Skip to comments.Remake Detroit, or Empty It
Posted on 07/22/2013 7:36:25 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
If Detroit were its own city-state a bizarro version of prosperous Singapore it would be a place the U.S. State Department would regularly issue travel warnings about, where long-term, protracted conditions make a country dangerous or unstable. Detroits murder rate, for instance, would be higher than that of all but a handful of other countries. The Democratic Republic of Detroit would also be relatively poor, with annual per capita income of around $15,000, making it a middle-income country like Mexico.
Except Detroit would be a nation in decline rather than on the rise. Detroit would be a nation literally dying off, its shrinking population abandoning territory the central government could no longer afford to supply with basic services. Oh, yeah, its disastrous public finances. Well, maybe those would be a minor bright spot in this alternate reality: Detroit could always pay creditors, at least for a while, with devalued Fords, the local currency named after one of its founding fathers.
Eventually, however, this shrunken, crime-ridden, impoverished city-state with no one willing to bail it out might be forced to make a choice: capitalism or collapse. Out of options, it might just make the China choice. A key part of Deng Xiaopings pro-market economic reforms in 1979 was the creation of four Hong Konginspired special economic zones of liberalized labor laws and tax incentives to attract foreign investment. One of these little pockets of economic freedom, Shenzhen, located just north of Hong Kong itself, is now a center for technology manufacturing and one of Chinas richest cities. The stunning success of Chinas economic experiment showed economist Paul Romer how better rules and institutions could work wonders for economic growth. Romer has proposed that developing nations allow the creation of charter cities, where the host nation would provide a large, uninhabited piece of land to be governed by market-friendly rules and perhaps run by a foreign government. Workers, businesses, and investors from anywhere could move in and out freely. Basically, Hong Kong in a box, ready for delivery. For example, instead of giving foreign aid to some poor African nation such as Mauritania, New Zealand and Norway might partner together to run a charter city there. With good governance in place and cheap land and labor available, the theory goes, private investment would pour in.
Although Romers concept remains just a fascinating thought experiment a deal with Honduras fell through in 2012 and was intended for what used to be called Third World nations, why not turn abandoned Detroit into New Detroit, a business-friendly charter city where taxes are low and regulation light? Governance could be guaranteed by some outside entity. Although neighboring, well-run Canada is an obvious choice, maybe an American city could play the role in exchange for a cut of future tax revenue. Reason Foundation analyst Shikha Dalmia suggests Houston as a candidate.
All this may sound like it could be the plot from next years remake of the 1987 film Robocop, in which a bankrupt Detroit sells itself to a private company with plans to transform the city into an enclave for the 1 percent. But no one would be forced to live (or invest or create jobs) in New Detroit. As Romer said in a TED speech addressing criticism that charter cities are a neo-colonialist plot, This model is all about choices, both for leaders and for the people who will live in these new places. And choice is the antidote to coercion and condescension.
And whats the alternative? A decaying urban core surrounded by reclaimed farmland? As Edward Glaeser documents in Triumph of the City, Detroit spent decades trying to counter the decline of the auto industry by building things a monorail, sports arenas, office complexes rather than trying to attract smart, wealthy, entrepreneurial people.
If Detroit cant fix itself, maybe Washington could help, with an idea proposed by economist Enrico Moretti, author of The New Geography of Jobs: People living in areas of high unemployment, such as the Motor City, could receive part of their unemployment check in the form of a relocation voucher. The idea might even inspire a film, Escape from Detroit.
James Pethokoukis, a columnist, blogs for the American Enterprise Institute.
If hard-working conservatives could fence off an area of Detroit and do their own thing, we’d have a Galt’s Gulch.
A bunch of stranded blacks that overpopulate it till it turns cannibal.
It would cost more to raze Detroit than it’s worth.
“Detroit”, coming t s city near you soon.
INdeed, there are consequences for voting “demodummie”.
The emptying part seems to be taking care of itself.
I think the first thing any city in economic trouble should do is outlaw the Democratic Party. For the last fifty years the Democrat Party has been the party of non-stop societal disintegration and growth of the parasite class in the citizenry and the elected officials. Ban the teachers unions and other job-destroying unions. Then make a severe slash in welfare benefits. And lastly impose semi-martial law and severely punish gang members and any other criminals. Establish armed police/militia in all troubled areas and quick “justice” for those caught committing crimes of violence. Then things might change. And I’ll leap across the Grand Canyon on a tricycle before any of those things happen.
