Monday, March 25, 2013

Detroit & the New Economics of the 21st Century

Greek Week has arrived.
Hooray!...right?
Two years ago I only one who wasn't too much of a pusspop to participate in the scripted dance competition.
We came in dead last in front of every frat & sorority on campus.
At least I wasn't a pusspop.
Right?

As many fine readers of FHP know, Detroit is a big deal to me.
It's a symbol.
Fucked over again & again & again & again.
Yet never giving up even though it seems like most of the nation has written the city off.
It's struggle for recovery embodies much of what I truly care about.
Resiliency through the worst of adversity.
The freedom of a "nothing to lose" mindset as one of the (very minuscule) benefits of rock bottom is a much more accurate understanding of risk.
Raucous arguments based not on opportunism (what the fuck are you going to gun for, mayor? Enjoy that job champ) but genuine concern for Detroit, as asinine as some of the opinions may be.

The beautiful chaos of a democracy.

The recovery benefits from this boldness.
Detroit has always had the virtue (& vice) of hard-nosed stubbornness.
Which means Detroit's newly appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr (who already helped save Chrysler) has quite the shitty job ahead of him.
However he's not alone, despite the lack of concrete help from higher levels of government.
It is a sign of the new economic age slowly but surely forming from the clusterfuck of the Great Recession.
As Europe begins to shed socialist tendencies after the debt crisis & America tightens regulations after the banking industry shitshow, the extremes of the economic spectrum are being pinched.

  • If countries drift too far towards state control, innovation & growth are stymied while debt interest burdens strain budgets enough in the long term to negate most social benefits.
  • If they become too fond of reckless unregulated capitalism, the labor market has found a negotiating force far more effective than unions.
    • It's possible from nearly anywhere in the world to broadcast horrific work environments.
    • Once it's on Youtube, the West seems to give a shit.
Just ask that public 'bater who made Kony 2012.

The West has (wisely in my mind) begun listening to economists during some necessary soul-searching after the collapse.
Well, the ones who still have souls of course.
The usual Tax & Spend & Borrow! ultra-Keynesian bullshit we've been accustomed to has mercifully ended.
Public-private partnerships, light but strictly enforced regulation & fluid wage/labor markets finally freed from archaic laws & other bullshit red tape are quickly becoming the norm.
The transition will not always be smooth.
The technocratic mess we call the EU highlights the importance of respecting political & local autonomy.
Even though they may think they are right (and I may agree with a lot of their policies) that doesn't grant them the right to indefinitely suspend the normal democratic process.

Which brings me back to Detroit.
Michigan is governed for once by a competent human being, Rick Snyder, one of the few politicians I genuinely like.
First asshole I ever voted for too.
He embodies the type of intellectual the Republicans SHOULD be courting.
Too bad the far-right is still infatuated with dumbasses like Rick "The End Times" Santorum.

Anyways, his emergency manager law is actually working.
At the inception of Detroit's attempted salvation, news is encouraging.
Unconventional industries are forming in the many lawless, desolate expanses of abandoned neighborhoods.
And no, I'm not talking about crack dealers you assholes.
Responsible businessmen are filling in where the government has failed, as they done throughout our nation's history.
Oh, and the most lucrative industry is moving into town quickly.
No big deal.

Obviously there will be a lot more pain before Detroit truly gets back on it's feet.
Snyder appointed Orr for only an 18-month term, an important distinction from the EU autocrats.
When he leaves, Detroit will be on it's own.
Then again, they have been for quite a long time.
But like I have always stressed, if people give enough of a shit about changing something, they will find a way to change it.
This is America, dammit.

If you wanna cry about life being unfair, move to France ya fook.

Peace.
JF.

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