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|Index||16 reviews in total|
Greetings again from the darkness. Admittedly, I am tough on
documentaries. My expectations are quite high. Reason being,
documentary filmmakers need not be burdened with fluffy entertainment
requirements. Instead, they can tell a story, debate an issue, or
expose a wrong. Wasted opportunities annoy me.
Have you heard anything about the economic hardships in the city of Detroit? Of course you have. It's been a story for more than two decades. So a documentary "exposing" the hardships in Detroit should at least offer a different perspective, debate options, or discuss the challenges of progress. Otherwise, it's a wasted opportunity, which is what we have here.
The film is beautifully photographed and very well put together. It's just missing a reason to exist. It's a clump of different pieces that don't fit and provide little insight. We get a clueless local union president who is clinging to the past and offering no help to his constituents. We get some obscure video blogger whose main credentials seem to be that she lives in Detroit and has her own camera. We get a couple of guys sitting on a front porch making fun of any efforts by local officials to develop solutions.
There seems to have been a very narrow focus on choosing who to interview. At least Tommy Stevens, a local bar owner, is an interesting guy to follow around. He holds out hope that GM will open a Chevy Volt plant and spur business at his club, so he can re-hire his cook. His hopes are dashed when he attends a local auto show and finds out that China has an electric car that at a significantly lower price than Chevy. He recalls the days that stubborn US automakers refused to acknowledge upstart Honda in the US.
We are offered brief glimpses into some type of town hall meeting and the absolute rejection by the union of the "last" offer from American Axle. We are shown a few clips from inside the Detroit Opera, which the Big 3 automakers continue to finance. Lastly, we are introduced to a couple of young artists, who are part of a growing trend of relocations to inner city Detroit to take advantage of the low rents and low housing costs.
All of the above are interesting enough, but again, it's been two decades and we only get one angry lady spouting off about Mayor Dave Bing's seemingly appropriately creative idea of consolidating the outlying areas into a smaller geographic area, so the city can provide services for its citizens and start the process of healing and growing.
There seem to be two real issues worth analyzing. First is the unwillingness of so many to accept that change has already occurred ... so fighting change is a lost cause. Your city is broke. No need to make things worse. Secondly, looking into the true cause of the downturn could lead to interesting discussions of greed. Corporate greed as well as the greed of the people. The Chinese can make a car (and TV's, washing machines, etc) so much cheaper because they are not holding on to our standard of living. Detroit has been called the birthplace of the middle class, but just what is that definition today? These are some of the discussions that need to be had. Just one more look at houses being torn down and empty hotels ... all with the shiny GM towers in the background ... is just a re-hash of what we already know. So yes, the wasted opportunity has me annoyed.
This film is interesting to watch, especially the tour through the
ruins of Detroit, a fascinating graphic representation of the collapse
of a major American city. The haunted landscape with its empty houses
and buildings (often very large buildings) evokes emotions of loss and
decline, both sad and romantic at the same time. I was thoroughly
entertained while I was watching those scenes. This documentary also
interviews some of the residents of those devastated areas, and while
those survivors are likable and interesting in themselves, they seem to
have little insight into what's going on around them or why. This video
provides a paucity of information about what brought about those
alarming conditions, instead focusing on allowing the pictures to tell
There are a couple of major omissions that are quite glaring, as if the videographers just had to avert their eyes from the truth because of ideology or just a personal aversion. First is the alarming crime rate. Only about 21% of the homicides are solved. There is no indication here about how dangerous Detroit has become. Another omission is the abysmal condition of the public schools. Without decent schools there is literally no hope for the kids still having to live in the Detroit area. My understanding is that it is not due to lack of money because Detroit schools receive more per pupil than the national average. Only 25% of high school students graduate. A young student is more likely to wind up in prison than in college. A third glaring omission is the fact that the city has been ruled by Democratic politicians for 50 years. The city's problems are to a large extent the result of bad politics, misspent money and cronyism. Without a viable opposition who was there to keep the politicians honest?
I don't mind that much if the documentary was just meant to show the wasteland that was once Detroit as a series of visual images for their own sake. However there seems to be something under the surface that is hinted at but never developed. Why did Detroit take such a nosedive in the last decades? I would have preferred a more in-depth analysis. Why couldn't Detroit adapt to changes in the global market? Auto plants in other parts of the US are doing okay. Did the unions kill the auto industry in Detroit? This is a question that is never asked in "Detropia." Perhaps because the filmmakers didn't want to face the answer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this flick because people kept telling me it was shot well
and it really wasn't. I've seen better urban spelunking videos (or even
photos) come out of media censor friendly China. This film looks like
it was shot without a budget (like most documentaries, that's not meant
to be a strike against it) but also without any permits. I'm not really
one to complain about that unless it seems to show in your work.
