Detroit is dead, long live Detroit 

Watching “Requiem for Detroit“, a BBC documentary on the rise and fall of the city of Detroit, among the many things that attracted my attention was how the automotive industry in the 50s influenced the current culture and in a way is responsible for the materialistic way people live their lives today.

When owning a car stopped being a privilege of the rich, Ford and General Motors made the car a need for everyone.

Ford increased the daily wage to 5$ in a time when the average USA wage was 2.5$ in order to make his cars affordable among his employees.

General Motors created 2 series of cars, The Cadillac, the more expensive car targeting the rich and the Chevrolet for the lower middle class. Everyone should own a car.

Both were responsible for and the main pressure group for the creation of the  great Detroit freeways, creating the sense that further to a need for the obvious reasons, driving can also be a great experience. This way they created a need for sports cars, which, of course, they provided for.

It is true that the automotive industry raised the standard of life among the residents of Detroit who increasingly started moving to the suburbs. GM did not fail to spot the opportunity to market cars as a need among the suburbs wives, if they were to be modern and independent.

Detroit’s flourishing and prosperity made the city inspirational for Americans living in across the country, spreading the need for a car and the general Detroit lifestyle beyond Michigan’s borders.

I can’t help wondering; if Detroit is the actual place when it all started, the hometown of imposed needs and material happiness, what does its collapse mean for the rest of us?

A new beginning, I hope. Thankfully, social media have enabled global dialogue and this means that only people, and not an industry alone, can influence people.