Social Question

J0E's avatar

Do you view Michigan as a third world country?

Asked by J0E (13136points) October 7th, 2009

I am a resident of Michigan, we aren’t doing to well right now.

~ Michigan is currently worst in the nation for unemployment.
~ The Detroit area has lost more jobs in the last 12 months than any other metropolitan area in the nation.
~ Under Granholm Michigan has lost 1 job every 10 minutes, totalling more than 150,000 jobs lost.

BUT, that being said, I am starting to get sick of everyone treating Michigan like someone on their death bed. If Michigan was like what everyone described we would all be laying in the gutter outside the unemployment office. What do you think about Michigan right now?

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34 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

Like I want to move somewhere asap. I moved here two years ago and must plead temporary insanity.

I have never seen any Northern state with such poorly plowed or maintained roads in winter ( or any other time of year). Road signage is similarly lacking. Ridiculous.

The people are very nice but that’s about all.

aphilotus's avatar

Yes- it’s a post-apocalyptic wasteland. There have been a couple of really amazing photo-series of the vast swaths of renatured city, the abandoned buildings, the trees growing inside of factories.

It amazes me that we are backing up GM and Chrysler with federal Recovery money meant to help out economically viable companies- we should be giving them money through FEMA instead.

If your industry can fuck up a city that bad, she dead man, she dead. Let the Japanese take over auto-manufacture- they can make a $4000 car and still turn a profit on it.

And I live in Pittsburgh, so I can say shit like that. (For example, they just filmed the Post-Apocalyptic movie The Road outside the city, on an abandoned streach of the Penna Tunrpike).

Aethelwine's avatar

The economy may be shit but I think that it is one of the most beautiful states in the US. Especially the upper peninsula.

gussnarp's avatar

I don’t think of Michigan as being synonymous with Detroit, so no. When I think of Michigan I think of a more bucolic setting rather than Detroit. I also don’t think of Detroit as a third world country, but I do think it is pretty bad. The problem in Detroit is that it is comparable to a mining or oil boom town in which everything ramps up to become huge and prosperous, but as soon as the ore or oil runs out the entire economy rapidly collapses. In this case it has been a longer, slower, bigger climb and a slower decline, but the city was too dependent on a single industry that had huge positive impacts, but the loss of most of that industry couldn’t help but be devastating. If you have ever seen Michael Moore’s Roger and Me one of the best parts is the attempts to revitalize Flint. That area has tried every economic development trick in the book to no avail. But I hear the UP is beautiful.

mattbrowne's avatar

Michigan is first world. Detroit is first world. A lot would have to happen to even come close to the misery in real third world countries.

Detroit’s car companies have made serious mistakes. They kept building “dinosaur cars” even though the bright light of the comet was already visible in the sky while the European and Asian car makers invested in the development of smart “mammal cars”. Big is beautiful no longer applies when the comet hits the Earth i.e. the oil price keeps rising because of peak oil and rising demand in developing countries. Now gas guzzlers have almost become extinct.

gussnarp's avatar

@mattbrowne While the Big 3 may have been doing fine, Detroit was in trouble long before gas guzzlers became unpopular. I am loathe to blame Unions, but there is little doubt that cheaper labor in the “right-to-work” South was a major cause of the hemorrhaging of jobs from Detroit. The other problem, associated with the gas guzzlers, was the inflexibility of the assembly lines. The newer factories built by Japanese automakers are set up to switch over to building an entirely different car fairly quickly. The old Detroit factories were never designed that way.

casheroo's avatar

It was pretty depressing being up there this past August. I’ve gone there almost every year since I was a child (born and raised there until I was 4)
They had a ton of development though, so many restaurants and stores…it was unbelievable! But, they apparently never have any lines because not everyone can afford to go out.
Other than that, my extended family has been hit hard when it comes to house prices (aunt and uncle in east detroit have a house worth practically nothing and a lot owed on it) And other unfortunate events.
I wish it wasn’t like that :(

wilma's avatar

I’ve lived in Michigan all my life.Times are very tough right now and have been for some time. My son lost his engineering Job at GM in April along with 4,000 others there the same day. He still hasn’t found another job and is doing odd jobs here and there for grocery money. He will probably lose his home.
I live in a very rural area and my husband works in the agriculture industry.
People need to eat, so there is still work here, unless they are regulated out of business. If that happens then we all will have to rely on food from others countries and I can only assume that the prices for food will increase in a big way.
On the bright side…
Michigan is still beautiful, and has vast unspoiled nature, the world’s longest freshwater coastline, sandy beaches on lakes that seem like seas. Rich farmland that helps to feed the world, forests and waterfalls…
Shall I go on?
I haven’t given up hope for my state. If you haven’t been here, come and see us, I don’t think you will be sorry if you do.