The somewhat bland videography aside the point of this documentary is to talk about and expose people to the problem in the "D". With no history. No context. No real explanations at all. People used to make cars there and now they don't so we get to listen to people whine about how bad things have gotten in the city.
I'm not looking for a piece that might match my opinions but you can't take a movie talking about economic hardships in Detroit seriously without discussing pension liabilities, government mandates, unionism in general or any other myriad economic problems that lead businesses to flee to other states or countries and consumers to buy cheaper goods.
We hear a lot about China. Nothing about Ohio where cars are still being made. Or any of the "Right to Work" states. I'm not advocating here for "right to work", I'm pointing out that the filmmakers don't even discuss the very economic issues that the "Rust Belt" has been grappling with for more than a generation. Art snobs can afford to move in so we'll show them taking photos and being all artsy, that will take the place of any real expose or discussion.
There is a scene in this flick, seriously, where a union refuses to negotiate with a company that is threatening to move the last of their plants to Mexico. This isn't a bluff or standoff, this is a take-it-or-leave-it issue. The union "doesn't even vote on it" because they "have nothing to lose". Can we discuss THAT mentality for a second? How do they have nothing to lose? We're told the plant closed and nothing else of note. Did they all go on unemployment? Why was the plant closed? We see the union meeting with their "greed" talking point but what was the reason from the company? We don't even get the tried and true documentary trope of "nobody from company 'x' would talk to us".
I watch a lot of documentaries as they help my wife sleep from boredom and they keep me up at night seething with rage. This was just another in a long line of "what a cool idea" that quickly turned into "86 minutes of movie, 4 hours of my life wasted because now I'm on IMDb complaining about it".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Detropia is a documentary focusing on the city of Detroit. The film
explores the lives of a few of the city's residents including an auto
worker's union leader, a night club owner, a blogger/waitress, the
city's mayor, a young artist couple, and a few yon men who salvage
scrap metal from dilapidated and destroyed buildings. The film lacks a
strong narrative push as a whole and in the lives of the individuals it
examines. Instead, Detropia acts as a snapshot of the city as a whole
zeroing in on the problems facing the dying megalopolis.
I adore documentaries like Detropia that focus on a place more than a specific person or problem. I always feel like I'm being allowed to wander the streets and observe the day-to- day lives of the people who inhabit them. It's cinematic people watching, and it's more intimate than I could be in real life. (Wandering city streets and interacting with random people is one of my favorite real life pastimes as well.) I don't think that anything really exists beyond people and relationships. Every city, government, company, church, or civic organization is really just a collection of people mutually committed to perpetuating their relationships with one another, and so I seek the truth of a place in the lives of the people who live there.
Detropia doesn't really offer any solutions to Detroit's many problems. Instead, it focuses intently on what is broken and on the small glimmers of hope shining in the lives of the people trying to ensure the city's survival. I was particularly moved by the twenty-something artists who have moved into the abandoned city center to try to fill that decrepit place with life. In an obviously staged, but nonetheless poignant moment of the film, an opera singer explores an abandoned, graffiti-ridden train station. Standing in the main hall, he begins to sing, and his voice inundates that broken place with beauty which floods out across the city. I'm a Christian, and filling what's broken with beauty, making all things new - that's how I understand the gospel of Christ. For me, Detropia leaves no doubt that Detroit needs people committed to that kind of gospel to fill it with beauty again.
"Detropia" is a voyeuristic snapshot of Detroit as it is today but
offers little insight into how things got so bad so fast. Its creators,
like most of America, seem to accept Detroit's condition as the
inevitable result of auto companies migrating out of the city. They
entirely miss the point that citizens of Detroit have made poor
decisions that CAUSED the auto companies, as well as most of the
hard-working population and the good teachers, to abandon the town.
What everyone misses is that Detroit's decline began at the height of the U.S. auto boom, when everyone was doing so well here that they thought they could afford to give everything to everyone and it would last forever. Some landmarks:
-- The big 3 agree to strike demands that are obviously unsustainable including pensions, wages and even a guarantee that workers will get full salaries when they're laid off!
