The Chapter 9 Bankruptcy of Detroit last Friday is a stark reminder of what happens to an economy when trust breaks down between communities and disrupts the social fabric, leading to decline and decay and a sad breakdown of an economy.
I understand from cursory reading of books on Detroit that the 1967 riots sparked off a distrust between the communities, and may have been the turning point for the breakdown of the economy which has now resulted to this sad, sad decline.
No two children of the same family will be totally understanding or obedient to their parent(s), but if family members work in harmony and common objectives, they tend to be more successful. That rule of harmony holds true for organisations as well as for communities, there is no reason why it should not hold true for cities or even nations, hence last week I referred to Cario and Oakland but of course I should also have mentioned Miami.
Just imagine Detroit in the 1950s, which now appears to have been its heyday, full of harmony and enterprise, inspiring dreams, the American dream, contributing to its status as a city of great reputation worldwide, with its ballrooms, museums, theatres, skyscrapers....The industry and enterprise was there to give a livelihood to the 465,000 residents there, who soon grew to over a million and to nearly two million towards the peak. The infrastructure was added to as it served the citizens and visitors, and the town grew to a city.
The decline has seen people leave, mainly white people leaving the city to suburbs, leaving a ghetto at its core, the deserted buildings falling apart, now ready for demolition or refurbishment.
The population has fallen, leaving the municipality with an income of about $1 billion a year, when it probably needs at least a billion-and-a-half just to service the interest on the bonds.
A solution may be repopulation, with some company and a group of New Economy companies able to generate a lot of jobs and sustain the livelihoods of the citizens. Obviously there is a lot of talent and raw energy, that can be purposefully employed and will create wealth and sustain the people and regenerate the city. All that is now needed is for a few men and women of vision to locate their wealth generating companies there, and give a boost to the regeneration of the housing and public buildings.
The talent is there, you cannot stand and see a great city die. Hopefully, the government can make a special provision for a funding programme to regenerate this great iconic city with its beautiful landmarks.
As harmony exists between people, so will Recovery and Prosperity bloom in their midst. Today, I pray for restoration of faith in Detroit.