CMaz's avatar

And don’t forget your checkbook. :-)

J0E's avatar

@Allie On behalf of the state of Michigan, thank you for keeping us company at the bottom.

mattbrowne's avatar

@gussnarp – Maybe local politicians in Detroit should have done more to create incentives getting away from blue collar monoculture to diverse new jobs in other industry sectors. Take Munich for example. Yes, they got BMW and the Oktoberfest, but today the city is attracting talent from all over Europe in various high-tech sectors.

gussnarp's avatar

@mattbrowne Yes, they should have, but it’s easier said than done. A major problem with trying to keep old industrial cities running is that what works one place doesn’t necessarily work somewhere else. What ends up happening is that a city does something, it’s economy rebounds, so everybody else tries the same thing and fails miserably. Munich, I expect, probably had a more robust and diverse economy to begin with, and I’m sure there are a lot of other factors on Munich’s side that I just don’t know. I for one agree with those who say Detroit must be downsized. I don’t think anything they do will be able to sustain Detroit as a city the size it once was. There’s just no model for successfully downsizing a city, particularly doing it without serious hardship. I think that Detroit’s time in the sun is done though.

poofandmook's avatar

I am actually attempting to move to Michigan right now… to Livonia, which is outside of Detroit. The difference here is that it would be an in-house transfer within a medical corporation… medical we all know is nearly completely recession-proof. Everyone I know in Michigan (I grew up in Holland and my boyfriend lives in Grand Rapids when he’s not at school in Holland) is working and none of them have to do with the auto industry.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

Don’t forget Lansing. Lansing sucks too.

J0E's avatar

@AlyxCaitlin Lansing is where I work and go to school, I don’t think it sucks.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

@J0E it depends on where you work, and go to school because hahaha I do the same in lansing

hug_of_war's avatar

At least it isn’t the butt of all kinds of inaccurate jokes, like Ohio

JLeslie's avatar

No. Michigan is a wonderful state. Well, too cold in the winter but wonderful. The people are some of the most genuine, down to earth, non-discriminating people I have ever met. Not to mention in my experience they are some of the best story tellers—funny!

The lakes are beautiful, if you have never been to the Great Lakes you have no idea what it is really like.

It is very sad that the economy of MI has been so difficult in the last 10 years. I actually think that the national economy tanking helps MI in an indirect way, because I don’t think the rest of the nation really gave a damn about MI or the American auto industry previously. I grew up on the east coast, but went to school at Michigan State University (an absolutely beautiful campus), and it was like another world to me to see only American cars on the road. Oh, and the Michigan left, that took a while to get used to.

Unfortunately, people might be thinking about the car industry or detroit and not realizing MI is a big state. This happens in many states, NY, IL, and others. They need to talk up the tourism more towards people outside of the state, so they become more aware of what there is to offer.

Gooooo Greeeen!!!!

J0E's avatar

@JLeslie You are absolutely right, Michigan is a gorgeous state.

Go BLUE!!!

JLeslie's avatar

@J0E State won! That game was torture. LOL!!

J0E's avatar

::refrains from commenting:: :)

AstroChuck's avatar

I feel sorry for you Michigan but just be glad you’re not California.

wilma's avatar

@ChazMaz, yes bring the checkbook!
@JLeslie, I agree with you and I’m glad you liked it here.
We have been down before (I remember the late 70’s, early 80’s) we will come back, but I don’t think our industry will be the same.

buster's avatar

There is a mini Michigan called Columbia and Spring Hill Tennessee where Saturn was built. Those towns tripled in size. My dad built 13 homes in the early 90’s and sold them to 13 families from Michigan. With the influx of auto workers came a lot of Detroit riff-raff. Graffiti, gangs, drugs etc. That aspect of Michigan that appeared in small town bible belt Tennessee seems third world to some people here. I’ve been to Detroit and its not one of my favorite cities. Michigan isn’t my favorite state. I like the towns on Lake Huron though.

wilma's avatar

@buster that Detroit “riff-raff” is unfortunate, and give us a bad reputation. (also has infected Flint and Saginaw I believe)

There is a whole other world of people up here. Who are very much like what JLeslie found “genuine, down to earth, non-discriminating people.” I hope you’ll give us another try, up in in the middle of the mitten and north.


Darwin's avatar

I live in a town that is heavily dependent on the presence of military bases, of which three have now been shut down by the BRAQ committee, so we, too, have high unemployment, and empty buildings in all of the shopping areas and in downtown. Many of our local citizens barely speak English, and our average reading level as a community is 6th grade. We have the highest rate of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts in our state and so have a very large but extremely unskilled workforce.

We are also undergoing the worst drought in recorded history (which began in 1895 as far as weather is concerned in our state), with the first complete failure of the cotton crop since 1904. That means even the farmers aren’t doing well, and neither are the fishermen because the marine “nurseries” depend on freshwater runoff from the land.

However, we are still the number two tourist destination in the summer, so maybe we will figure it out.

So if we aren’t considered a third-world country, why would Michigan be?

standardtoaster's avatar

i think it shows a great deal of hubris to declare michigan to be of the same conditions as a 3rd world country

YARNLADY's avatar

@AstroChuck you got that right

Ivan's avatar


Lansing sucks.

J0E's avatar

@Ivan Examples…

J0E's avatar

:: checking to see if last post went through ::

Ivan's avatar

Lansing is no better than Detroit, in many ways. Just as much unemployment, it’s just as run down.

J0E's avatar

Have you been to Detroit? I’ve been in Lansing way more than Detroit and I don’t think it’s similar at all. Yeah, there are bad parts, but it’s no Detroit. As far as roads being bad, that’s just the state of Michigan not any one city in particular.

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