Saturday, August 3, 2013


Jack McHugh coined the term "Detroitification" in 2007 referring "to the destruction of a city, state or nation through draining money from hardworking individuals to pay for the cushy compensation and retirement of unproductive public 'servants.' " Robert Morley used this term to describe the bankruptcy of Detroit city. 

Last July 30, Morley wrote an article about Detroit bankruptcy. He described Detroit as "one of the most prosperous cities in the world" in the past and turned into "one of the world’s poorest", and "a post-Apocalyptic ghost town, a post-industrial ruin, the city of flames, the city where the sirens never stop, America’s first Third World city, Murder Town, Hell on Wheels." What is the primary cause for such a radical change? In his article, Morley did not hesitate to contradict a popular opinion propagated by a Nobel Prize Winner, Paul Krugman. 

For Krugman, Detroit was a victim of the free market. Even though he recognized the contribution of bad governance, but to his mind, the primary cause of Detroit's downfall originated from the free market. And such idea is widely accepted these days. 

But Morley has a different mind about Detroit. The key to understand the situation of Detroit is to grasp first the reason for its previous prosperity. Morley accepts the importance of the dynamics inherent in free market economy, but they don't provide the complete explanation. For him, the role of God and the keeping of his commandments serve as the basic foundations for Detroit's prosperity. And since God's commandments are being broken, the inescapable consequences are the removal of external blessings. I understand this breaking of God's commandments in terms of tax increases on businesses and productive individuals and the act of redistributing wealth. Many called it theft and the growth of the politics of envy. The final result of such violation was to drive businesses away and unemployment. And according to Morley, such economic philosophy is now being nationalized all over America. In his mind, Detroit should serve as a warning for all Americans for he sees similar pattern in many cities, which he describes as "Detroitification". Notice his description of the direction of many US cities:

"And now the same thing is happening to many American cities. Despite America’s unparalleled agricultural, mineral, scientific and geographic resources, cities across the country are in various stages of Detroitification. Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Portland, Providence and Houston are all going the same way. And it doesn’t stop with municipalities either. California, Illinois and Kentucky—many states are headed for bankruptcy too." 

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