Monday, January 26, 2009

Welcome to Yooper's Trails

Hello, and welcome to Yooper's Trails. Most people who come here are interested in my collapse views and the reasoning behind this. May I suggest by starting in the January archive with, "Catabolic Collapse: Detroit, Michigan." By reading your way upward, you'll be actually going along the trail with me, getting to know me along the way. I'll guide you through the Detroit neighborhoods and as we make our way along, we'll comtemplate John Michael Greer's, "Catabolic Collapse" and how it might pretain to this great city.

What will be the future of Detroit in 50 years from the present? I don't know. However, perhaps we can find clues in John Michael Greer's, "Adam's Story", where the setting is the rural Pacific Northwest during the second half of this century.







Anonymous said...

Hiya Yooper,
I have been following your writings and have seen Detroit through your eyes. Thank you for the written visual.

I am certain, though, that there will be a lot of other cities that will follow their own catabolic collapse. Look at the great state of California. And to think, we thought there would be a time when it would fall off the face of the map because of earthquakes. LOL!!

yooper said...

Heh!heh! I remember that well Mrs. M! Well, I don't think California is going anywhere soon, it'll just seem that way for many people who will likely have to it....

thanks, yooper

Nudge said...

Coming soon to more of Detroit and to neighborhoods everywhere, probably:

yooper said...

Hey Nudge! Thanks for the link!Check this out.

and this, a real eye opener,

The Black Knight
Hero Member

Posts: 1251

Re: Tour Of The COLLAPSE: Detroit Sunday, March 29th
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2009, 10:23:02 AM »

Excellent story, joe-bob henry-bob! Then there's this...

Thomas Sugrue, native Detroiter, historian and author of "The
Origins of the Urban Crisis," has spent 20 years in major
cities in the United Sates and in London. He came to the Free
Press in the summer of 1998 to talk about the conditions that
created present-day Detroit, and the implications for
journalists. These are excerpts from his talk.

Anyone who has spent time in cities like Detroit in America's
former industrial heartland can't help but be struck by the
eerily apocalyptic landscapes that are so common as one passes
through these places.

I asked a simple, but very difficult question: "Why?"

After digging around in the papers of unions and business,
civil rights organizations, census data, city records and
countless newspaper articles, I arrived at the conclusion that
follows: Detroit's woes began, not in the 1960s with the riot,
not with the election of Coleman Young as mayor, not with the
rise of international competition and the auto industry's
globalization, they began amid the steaming prosperity and
consensus of the 1950s, and in an era about which we have very
little to go on apart from hoary shibboleths and cliches.


Three sweeping changes transformed the city. These three
things, occurring simultaneously and interacting, dramatically
reshaped the metropolis of Detroit and other metropolises like
it. First was deindustrialization, the flight of jobs away
from the city, something that began unnoticed and unheralded
in the 1950s.

Next was persistent racial discrimination in labor markets.
Racial discrimination remained a very persistent problem
despite decades of civil rights activism and some improvement
in attitudes and beliefs.

Finally was intense residential segregation, a division of the
metropolitan area into two metropolitan areas: one black and
one white.

Any one of these forces would have been devastating, but the
fact that all three of them occurred simultaneously and
interacted with each other proved to have devastating


World War II was a great moment of opportunity for
working-class Detroiters, black and white alike. The city was
a magnet for workers coming from other parts of the country.
African-Americans had been pretty much closed out of the
industries that provided skilled jobs, but that pretty much
ended during World War II.

Only 3 percent of auto workers in Detroit were black in 1940.
By 1945, 15 percent of the city's auto workers were African
American. Detroit, then, became a magnet for black migrants
who heard about these great opportunities. But the reality for
black workers, even in this window of opportunities, was a
great deal more complicated and harsher and more frustrating
than those statistics would lead us to believe.


One of the supreme ironies of post-war Detroit is that, just
as discrimination was under siege, just as blacks found a
small window of opportunity in the city's labor market, that
job base began to fall away.

First, beginning in the late '40, and especially in the 1950s,
began a process that has continued right up to the present.
Jobs began to move out of places like Detroit to low-wage
regions in other parts of the United States and the world.
Companies in Detroit began picking up and moving their
production to rural Indiana and Ohio, increasingly to the
South and, by the 1970s and beyond, increasingly to the Third
World -- places where wages and other standards were lower
than they were in Detroit.

At the same time, industry in Detroit was changing from
within. There was introduction of automation, of new,
labor-saving technology within the factories. The consequence
was a dramatic decline in the number of manufacturing jobs,
solid, blue-collar jobs, the jobs that made Detroit the city
that it was.

Between 1947 and 1963, a period of unprecedented national
economic prosperity, Detroit lost 134,000 manufacturing jobs.
This is not the '70s. This is not when there is any
competition from Germany and Japan and Korea for automobiles.
These are jobs that were picking up and moving to other parts
of the country, or these were jobs that were being replaced by

Workers who had come to Detroit during World War II, seeking
opportunities, found their choices seriously constrained. The
workers who suffered the worst were African Americans, and
they suffered because of seniority. African Americans, because
they didn't get their foot into the door until the 1940s, were
the first to be fired. So, when companies began moving out of
Detroit, the burden was borne disproportionately by black

So, in the midst of the 1950s, 15.9 percent of blacks were
unemployed, but only 6 percent of whites were unemployed, so
we're talking about black unemployment two and a half times
the rate of white unemployment.


The third and, indeed, probably the most pernicious force was
residential discrimination by race. The city was divided into
districts by race, divided by invisible lines.