Reminds me of the movie ‘Escape from New York’.
3rd option, Nuke it.
One interesting solution would be let the city default on it’s debt and then auction remaining holdings to the highest bidder and let capitalism rebuild it.
Leave the city be and very soon it will be known as the New Orleans (post Katrina) of the north. Can hardly wait for Shepard Smith to set up shop there and bitch about the lack of FEMA response.
Americans: Look at Detroit and see present day Black America!!! Look at Detroit and see the coming of POTUS, Barack Hussein Obama’s future America!!! The fall of the Roman Empire and the fall of the great American Empire brought about by Barack Hussein Obama are one and the same!!! It’s called self-inflicted terminal wounds by a society adrift at sea with a leader (Obama) that hates the country!!! Russia, China, Iran, India, Brazil, the whole world is laughing at and mocking us openly. No major world leader, including Sub-Sahara Black leaders have one iota of respect for our incompetent,incapable POTUS Obama!!!
Please, Please do not relocate these people! The entitlement class are entitled to reap what they have sown.
Nah. The STANDARD solution is:
1. Nuke it.
2. Pave it over
3. Build Condos. . .
Plow it under and let nature reclaim it.
Put a fence around it, declare it a wilderness area and make it a National Monument as a tribute to unions in America.
What is the reason for Detroit’s existence in the first place? Proximity to coal, steel, and transportation.
There is now no reason for Detroit, except that it is there. And that not for much longer, as unmaintained things fall apart rapidly.
If rabid Obamazombies are in the area, rinse and then repeat again as needed...
Corporal Hicks, from the movie "Aliens"
Trade it to Canada for Flin Flon and an Acadian island to be named later.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Almost all the “income” in Detroit is money confiscated from honest, hard working taxpayers in other parts of the country. If Detroiters could no longer live off other people's handouts and had to support themselves Detroit would look like Somalia or Zimbabwe full of starving children with distended bellies and flies on their faces,
It's been tried before. It's called "colonization". The end-game is when there are assets that can be seized, the natives rebel, take over what the colonists have built up, party for a while, and the place goes down-hill again (see Rhodesia).
It only works when the colonizers have the willingness to exterminate entire populations in order to ensure their claim to the area they have built up.
No, it already did:
Capitalism can only operate in an environment where private property is defended against expropriation.
The only thing that would work for Detroit would be to forever bar residents from receiving any sort of means-tested government assistance. No welfare, no food stamps, nothing. If you need means-tested aid, you would have to move elsewhere. Wait a year for the Democrat constituencies to leave, and then you could start to rebuild.
Tell the people to leave. All of them.
Bulldoze the buildings. All of them.
Sell the land by the acre to anyone who has real money.
Rebuild from the ground up.
No debt. No pensions. No unions. No criminal class. No aging infrastructure.
It is the equivalent of “taking off and nuking it from orbit”, and it’s the only thing that makes sense.
In China, they understand the concept of work for pay. I don’t they do in Detroit.
Before the deluge Detroit had the third-highest per capita income in the country. And it was more than that in 1960 dollars.
The author has some interesting ideas - an economic free zone with low corporate taxes and incentives for hiring. But I'm afraid trying capitalism in the United States is just a little too radical for the current administration.
The military could run brigade, or hell, division size operations on Detroit with hundreds of square miles of "free fire" and impact zones for mortars and artillery. Some parts of Detroit already look like that!
RE: The emptying part seems to be taking care of itself.
Another 750,000 left to empty.
The problem with rebuilding Detroit after the crash is that you are starting fresh with the same cast of characters.
Things could be done via a market-friendly gov’t...if that’s possible. For example, get the trade unions in Detroit to open up their apprenticeship programs to unskilled, unemployed youth. (Restricting labor supply in Detroit has no effect on local wages.) Have the city donate abandoned properties worth rehabbing and construction materials. The unions and new apprentices then fix up the properties and the local gov’t sells them, placing them back on the property tax roles. The funds from the sale could then be used to finance more rehabs. The unions get more new members in the long run, the city gets more tax base, and unemployed youth have a shot at a good job. Seems like a win-win to me.