-- The white majority, wishing to be "progressive", elects the first black mayoral candidate that comes along...never mind that he's not qualified, hates white people and is blatantly corrupt (Colman Young)
-- The same white liberals move out of the city, taking their limousines with them
-- Detroit enacts a City Income Tax, driving the remaining productive people and businesses out of town. This money is supposed to be for education but ends up in the pockets of school administration, union leaders and mayoral appointees
-- The (now) black majority continues to re-elect Coleman Young for 20 years because he promises freebies for all
-- Like a vulture sweeping in for the remains, Quame Kilpatrick gets elected mayor and sucks up every dime left in the Detroit treasury
These are all DECISIONS made by Detroit voters (white and black) that have brought the city to its knees.
The directors of Detropia similarly avoid suggesting any CURES for the city. They blame the suburbs for not supporting Detroit when, in fact, surrounding counties have voted many tax millages upon themselves to fund the Detroit Zoo, the Detroit Institute of Arts, etc. In fact, the city has been largely supported by its suburbs and the state and federal governments for many, many years.
The appointment of a Financial Manager by the state was an absolute necessity (no one WANTED it). After 50 years of waste and corruption, someone had to become the adult in the room.
One of Detropia's directors(dreamily) said on CSPAN this morning: "It does no good to look at the past, we must look forward." (GAG!) I offer this quote: "He who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat it".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is nothing new or surprising in Detropia and I was disappointed
in that. The film is a hodgepodge of scenes jumping back and forth
between a local bar owner, a useless union representative, an urban
explorer and some artistic nomads.
The continued denial by the unions to accept current economic realities is now just tiring to watch and evokes irritation rather that pathos.
The jobs are not going to come back and pay is going to go down. This is the reality and the future and the unions don't want to accept that fact. In the end, they lose their jobs completely because they would not accept the realities of the current global economy and compromise on a new contract. Their strategy didn't work to well and now another group of people are unemployed.
The best part of the film is the bar owner, who despite the loss of his autoworker customers, is still chugging along bringing in his loyal neighborhood customers for some fantastic jazz and food. He is a very nice, educated and thoughtful man who the filmmakers should have followed around exclusively for a year and made the film about Detroit through his eyes, every scene with him is a highlight. I just wanted to reach out and give him and his wife a big hug. Not out of pity but to thank them for hanging in there and being such wonderful people.
The whole part about the Opera was out of place here (and just kinda weird). The only thing tying the Opera to Detroit is the fact the automakers financially support it (and probably always will). I doubt that any of the folks directly impacted by job losses and decaying neighborhoods attend the Opera and the Opera audience is probably 95% suburban whites who live outside the city limits.
I would rather have seen this time spent on the bar owner or on other residents faced with possible relocation and what their thoughts are about it. The one irate woman at the town hall accusing Mayor Bing of trying to enforce segregation in Detroit (how is that possible when it already is?) is certainly not the only opinion of residents stuck out in the middle of abandoned neighborhoods. I think most folks would welcome the opportunity to move into a better neighborhood filled with life and city services and public transportation, hospitals, schools etc. I would jump on that chance in a minute if I were in that situation.
I would have liked to have known more about the urban explorer, she was not flushed out well. I think it is so cool that she explores the abandoned areas and videos her adventures, I would love to do that! but I would like to have known what her purpose is for doing so. Is she working on a project of her own? I would like to have known some more back story on her.
Finally the young couple who picked Detroit because of its cheap rent and urban blight to work on their art. This is one part of the story that showed real promise for the cities future. Imagine if artists from all over the world came to Detroit and formed a massive art colony. This one population could produce massive positive change. I wish their story would have been flushed out further as well.
Detropia is worth watching, the visuals are fantastic and I wish it would have been about 4 hours long, I would have watched it all! I think the filmmakers tried to be too artsy with it instead of just giving us the story straight up. I hope to visit Detroit someday and see it for myself before all of the history is torn down. 7 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw this documentary at its Toronto screening - wasn't very impressed
by the content. By carefully selecting the interviewees and the target
demographic, the film maker somehow tends to sensationalise the issue
of the decline in Detroit's population.
Most of the characters that appear in documentary are African-American, work in auto industry and appear to come from a lower middle class background. Somehow the filmmaker conveniently chooses to ignore the middle class who might also be affected by the downturn in auto-industry but is still surviving.
