Michigan’s auto industry: We need to just get over it

Michigan has a rather long history. Various things have taken prominence in this state’s history.

First and foremost was the fur trade, almost the sole reason for French exploration of the area, beyond finding the non-existent waterway to the East Indies. The local tribes were often at odds with the Iroquois Confederation, an ally of Britain, and so turned to the French for support and trade.

What’s my point? Get over the auto industry, already. Maybe going back to furs isn’t the best idea, but the massive automotive industrial machine is not coming back, at least not back to what it once was. Get over it.

Agriculture was an important facet of the state economy with corn, apples, and cherries – there’s wine and peaches further north also. All of these are available, but in a modern economy an industry of some sort is needed.

Cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids have suffered because of the near collapse of the big three, and it’s suspected these cities will take a decade or longer to recover.

Attempts to make the state a second Hollywood have not done very well yet, but there is hope in that area, at least once people are tired of Canadians playing Americans because of filming being done in Vancouver.

Another more forlorn hope is if the big three start making good cars again. Ford, the least suffering of the big three, is likeliest to regain lost ground and will likely eventually recover, but it alone will not be enough.

Another problem is Detroit, again, yet and still. The city scared away tourists and ran itself into the ground, supported by a lone art museum and corruption, incompetence, and good old so called “reverse racism.”

If the city was ever able to pick up the pieces of its past into one of America’s largest cities instead of having to count homeless people to still qualify, then with it might come back tourism.

Street shopping was once a common facet of life in Detroit, with storefronts designed like Chicago and New York City.

The problem with Michigan is simple, the automotive industry became the crutch of the state, the crutch snapped, and the economy was hit hard.

This is nothing new, whenever the national economy suffers, we suffer worse. Who wants to buy a new car when they can barely afford to keep their house?

The road to recovery will be a long and hard one. Just how we’ll recover or what this state will be when it’s done I don’t know, I’m not a prophet. I have said it before and will say it again, I am a history major, and this state was not always so dependent on an industry overconfident to the point of ruination.

The auto industry will likely recover to some point, as it has slowly begun to do. How much it will recover is in doubt, but one thing is clear, it cannot be our crutch any more.


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