Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Last one out of Michigan

Please Turn Off the Lights...

Michigan is a great place. Oh yes, the winters are pretty miserable if you hate snow (I don't), but you usually get a white Christmas and the Great Lakes make the summers sunny and temperate. As an industrial power house, Michigan has great universities, public schools and fairly decent services.

Things declined in the late 1970s with the collapse of the old industrial order, but Michigan still came out of it better than say Pittsburgh (No steel is made in Pittsburgh anymore) or even Cleveland. In the next few years that may change, with both GM and Ford looking like they may be on the verge of bankruptcy. Fortune thinks its inevitable.

Already you can see some of the effects. As background, Michigan is pretty much divided into two parts that roughly follow the I-75 corridor that splits the state into the industrial east, and the more conservative west. Having grown up in the industrial east (Saginaw-ish) it's a bit ironic that neither I nor my brothers, nor anyone I was close to in high school, still lives in that part of the state, if they live in the state at all.

In fact of my four fellow H.S. graduates who went on to the prestigious University of Michigan, only one still lives in the state. Most, like me have gone on to other places, DC, NYC, LA, SLC, etc.

Even my brothers have lodged themselves in the still growing and diversifying western half of the state. One in Grand Rapids (which is diversifying into high end health care) the other in the touristy Traverse City. Both are in services as well (Accounting, Medicine).

The collapse of either GM or Ford (or as we say in Michigan "Ford's") would be a death blow to the state. Michigan's future may have been foretold by the City of Flint. Once the fastest growing city in America (and birthplace of GM), it is now largely a ghost town. This is all neither good nor bad, just part of the ever evolving (or ever intelligent designing) economy. But it still makes me wax nostalgic to see such a mighty industrial state slowly sink into irrelevance.

This made me a little verklempt.


Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh..all great places...As midwestern kids (Mid-West!) we all mourn the decline of our 'homeland'...

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