These invisible lines were drawn in a whole bunch of different
ways by different groups. The federal government subsidized
housing development for whites through the Federal Housing
Administration and Home Owners Loan Corporation. But federal
policies prohibited making loans to risky properties, and
risky properties, according to federal standards, meant homes
in old or homes in racially or ethnically heterogeneous
neighborhoods. It meant that, if you were a black trying to
build your own home or trying to get a loan to purchase a
home, you had many obstacles to face, whereas if you were a
white it was really quite easy.

Real estate investors reinforced these invisible racial lines
by steering black home buyers to certain neighborhoods and
white home buyers to certain other neighborhoods, and stirring
up racial anxiety when neighborhoods were along that invisible

In one west-side neighborhood, in the late 1950s, there were
more than 50 real estate agents working a several-block area
trying to persuade panicked whites to sell now and sell fast
because "they're moving in." Real estate agents even went so
far as to pay African-American women to walk their children
through all-white streets to encourage panic among white home

Also reinforcing these invisible boundaries were the actions
of ordinary people. There were more than 200 violent racial
incidents that accompanied the first blacks who moved into
formerly white neighborhoods in Detroit.

If you were the first black to move into a formerly all-white
block, you could expect, certainly, for your house to be
pelted with rocks and stones. In one case, a tree stump went
through a window.

Regularly, vandals would break 20, 30 -- every window in a
house. Arson was another popular tactic.

As newspaper reporters, if such an incident were happening
today, you can be sure that you would be covering it, but
until 1956, there was not a mention of any of these incidents
in Detroit's daily newspapers. They were off the radar of the
major dailies.

This process of housing discrimination set into motion a chain

Blacks were poorer than whites and they had to pay more for
housing. They had a harder time getting loans. Hence, they
spent more of their income on the purchase of real estate.
They were, by and large, confined to the oldest houses in the
city, houses that needed lots of repair work. Many of their
houses deteriorated as a consequence of them being older, not
being able to get loans and folks not having all that much
money in their pockets. City officials looked out onto the
poor housing stock in poor neighborhoods and said, "we should
tear this down."

Moreover, the fact that housing stock was old and in many
cases deteriorating in black neighborhoods provided seemingly
irrefutable evidence to whites that blacks were irresponsible.
"We kept up our property, why aren't they keeping up their

Finally, this neighborhood deterioration seemed to lenders
definitive proof that blacks were a poor credit risk and
justified disinvestment.


To talk about Detroit's problems beginning in 1967, or
beginning with the election of Coleman Young, or beginning
with the globalization of the 1970s is to miss the boat.

The pattern of workplace discrimination, of the massive loss
of jobs, of the residential balkanization of the city into
black and white -- this was already well established by 1967.
It wasn't Coleman Young that led to the harsh racial divisions
between blacks and whites in metropolitan Detroit. It was
there, and had been festering for a long time.

It wasn't the riot that led to disinvestment from the city of
Detroit. Disinvestment had been going on very significantly
for years.

And it wasn't globalization that led to the loss of jobs. That
loss of jobs was going on when the auto industry was at its
very peak.


We focus on changing the attitudes and motivations of
individual workers, rather than challenging larger
discriminatory practices.

We have a policy mismatch, a gap between the reality that I
have described and the policy recommendations to try to
address those problems.

The premise of welfare reform is to put welfare recipients to
work. The problem is that the areas with the greatest job
growth in the metropolitan area tend to be the farthest away
from where the poorest folk live, in the outer suburbs largely
inaccessible by public transportation. So there's a gap
between the reality of jobs and job loss and a policy

Another major one,is downtown revitalization and tourism:
"Build casinos and they will come. You need to deal with the
deeply rooted problems I've described: job flight, racial
segregation, discrimination.

We need to think about providing poor people with access to
secure, well-paying jobs, wherever those jobs might be.

auntiegrav said...

Wow! That's a long comment...;-)
Thanks. I think it also applies to Detroit's sister shitty: Milwaukee. The collapse mode is always seen as the problem when the actual problem is the growth mode.

Yoop: I deleted the A.G. blog. My part for reducing the clutter on the internet. Now, if I can only get the world's servers to filter out video files....;-)

Great stuff. I've passed on your link to the Peak Shrink at

yooper said...

Hey auntiegrav! Was wondering how you was hold'en up this past winter! ha! You bet, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburg, etc., and the list goes on...

Since this series, I've visited Detroit again just recently. This time beautiful high definition pictures were taken, over 400 of them. This is being discussed over at latoc (Life After the Oil Crash forum, in the General Discussion section, "Tour of the Collapse".,43340.30.html

Another thread is also in the Announcement section, where this is being discussed. So, this is pretty much where I can be found, as I'm adding some notions to these pictures.

Hope to see ya there! (heh! somebody's got to keep me on the staight and narrow! Might just as well be you! ha!) Oh btw! I've thought quite a bit about "Net Creational" and have used this concept time and time again! Thanks!

Thanks, yoop

Alice said...
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オテモヤン said...
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Nature Creek Farm said...

Hey Yoop,
Auntiegrav here.
I just wanted to invite you over to Freedom Guerrilla
I'm trying to avoid the net, but hanging out there, too.
Thinking of buying a place in Crystal Falls. Whatd'ya think?

yooper said...

Hey Auntiegrav! heh! Your ears must be burning, eh? Heh! Wrote just the other day about your notion of "Net Creational". ha!

Crystal Falls, eh? Heh! Thought the "Garden" area might be more your style! Small farms in the middle of nowhere!! ha! We'll have TV-6 crafts shows near there at Escanaba this spring and Iron Mountain, this fall...

Maybe we'll see ya there? Or perhaps along side the road with a sign that reads, "Will grow food!" heh! ha!

Thanks, yoop