Detroit – a three-way fight-to-the-death has left a city in ruins

This blog, some time back, ran this Trifecta:

… in which I waxed lyrical over an up and coming journo, Michelle Fields. Lost in that eulogy was the subject matter of the programme that day – Detroit. Look at the header again:

Detroit in ruins, fifty years of liberalism has destroyed …

Fast forward to last evening:

Detroit is bankrupt with $18bn debt

Detroit files for bankruptcy

Detroit the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy after accumulating spiralling long term debt estimated at $18.5bn.

Now let’s go back to that Trifecta episode:

I t was not only one of America’s fastest growing cities, it was much more than that – it was the jewel in America’s crown. You could make a compelling case that the City of Detroit won WW2.

Now, it’s falling apart:

detroit 2

Michael Barone of the NYP points out that Detroit is facing bankruptcy and ruin as a result of the failure of its Big Three:

Big Government
Big Business
Big Labour

Let’s look for a sec at the middle one – Big Business. There is nothing wrong with someone setting up a corner shop, investing himself in it, borrowing to expand, paying back, opening a second store and generally, that’s as far as it goes. If you have hundreds of those all over town, that town is healthy as it employs people.

Similarly, if there is an association, as there were guilds, charged with looking after the interests of the workers in that field, that keeps the boss honest and is not, in itself, a bad thing. But when the association is an excuse for megalomania and corrupt politics of shop stewards who see their power to call out workers on strike at the drop of a hat as their own power, then you get things like Liverpool over here shut down.

When workers cease to give to the firms they work for and focus only on pay and conditions, corruption sets in and they give less and less, which costs the firms more and more. Thus you get the Titans of Industry who sadly are often Them, clashing with Big Labour, the Jimmy Hoffas and the result is not for the health of any city they’re doing it in.

Into this steps Big Government – Obama style. Bill Whittle points out that yes, the economy has changed since the 50s, things do change yet somewhere like Texas can change and adapt by lowering taxes and slashing [over]regulation but Detroit is “locked in the past, in a three way vice between three giant dinosaurs.”

Steve Green goes into fascism. He says forget about the black uniforms and the Nazis – fascism is this triumvirate ruling system. Michelle Fields says the first thing to do is to tell Califormia this is where they’re also heading.

The bottom line is that when a city or business or whatever is locked into this downwards spiral, when three very powerful forces have locked horns and will give no ground at all, then the health of the economy is not being looked after. And the plethora of legislation stifles the living breath out of any business, along with Labour.

It’s impossible. There must be a way to stop Them getting control of businesses but that’s where the money is coming from. There must be a way to stop Labour ruling and shutting down cities on the strength of a spurious pay claim. There must be a way of keeping government off everyone’s back. And there must be a way for workers to give what they are paid to give, rather than fall back into this pattern of western laziness.

JD put forward the idea of cooperatively run firms but as we saw, the elite, the able, still rise in those firms and run them. There is a sweet naivety in hoping anyone will be so altruistic that cooperative businesses of that nature would become the norm. And yet the alternative is too terrible to contemplate – a government regulated economy, even under federal localism.

The problem with that is that non-entrepreneurial people are in power – look at our parliament and councils – and they are singularly unable to run any business, let alone their own brief.

The bottom line, once more, is that there is no one solution, no panacea. In the absence of that, it is still better to go the freedom route rather than the legislation and three-way fight-to-the-death route. The economies of the west did work reasonably, with the few ruining it for the many and with a spirit of all pulling in the same direction.

But you can’t legislate for people to pull in the same direction. On the gay “marriage” thing, for example – you can’t bludgeon something through which sharply divides a nation. Prosperity though is another thing and when a people realize the only way to create it is to work hard, not through welfare checks, then that economy is on the mend. Along the way, the issues of fair pay for a fair day’s work can be resolved but firstly the entrepeneurs must have that breathing space to actually get things running.

Or would you rather council officers tried to run enterprises?

One thing Lenin realized early on was that he had no way to get Russia back on its feet, not with the ideology ruling all. So he allowed in the NEP men to get things moving again and then destroyed it.

The politics of greed won’t allow that man over there to set something up for his family and posterity. It smells the slightest whiff of money and wants it divvied out – to itself. To hell with the health of the business, which is probably right on the edge as far as solvency goes.

It’s this “recipient” mentality which is the killer in a society, the idea that all is given, all is provided and that some naive and altruistic person of talent over here is going to merrily get a business running for the benefit of welfare cheque recipients and druggies. To hell with that – the people of talent are going to use that talent for themselves and if they need labour along the way, everyone benefits from the prosperity.

Let’s take this further. If a doctor is about to perform surgery on me, then I’m more than happy for him to be on a cushy wage, happy at home with a calm visage. When my plane lands, I’m happy if the air traffic controller is happy and well paid. Let him have all the holidays he wants, I say. If a teacher of my child has good pay and conditions, then fine – he’ll perhaps be able to devote more of his attention to my child.

There’s no entitlement anywhere here. We only get by giving in the first place. There’s no “wealth of the nation”. There are quite a few people who created wealth because they were able and they do it for their extended families. Now if we can get in on the ground floor and help create that, then we benefit from that.

And if a class of worker then comes in and wants all given to it: “I know my rights, you can’t oppress me,” then that firm is headed down the gurgler. It’s reached its point where it can expand healthily.

Our society is families and individuals and some of those individuals find themselves in fortunate positions. Fine, say I. Are you taking on staff?

The only way this country of ours will avoid a Detroit end is for people to stop the victimhood, self-entitlement mentality and force the Big Three to allow business to once again adapt and expand, to find new niches, staffed by educated people not poisoned by the Narrative.

4 comments for “Detroit – a three-way fight-to-the-death has left a city in ruins

  1. July 19, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Not subsidising depressed areas, and applying a land value tax, would drive down commercial rents and so allow more people to set up in business. No more depression.

  2. July 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    The difficulty here is that those taxpayers who can leave have already done so. The remnants are low income workers who can’t afford to leave and those in welfare dependency. Vast swathes of the city have just been abandoned as they have effective negative value as the properties are worth less than the taxes required to own them.

    I can fully appreciate that the pension funds were never going to accept 10¢ on the $ which was on offer, but in a bankruptcy proceeding as complex as this one we’re likely to end up even less after restructuring costs. It will be just another example of Jarndyce v Jarndyce.

    Union contracts and pensions have taken precedence over the proper running of the city as the lights fail and crime rates soar. Their claims are now in effective default and all the wailing, rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth won’t change a thing. They might as well burn down the city and salt the earth, like some latter-day Carthage.

    The problem here is that the likes of Obama can’t help but be dragged into this in some form of bail-out, so that $20 billion more gets pissed up the wall when it would probably be better to bulldoze whole swathes of the suburbs and relocate people rather than just pour good money after bad. That way you might be left with a poor but functional city. Then reincorporate the suburbs as new townships and disincorporate the rest.

  3. mona
    July 20, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Just keep it simple try Charles Darwin,

  4. Lord T
    July 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    As we need the desert for solar power farms we should us Detroit as the new nuclear testing ground. We could leave the criminals there as test subjects to save the poor animals used.

    Sounds like everyone wins with that.

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