1. 0 Introduction Detroit has always been the quintessential industrial city; it has an extremely volatile economic timeline that has shown highs and lows at an astronomical level over the past century. This literature review is researching Detroit’s broad economic spectrum and the industrial drivers which resulted in its instability. ‘Detroit turned out to be heaven, but it also turned out to be hell’. (Marvin Gaye) 2. 0 History of Detroit As this literature review is focused mostly on the narcotics and motor industries within Detroit, the time period it is focused on is primarily post 1900.
“Detroit has a particular need to understand the past, as the city has developed to a current state that is widely considered to be negative”. (Rudary, 2008) According to Scot M. Bernstein, Detroit had the reputation of being a rowdy river town long before the advent of modern organised crime. ‘Under French, British, and, finally, American rule, smuggling, gambling, brothels and other forms of vice flourished, and with the birth of the automobile industry the city of Detroit grew rapidly.
’(Bernstein, 2006) The cities rapid growth and reliance on the automotive industry has meant that Detroit is always severely affected by changes in the industry itself. For example America’s energy crisis in 1979 opened people’s eyes to the fact that the large American gas guzzlers where becoming obsolete compared to the more fuel efficient Japanese counterparts, this realisation was the beginning of the end for the kingpins of the motor city. (Temple, 2010) 3. 0 The rise of Detroit “Yes Detroit is enjoying its finest hour, there is a renaissance, a rebirth in the city.
There’s newness in Detroit. I am honoured to be serving as Mayor at this most eventful and productive time in Detroit’s history and I’m honoured to be a participant in the Detroit story. ” (Jerome Cavanagh, 1965) 3. 1 Motor Industry By shortly into the twentieth century, Detroit presented itself to the world as, according to historian Olivier Zunz, a “total industrial landscape. ” The status of Detroit as a small centre of production transformed overnight, when early one June morning in 1896 Henry Ford’s “quadricycle” rolled down Grand River Avenue for the first time.
This lead to the invasion of the automobile factories, and the industrial boom that followed transformed Detroit, helping cement the city’s role as a “world-class industrial center. ” The automobile defined Detroit, creating an image of the “Motor City” that will always make Detroit synonymous with American cars. Workers poured into the city as Henry Ford developed the assembly line in 1913, and intensified even further with the introduction of the $5 a day workday in 1914 – more than twice what any worker had been paid before.
(Sen, 2006) In the immediate post World War II era, the auto industry was seen as both a pillar and a beneficiary of American growth and economic achievement. General Motors Chairman Charles Wilson proclaimed in the 1950s ‘what’s good for the country is good for general motors and vice-versa’ more than half the automobiles sold in the US were then GM. (Klepper, 2002) In its first fifteen years the U. S. automobile industry was characterised by a great influx of workers and the number of firms exceeded 200.
Despite robust growth in the market for automobiles, the industry subsequently sustained a prolonged shakeout in the number of producers and evolved to be an oligopoly dominated by three firms, GM, Chrysler and Ford. The industry also evolved to be heavily concentrated around Detroit, Michigan between 1900 and 1930; Detroit experienced nearly unparalleled growth for a large city, growing six-fold from a population of 305,000 to 1,837,000. There was no secret formula behind this growth, it was fuelled by the concentration around Detroit of the automobile industry, which by 1929 was the largest industry in the U. S.
(Davis, 1988). 3. 2 Wartime Detroit By the early 1940s, Detroit had reached its “industrial zenith,” a national leader in progressing economically beyond the crippling losses suffered during the Great Depression. (Sugrue, 1996) Soon, however, the United States entered World War II. Following the call of the Michigan National Guard into service, Detroit men began registering for the draft; by the end of the war, over 200,000 Detroiters had served the country in the armed forces.
The needs of the nation turned from automobiles to planes, tanks, jeeps, and other war paraphernalia. Having already established an infrastructure for mass production over the previous forty years, Detroit was in the unique position of being able to quickly convert its plants and factories to producing these war machines in mass quantities, earning the city the nickname “The Arsenal of Democracy. ”
By 1944, Detroit had been awarded almost $13 billion in war contracts, with more to come. (Woodford, 2001) 4. 0 The Fall of Detroit “We as a nation seem to be self-destructing-environmentally, economically and culturally. Detroit is just doing it more quickly and more wilfully”, Marvin Krueger in a letter to the New York Times.