However, the main points that sticks out like a sore thumb is the American hubris. The refusal to acknowledge the fact that Americans no longer rule the auto-manufacturing sector. A character in the movie riles about how Chinese can produce a car at almost half the price of an American car and how this will impact the car industry, not acknowledging the fact that the Japanese has already caused the decline of American car industry.
The mayor of the city comes with a novel idea of moving the suburban population to the inner city and using the available land for farming. But that idea is ridiculed by the characters appearing in the movie. When you are drowning and somebody throws you a lifeline, you accept it. Change is an inevitable part of life and it is time Americans accept it.
I am not sure if the film makers idea was to raise sympathy for the characters affected by the decline of auto industry, but if that was the case, they seem to hardly deserve any sympathy.
P.S. - After visiting IMDb, I realised that this is the same film maker who gave us the wonderful "Jesus Camp". While I enjoyed "Jesus Camp", "Detropia" failed to impress me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jacqueline Gallapo UPP101 Project 3.
Detropia is a unique film. It takes the issues of Detroit's decaying city but then mixes it with the creative prosperities and caring nature of the city's residents. The opening starts with a mix of Detroit's opera and images of the city, as well as, citizens' voices demonstrating in the background. These few minutes truly capture the beautiful sounds the city could have in comparison to the economic landscape Detroit currently offers.
To set the background of the status of Detroit the film shows a news reporter, reporting on the demolition of a home. From that news report we learn the severity of the decaying urban sprawl in Detroit. In Detroit, 10,000 homes are set to be demolished in the next 4 years. There are 90,000 more homes ready to go. Every 20 minutes another family moves out of Detroit due to the declining economic opportunities.
Following the news report, the film highlights how Detroit was fastest growing city in 1930. This surge in Detroit was due to the industrial revolution and creation of the automotive industry. The automotive plants created an infrastructure that supported thousands of jobs. As competition overseas rose, the numbers of jobs in Detroit began to decline. George McGregor, the president of United Auto Workers union Local 22, notes the decline in jobs in the automotive industry.
When George McGregor is introduced he is driving past the Cadillac plant he received his first job at. But now it's not the same plant it was when he was young. Instead it's a smaller scaled plant. This is because part of the processing of the Cadillac left Detroit, thus taking jobs with it. McGregor does a great job of highlighting how the unions are being bullied into lower pay in order to compete with foreign car factories. A prime example of the jobs leaving Detroit is with American Axle moving to Mexico, thus outsourcing more than 2,000 jobs. American Axles last plant in Detroit wanted to cut workers pay significantly. After negotiations with the UAW, American Axles decided that they weren't willing to bargain and instead left Detroit completely. This outsourcing for corporate greed is part of the issue the automotive industry left such a striving city to decay. McGregor says that when the jobs left Detroit, then the neighborhood left leaving the urban sprawl as its remnants.
Crystal Starr is a video blogger in Detroit. She explains to the audience that history is meant to be documented. That's why she feels the need to explore and contribute to Detroit's history. While showing a high-rise building she imagines what it may have looked like in its peak. Starr's curiosity and intuition help to shape the film into a piece that focuses on the current conditions of decay that would not otherwise be shown. This young woman holds such optimism and hope as she shows a decaying city. Starr also does a fantastic job of documenting city hall meetings and the chaos that ensues at them. The meetings allow those outside of the city to see from the perspective of a Detroit citizen, what is happening and how the city is dealing with such issues. She is a great leader for the youth of Detroit. Starr's and other young citizens should be considered when higher city officials work on issues in Detroit.
Despite the bad economy Detriotians find relief at places like the Raven Lounge. Owner Tommy Stephens says that the city was always vibrant when the automotive plants were there. Workers would flock to his lounge after work and enjoy the music and chicken wings. Then the recession hit Detroit hard, but "It will come back, I do believe" Stephens says. His optimism, like Crystal Starr's, is what all citizens in Detroit need to aspire to be like. Despite the bad, good will come and the city can thrive if you believe in hard work to change the landscape.
Towards the end of the film we are introduced to a couple of artists who moved to Detroit to explore the urban landscape, while having the ability to create new artwork. The duo is first shown in the film standing alongside a busy street. They are dressed in blazers, thus looking somewhat like a professional with gold science goggles air mask and glove accessories. The couple holds a sign reading "Give us your money $". This art installment that they are trying to create makes the people in cars passing by think. One woman looks angered and if you read her lips carefully she says an expletive. Later in the film the man explains that they moved to Detroit because the price of living was affordable. Plus the artists had space to work and create large-scale installations without the fear of failure that would be seen in other major cities. Their creativity and openness in moving to Detroit despite the cities flaws are worthy of mention. Citizens like these artists' help to drive the economy.
