I was recently invited by Bruce Bigelow at Xconomy.com to post some thoughts on what can be done to turn around Detroit’s sinking economy. As many of you know, I grew up in the Detroit area, and I remember what a powerful and dynamic city it once was. The auto industry has certainly suffered the most, and last year the city lost 80,000 manufacturing jobs — many of them related to the industry. If you have ideas for what Detroit can do, I hope you will post them here on my blog, or on the Xconomy.com site.

– Bob

6 Responses to “What Can Be Done to Turn Around Detroit’s Economy?”

  1. 1 Paul Kouris

    With the country’s highest high school drop out rate at over 75%, Detroit has much more to worry about than its present economy. As bad as it is now, it can only get worse with so many unskilled young people ending up in the local job market. The resulting ever increasing flow of dropouts will no doubt result in a growing drain on the local and national economies via social welfare programs and crime. What do eighteen year olds who drop out of high school do for the next 60 years of their lives?
    The solution is obviously simple but costly: build better schools, hire and motivate more teachers and counselors, and incentivize students to stay in school, study and excel with sports, productive extracurricular actives, good meals morning, noon and after school. And make it all free to the students and parents. These are poor people, poor students and poor parents. They do not need the additional financial pressure of coming up with money for education. Plus, WE can afford it. The US has the resources to provide this to the people of Detroit and other cities. The only question is why they fail to do so.

    These are my thoughts Bob. Having started my education at inner city Chicago school I have a definite opinion on the subject.

  2. 2 Andre Milteer

    Hello Again, Bob. I’m not an economist nor a politician. Yet, 80K manufacturing jobs is HUGE! I fear that unless Detroit shifts its BRAND away from Motor (Motown) City, she may be doomed to deteriorate further.

    A New Focus! As did Pittsburgh, Pa did away from Steel…as did San Diego away from Military-industrial…as has North Carolina away from furniture manufacturing.

    I welcome Beyster-Bloggers to Add and/or subtract from my comments. Detroit has been good for America…America now has to return the favor back to Detroit.

  3. 3 Dr. Beyster

    Andre: It looks to me like General Motors in Detroit is beginning to recover, and Ford has certainly been doing well over the past year. I don’t think Detroit needs a new brand. What it does need is new businesses because the Motown brand is no longer enough on its own. The move to attract the film industry by way of financial and tax incentives is a good start. High tech would be another good addition to the Detroit brand. I am hopeful for the future. — Bob

  4. 4 Dr. Beyster

    Paul: Thanks for your comments on my blog pointing out the fact that a big part of Detroit’s problem is the city’s dropout rate of more than 75%. That tells me that the problems Detroit faces will not be solved in the near term. It will take many years to rebuild the city’s schools and then the workforce. I don’t know how to solve the problem. I do know that other cities have done so. Your ideas are good ones. Perhaps someone will read your post and do something about it. — Bob

  5. 5 Karen Totty

    Dr. B, before I even scrolled down my immediate thought was “embrace the children”, once I scrolled down I see that Paul is thinking right along the same lines. The city needs to build up it young constituants, give them guidance, hope and make them know that they are looked after. So many parents that are out of work are in so worried about “how am I going to take care of my kids”. Knowing that the kids can still flourish while they deal with thier crisis will give hope to many. It may even inspire many to get out and volunteer and learn new skills themselves.
    The added benefit of diverting the kids from potentially joining a gang is huge in and of itself.
    Thanks for the opportunity to chime in!!

  6. 6 Dr. Beyster

    Karen: Thank you for the message. I believe you’re right. We must find a way to keep Detroit’s kids in school. — Bob

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