straights, in fact, I think it can rebound, but there are some disturbing trends that need to be addressed.

There is a connection between the financial meltdown and the situation that the auto industry faces. America started its rise as a manufacturing base -- like China is today -- but in time we let the manufacturing sectors decline, and rose to power on the back of our financial systems (like Britain did in an earlier day). Now, two of the former Big 3 are on short life lines. Hopefully, they'll dig out of this -- and the government won't have to run them for long!

But there is another picture that needs to be seen -- it's a picture of the decline of Detroit the city. This week's Time Magazine runs a story about Detroit that needs to be looked at carefully. Detroit may be the tip of an iceberg coming to a city near you. Once Detroit was the 4th largest city in the nation (it's 11th now). It had nearly 2 million people and a strong manufacturing base. Today it is under 1 million and shrinking. One third of the city is abandoned -- the size of the city of San Francisco. The question facing this once great city is what to do. There are some who dream of filling it back in and becoming a city of 2 million. That's not likely to happen. Other options are to green the city, reforest parts, maybe even farm it. I like that idea.

I've lived in this area for a short time, and am only beginning to get a sense of things. I live in Oakland County, just to the north -- one of the wealthiest in the nation. Detroit's former wealth and grandeur can be found out here now. But people in Oakland Country are beginning to realize that Detroit's collapse could affect us.

I encourage you to take a look at the Time essay; it's enlightening.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read an interesting article that said even if we have a depression, it would be nothing like the 1930s. First off, unemployment then was 25%, right now I think its 8%. Back then one in five jobs was in agriculture vs 2% now. The most interest fact was food was almost 25% of a person's budget in the GD vs less than 10% now. Think of it.. most people get in trouble when the pay over 40% on their house.

Detroit unfortunately has a lot of things working against. The big factor would have to be the weather. It seems all of the cities around the lakes and the snow are getting killed, ie Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo. Living in the south, there is almost no way I would consider moving up there for a job. Back in the day, I am sure Detroit "bought" most of its residents with high paying jobs and great bonuses. Those days are gone and retirees are all moving south, leaving the city to the unemployed masses.

Finally.. I do feel the US is becoming what happened to Britain 100 years ago. The sun never set on the British empire, yet it soon fell. We may not be a true empire, but its interesting to see the world's wealth always moving west.

-Chuck

Anonymous said...

Detroit is the result of years worth of left-wing political leadership. America as a whole will replicate this situation so long as it has the Dems in power.

Fact.

_Ed