According to the film, the 2010 U.S. Census showed that the population had decreased to 713,000. Despite this decrease there is a 59 percent increase of young adults moving to the center of Detroit. This increase may be what Detroit is looking for. If the youth can continue to come into the city and revive the urban space, Detroit may rebound like Tommy Stephens hope for. Detropia sheds hope upon Detroit with the music and the imagery of a thriving arts program. In the end of the film a silver lining for Detroit is established, autoworkers have had more jobs created. The possibility of a better tomorrow is on the horizon. And with that there still is the cloud of economic troubles and the warning of what could potentially happen to other U.S. cities if their industries leave. Works Cited Detropia. Dir. Heidi E. Ewing. Perf. George McGregor, Crystal Starr, Tommy Stephens. New Video, 2012. Film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Detropia takes a look at the current state of Detroit, the prime
example of a remnant of the industrial revolution that has gone awry.
Once the center of the automotive industrial upsurge, the film presents
a shell of a city that is being torn apart from the innards, allusory
towards the infrastructure of Detroit along with the well being and
morale of the citizenry. The audience is provided with case studies
from similar walks of life that establish the framework for the city
itself and the film.
To entertain some initial conceptions that the American populace has of Detroit, we are presented with Crystal Starr, a local personal documenter, as she ventures through a wreckage, describing the beauty within and posing the question of how could all of the destruction and abandonment happen, which becomes the focus behind the film. Since the city is known for its automotive industry, the audience is then introduced to George McGregor, head of the local Automotive Workers union, which claims to have to some extent built Detroit. A drive throughout the city with him showcases the idea of past prestige and reputation of sprawling automotive factories, while the camera presents the complete juxtaposition, with abandonment and rust-laden fences lining the former compounds. With no industry to provide a backbone, the film makes Detroit seem destined for failure.
The only administrative action shown in the film proves that even the bureaucracy knows that Detroit is crumbling, with lower populations leading to even less job availability, and those with a semblance of higher income moving away as quickly as possible. The potential plans for the future are met with strict ridicule and disdain by the residents, and the film seems to almost highlight ignorance on behalf of the population as an underlying problem, with residents using loud voices and jokes, all in the midst of disjointedness and no organization. To provide a heightened perspective, another local named Tommy Stephans, a jazz club owner, becomes a focal point of the documentary with insights into how the Detroit issue is simply a microcosm of what will most likely happen to America. Now that automotive workers are far and apart, his club has seen a relative downturn in business activity. He believes that workers follow the jobs, and while, for the time being, companies have moved out of Detroit, soon the case will be similar for the country. Purporting that America cannot survive without a strong middle class to buffer between the rich and the poor, the disparity only increases and due to lack of innovation and our desire for a higher quality of life, other countries such as China will dominate the United States in the long run.
While there is factual data laced among vivid speculation, the artistic direction of the film seems to be the dominant focus. An elegance and style in decay is shown in the buildings, allowing an introspection on behalf of the viewer, forcing us to revel in the former beauty that the film projects. To energize this beauty, interwoven throughout are scenes of the opera, presumably taking place at the Detroit Opera House, which, along with the factories, was a staple in the vibrant city of the past. These scenes are paired with relative desertion that can now be seen on the streets and buildings, as well as sentimentally in the citizens, creating a contrast between the past and present, and adding depth to the emotional appeal that the visuals as well as the case study reports provide. Towards the finalé of the film there is a fusion of these two themes, as an opera vocalist sings inside of the ruins of a sizable building, showcasing an allegorical longing for the past that all of the citizens seem to make very evident.
Apart from all of the emotion of Detroit's story, opposing arguments are virtually absent from the plot line, possibly due to the heavy reliance of the film on the personal viewpoints of a select few, but also as a probable result of the director's obvious bias and artistic strategy. Opening and closing the film with the Crystal Starr's investigative reporting, the audience is dragged into an opinion of Detroit, rather than being allowed to form their own based on data sets, although they are presented throughout, albeit to a much less pronounced extent. It is up to the viewer to decide whether the artistic direction of the film should be allowed to undermine the real world issue at hand, in a film where presentation of a broad picture of the crumbling Detroit is only second to the personal stories of job loss and the foreign market scare.