4. 1 Narcotics Industry
“When a crack-head comes to you and his woman is on his back, his babies don’t have no Pampers, he hasn’t eaten in two days, and he’s about to spend his last five dollars on crack, you have to make him feel good about spending his money. ”, Larry chambers’ alleged advice to a door man at one of his crack houses. 4. 2 The Crack Epidemic According to the DEA by 1988 crack had replace heroin as the “greatest problem in Detroit” The power of the narcotics industry within Detroit is hard to quantify accurately as any black market activity is but the affects of the crack epidemic within the city as well as across the United States is undeniable.
The DEA’s budget rose from $362. 4 million to $769. 2 million between 1985 and 1990. (DEA) Paediatricians at Hutzel Hospital, one of the largest obstetric facilities in the metropolitan area, have pioneered the testing of meconium (the faecal discharge of a newborn) to detect maternal drug use during pregnancy. Of a sample of 1000 infants born at Hutzel, 42% showed traces of at least one of the drugs tested for (cocaine, heroin or other opiates, cannabis). Cocaine was found in 21%, opiates in 24%, and cannabis in 12%.
All told 38% had been exposed to either cocaine or opiates. (Haaga, Scott & Hawes-Dawson, 1992) At dinner recently with two friends, the conversation turned to our respective, black middle-class families and how each had been battered by the rock cocaine epidemic: How after the initial shock of learning of a brother or sister’s addiction, more nightmares began of having to watch their personality disintegrate under the influence of the drug and their family collapse, with the kids bearing the brunt of the catastrophe. (Jervey Tervalon, 1995)
4. 3 Race War The need for workers brought on another influx of workers from around the country, a movement known as the start of the “Second Great Migration”. From 1940 to 1943, this included more than 50,000 blacks from the South, and 200,000 whites from the Appalachian states, many so called “hillbillies” with racial prejudices. (Sen, 2006) This, exacerbated by a poor housing situation which had become intolerable by 1941, helped bring about a clash in what had previously been a relatively harmonic racial mix. The darkest day for Detroit’s racial unrest came in late July 1967 when a brutal riot swept the streets of the city.
On July 23rd during a summer heat wave the Detroit police department decided to raid an illegal after hours saloon on 12th street which was in the heart of one of Detroit’s largest black communities. These raids were fairly regular occurrences but they would generally involve the arrests of a hand full of people, being the owners and staff, on this night in question the decision was made to detain all people within the premises on the street outside until reinforcements could arrive. This meant holding a crowd of 85 drunk and angry people in the uncomfortable heat.
As unrest spread throughout the crowd and allegations of police brutality were being made it soon got out of hand. A son of one of the owners of the establishment William Scott II threw a bottle at a police officer and shouted “Get your God damn sticks and bottles and start hurtin’ baby! ” By 08:00am a crowd of over 3,000 had started rioting a looting, they were finally stopped by a force of nearly seventeen law enforcement officers after causing $36 million worth of damage to insured property and a loss of 43 lives. (Sugrue, 1996) 5.
0 Conclusion Taking all of the aforementioned information into account it is easy to understand the affects that the automotive and narcotic industries have played on Detroit over the past century and quarter century respectively. Essentially Detroit seems to have problems with over reliance; whether it is the motor industry which the city itself relied on for economic strength or the drugs which have fuelled so many of the inhabitant’s addictions. Jerry Herron sums up Detroit ell when he says, “Detroit is the most representative city in America.
Detroit used to stand for success and now it stands for failure. In that sense, the city is not just a physical location; it is also a project, a projection of imaginary fears and desires. This is a place where bad times get sent to make them belong to somebody else. ”(Herron, 1993) It is our societies need for industry that has made Detroit this fickle projection of the times we live in. Bibliography * Burnstein, Scott M. Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit, 2006 * Davis, Donald F.
Conspicuous Production: Automobiles and Elites in Detroit, 1988 * Haaga, Scott & Hawes-Dawson. Drug Use in the Detroit metropolitan area, 1992 * Herron, Jerry. AfterCulture: Detroit and the Humiliation of History, 1993 * Klepper, Steven. The Evolution of the U. S. Automobile Industry and Detroit as its Capital * Mieczkowski , Tom. The Operational Styles of Crack Houses in Detroit, 1990 * Rudary, Thomas j. Identifying Detroit: Representing tension, conflict, and hope in Detroit architecture, 2008 * Sen, Amartya.
Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny, 2006 * Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, 1996 * Temple, Julien. Requiem for Detroit, 2010 * Woodford, Arthur M. This is Detroit , 2001. Web pages http://www. time. com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,967322,00. html http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=-aUUuTBVypk&feature=related http://www. justice. gov/dea/pubs/history/1985-1990. html http://articles. latimes. com/1995-06-25/books/bk-16800_1_great-american-nightmare