Abandoned corpses now crowd the stainless steel racks of the Detroit City Mortuary, grim symbols of a city on a course with becoming a ghost town. In recent months the numbers of unclaimed bodies of the hopeless have piled up as people cannot even afford to bury their dead apparently. According to Albert Samuels, the city’s Chief Investigator at the mortuary, the number of unclaimed corpses has never been higher in his 13 years on the job. The situation according to officials, began to worsen once the economy took its most recent downturn. This situation begs the question; “Can America re-emerge as an industrial power while her centers for manufacturing decline?
Detroit, the city which once claimed the highest median income in the US, now stands as dying monument to what has gone wrong in America. This latest embarrassing blemish on the city almost resembles some sort of post-apocalyptic nightmare. Amid the wreckage of Detroit’s forgotten manufacturing might, after decades of mismanagement by city officials, and under the weight of this latest economic disaster, Detroit almost wreaks of a smell American’s have never come to accept – failure.
Nowhere To Go But Down
The unemployment rate for Detroit is even worse than it was in the Great Depression, standing at close to 30 percent. Roughly half the city’s population of 1.6 million has left the city in search of greener pastures, this leaves somewhere around 900,000 to suffer everything from insufficient services to a soaring murder rate. It has taken the philanthropy of local Detroit residents to even begin to bury the growing number of unburied, some 11 more having been interred out of donations. Hell, the down and out in Detroit cannot even go down.
Detroit, The Motor City, a symbol of America’s industrial might in the 20th Century, reduced to a skeleton. The city’s professional sports teams probably symbolize Detroit’s death throes as much as anything. The Lions becoming the first team in NFL history to lose all 16 regular season games, the Pistons having their first losing season since 2001, the Tigers finishing last in the AL Central, and only the Red Wings making a showing in the playoffs. A sad epitaph to a city of former champions.
Beyond Sport, far past the exportation of American jobs and industry overseas, for the last residents of this industrial ghost town life resembles the old west sure enough. Detroit has always been a dangerous city to live in, but now it is the absolute worst in the country surpassing even Miama (which is not exactly thriving industry wise either). In short, Detroit is not a place anyone wants to be, and no one really needs to.
A list of business closings, boarded up skyscrapers, ravaged middle class neighborhoods, infrastructure nightmares, and a Twilight Zone epic could be written for what is now, in case anyone cannot see, a dead city. The video below says more than this writer could ever summon about what a pitiful condition this once great city is in. While the image (right) of a dead inhabitant no one even took the time to remove from the streets testifies to this too. More significant than any epitaph for Detroit could ever be, is the larger story of an America headed down exactly the same path. One has to wonder where nearly a million people since the late 50′s migrated (or more aptly evacuated) to? What sort of manufacturing utopia are they now living in?
Sold Out America
Since 2001, When China gained access to the World Trade Organization, almost 2 and one half million American’s have lost their high paying manufacturing jobs. The trade deficit with China and other nations continues to grow wider and wider. The average American has no conception of the long reaching effects of the losses of these jobs. Not only do Americans lose their jobs, but low cost competition from these cheap labor forces effects over 80 percent of the jobs people still cling to. For Detroit, and eventually nearly every major US industrial center, the outlook is pretty much clear. As Detroit begins to look more and more like Mogadishu, or some other gutted urban center, perhaps Americans will wake up. More importantly for the world, maybe watching Rome fall will wake them too?