Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roundabout Issue With Wikipedia

When FLG was at the dentist a couple of weeks ago, he read this article in Time about the decline of Detroit. It places blame in a lot of places; some which I've always found odd, such as:
"The working men and women of Michigan and their families have always been Congressman Dingell's top priority," his website declares, and I suppose he thinks he has served them well — by resisting, in succession, tougher safety regulations, more-stringent mileage standards, relaxed trade restrictions and virtually any other measure that might have forced the American automobile industry to make cars that could stand up to foreign competition.

I find much of this logic completely odd in the same way that I find the idea that forcing Detroit to "go green" will make them competitive. First, regulations and government policy can never move fast enough to keep up with the realities of the consumer market. If your company needs to be dragged around by the government, then you're, to put it simply, already fucked. Second, do we really think that government politicians and bureaucrats, even if they are well-informed and well-intentioned, can possibly have a enough information to decide what the market needs? If you do, then go read Hayek. Third, and this speaks more to the "Go Green" stuff, liberal politicians seem to confuse how they want the world to be with what the market actually demands. I really don't see a clamoring for green cars. Yes, when fuel prices go up, people buy more fuel efficient cars. But the idea that government mandates from Washington or now the idea that Washington will somehow save the companies it owns by forcing Detroit to build cars that Whole Foods Bobos want to buy is completely asinine. It wreaks of The Big Assumption. I want to buy a green car. Therefore, everybody must.

If global warming and fuel efficiency are so important, then just put a fucking tax on carbon and be done with it. That will raise gas prices, which in turn will increase demand for Green Cars. Right now, all this tinkering by the liberals is starting to scare me because Pelosi, Reid, and Obama have no clue how to run a business; yet, they are trying to micromanage entire industries.

Anyway, getting back to the article. A big player in the decline of Detroit was the mayor from 1974-1993, Coleman Young. I made a mental note to look him up later because I knew almost nothing about him before the article. And that brought me to his wikipedia page, which is just priceless (all emphasis mine):
Young's work in civil rights, progressive and radical organizations including the Communist Party USA, the Progressive Party, the AFL-CIO, and the National Negro Labor Council made him powerful enemies in the capitalist ruling class, including the FBI and HUAC.

Upon learning of Young's death former President Jimmy Carter called Young "one of the greatest mayors our country has known."

most economic metrics (unemployment, median income rates, and city gross domestic product) initially dropped precipitously during Young's years in office, reaching their "low points" in the late 80's and/or early 90's, with the unemployment rate in particular peaking at approximately 20% in 1982. However, it should be noted that in the US private enterprise system, control of the economy of a city does not rest with the Mayor , but with the corporate executives and Wall Street. The private sector have built a virtual economic blockade on Detroit since it became majority Black approximately at the beginning of Young's tenure as Mayor. As Young said, "Racism do exist", economic racism.



Hilarius Bookbinder said...

The decline of Detroit began about 20 years earlier (or more)--this was something of a hot topic amongst my friends in college. The book you want is The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Sugrue.

Anonymous said...

No. It's popular, indeed enlightened, to think Detroit began its decline 20 years earlier but Detroit's statistics just do not back up Sugrue's great assumptions.

If you want to know what happened to Detroit, Michale Barone is more credible. Read his eyewitness account of the riots -focus on the last few sentences:


You'll really like this as it gives the indications of why the Unions like "Green" things -focus on Walter Ruether/ Scandinavia:


And this is excellent - to wit:

"I've argued for some time that the Democrats (and the Republicans, for that matter) need to come up with other measures that will encourage upwardly mobile behavior. To some extent they have: The Clinton administration's extension of the Earned Income Tax Credit arguably does this, and so do the state welfare reforms of the 1980s and 1990s and the federal welfare reform law Bill Clinton reluctantly signed in 1996. If, as George Will argued in the early 1980s, statecraft is soulcraft, then the state should encourage and honor behavior that leads personally to upward mobility and in the aggregate to economic growth."


Mrs. P

Hilarius Bookbinder said...

Well, goodness, if it was the riots what done it, that's still 1968, so unless Coleman Young's mindbending powers of suck are so all-encompassing as to extend backwards in time, we might want to go looking for other explanations.

Hilarius Bookbinder said...

Er, 1967. And anyway, people are so quick to blame the riots precisely because it allows the blame to be shifted to people like Young and away from the decades of very carefully constructed exclusions of black people before the riots.

(Which is not to say that Coleman Young was a saint--he did indeed make virtually everything worse. But you don't exactly make headway on the historical question by ignoring the older problems of race.)

Anonymous said...

"(Which is not to say that Coleman Young was a saint--he did indeed make virtually everything worse. But you don't exactly make headway on the historical question by ignoring the older problems of race.)"

Right there is your error. Coleman never ignored it. One of his choicer quotes:

"Some people say affirmative action is discrimination in reverse. You're damned right. The only way to handle discrimination is to reverse it."

Mrs. P

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