They are in Bankruptcy which is a form of default. The court can order the city to liquidate many of its’ assets and probably should.
The biggest ruling would be a forced end to the Union contracts and elimination of the pension liability. If the retirees complain, tell them what happened to the Steel Workers Union Retirees. When the host dies, the parasites do as well.
The idea might even inspire a film,look for the union label.
Interesting concept. Think Hong Kong under the British.
Go through the federal laws and create an exception for Detroit in as many as possible, instead of a federal bailout. With the exception of Social Security pensions, stop all federal dollars at the city boundary. (That should clean out the parasites running the place now.)
Once Detroit again becomes a thriving city, as it likely would if the right regulations were jettisoned, move on to the next city on the long list of those currently being bankrupted by Democrats in charge.
Main problem with your suggestion is its reliance on “local government” officials and unions. These are the two culprits that are primarily responsible for Detroit’s condition today.
I thought that an influx of hipsters was going to save Detroit.
Perhaps Detroit residences could be convinced that Zimbabwe beckons them to a life of comfort, ease and pleasure.
Emptying Detroit is a pure fantasy. I’m no fan of urban areas but they are vital infrastructure. In the case of Detroit its still a major port city and the second busiest freight crossing on the continent. (Likely to take top slot again when the new bridge goes up)
There is obviously money to be made in Detroit. If there weren’t, there wouldn’t be Grand Prix racing, powerboat racing, or air racing. Those are sports that tend to attract high dollar crowds. There is big money in Detroit but its largely kept tied up safe from excessive taxes and corruption.
To fix the corruption in Detroit you need to start right at the bottom and threaten prison to department and union heads with prison unless they roll over on the next guy up the line. Don’t stop till you can indict virtually every single city council member. Former council president Charles Pugh is already under investigation including an audit at the hands of the new city council president.
Local taxes and regulations need to be brought down to a manageable level. Those are the primary weed killers of small business.
We also need true conservative leaders on the streets and in the churches of Detroit to espouse conservative views like rebuilding the family and true freedom through free markets. We’ve got to break the social justice teaching in the churches. I call it my 3 F plan. Family, Faith, and Free markets.
There have been good conservative moves into the city like the AFP sponsored Frederick Douglass day celebration with the union conservatives. Rev. C.L. Bryant from Runaway Slave was a speaker at the event.
Detroit is just the canary in a big coalmine of America and if America is to be saved conservatives need to nut up and start taking these democrat strongholds away and showing what conservatism can do. No one is asking us to refill the city. It needs to be pared down and made to operate efficiently. I’m not Rick Snyder’s biggest fan but he’s right when he says the city should be run like a business and made to serve and attract customers.
Personally speaking, because I live near there, I think the only way this city will ever reemerge as a great city is if the people in the surrounding counties Oakland, Macomb and the wealthier side of Wayne come down there en masse and clean it up. This could be the biggest bon fire in history. Then they would have to hire a legitimate Police and Fire Department and start to rebuild and move down there again.
“If Detroit cant fix itself, maybe Washington could help...”
The last thing Detroit needs is for the idiots and morons that populate DC to get involved. That’s the kiss of death for certain in Detroit’s case.
Give them a couple more years of “Hell Nights” and there won’t be anything left anyway... Free urban blight remedy...
Most are sitting around, waiting for the government to do everything for them. The ones that would be desirable additions have already punched out of that buring wreck known as Detroit!
The problem is the residents of the city would elect to govern it whoever promised that they could live free off someone else.
A population of lazy illiterates means the city can't be fixed until the residents are gone.
“maybe an American city could play the role in exchange for a cut of future tax revenue. Reason Foundation analyst Shikha Dalmia suggests Houston as a candidate.”
In my opinion, Houston is prosperous in spite of its city government, not because of it. With the right mayor, city council members and city department heads, we could do so much better.
The unions, too.
And it goes without saying, the Liberal corrupt politicians also...
Absolutely. It'd have to be an insular, independent entity that wouldn't have to answer to the city's corrupt, ineffective "leadership."
Bulldoze the whole works and build a mountain out of the rubble.
Is it racist to even ask that question?