All of this critique is overshadowed, therefore, by the heavy reliance upon appeals to emotion and opinion that are prevalent in the older generation of workers and citizens as present in the film. No form of a long term solution is proposed to this problem, and the glimpse of urban planning solutions we get do not substantiate what should be at least mentioned in the film itself. Even if no solution is ordained or on the horizon, it is my opinion that mentioning the actual state of affairs should have been a key focal point, although there is merit in the artistry and evocation of emotion, as those could potentially breed a sense of activism.
Detropia paints a picture of a city that has been through an economic collapse and is dependent solely upon the citizenry to allow for a fresh start, rather than writing an analysis of how to achieve this revitalization. Focusing on emotional appeals and a few stories intertwined with facts, the film adds character and humanity to an issue that needs multiple aspects and perspectives in order to achieve some sort of conclusion, in order to possibly restore Detroit, and ultimately the American economic dream.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anthony Ochoa Professor Ivis Zambrana UPP101 TR 23 October 2013 Project
In Detropia, Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady take a look at the fall of the once prosperous Detroit and more generally speaking the United States. Detropia is a combination of the words Detroit and either utopia or dystopia. Their main arguments or points conveyed throughout the film are the apathy of foreign manufacturers, the decline of manufacturing plants in the past few decades in the United States , and that the accustomed standard of living is closing the gap between wealthy and poor in America. They present these arguments through the stories of various community members who are affected by the loss of population in Detroit and provide social commentary. I would have leaned towards more statistics or studies to make the arguments seem more objective or balance out the subjective-ness of the community members' stories. Detropia uses vivid imagery, humanized effects of the decay, and allusions to the possible future for the rest of the United States.
Detropia opens up with a contrast of opera music against the unmaintained Detroit streets leading into the demolition of homes and observations by Video Blogger Crystal Starr. Crystal Starr is a Detroiter who looks for stories and beauty within the abandoned and wrecked buildings. She and a couple other Detroiters offer personal insight and reminiscence in coupling with the heavy use of imagery and statistics. The imagery in Detropia is so vivid and devoid of human presence that the sense of abandonment becomes very apparent to the viewer and contrasts the traditional use of the video medium. The use of audio is limited to the use of contrast against Detroit's prosperous past and for the use of the continued sense of loneliness throughout the documentary. The majority of the quotes are presented in text across the screen to further limit the use of audio. If background music is present it is from the eras prior to the decline and is accompanied by people's fond memories of prosperity. Other background audio is usually somewhat soft and eerie with the sounds of the dying city. The persistent imagery is often heavy with visual juxtaposition such as the beautiful view from an abandoned or vandalized buildings.
While Detropia's vivid imagery is lacking in human presence, it places emphasis on the use of a few chosen community members to humanize the decline of Detroit. Along with aforementioned Crystal Starr the other prominent speaking community members are George McGregor and Tommy Stephans whose titles are Local 22: United Auto Workers Union President and owner of the local business The Raven Lounge, respectively. George McGregor is introduced by announcing the latest proposition from an auto manufacturer to the union members, who consider the pay cut proposition an insult. After their refusal of the proposition, the plant was closed and the manufacturing jobs outsourced to Mexico. George McGregor speaks about how the country is losing manufacturing jobs to foreign markets and how there is a growing absence of American-made products. Tommy Stephans speaks about how Detroit is an example of how when jobs are lost, people leave in pursuit of work, which further hurts the businesses by loss of customers. He also speaks about the Americans' choice to choose comparable foreign products at a cheaper price and how it hurts the global economy by supporting foreign markets and their workers.
George McGregor and Tommy Stephans speak about the negative effects of outsourcing jobs and buying foreign products. In line with what they have said, it is reasonable to assume and partially alluded to by the directors, America is following suit with Detroit by our continued choices to value competitively priced foreign products over the positive effects of buying American-made products. It is a well known issue in the automotive industry and is showing specifically in Detroit's automotive based economy. If more American jobs and products are given or lost to foreign markets for cheaper production, those American workers will lose their jobs and we will see similar situations to Detroit. Capitalism is the economic system that drives American businesses to compete in order to offer the best product at the lowest price. After WWII, we had spread American ideals and systems, such as Capitalism, to foreign countries. This created competitors in the global markets as we consolidated our emerging industries. Then, we began to move away from manufacturing as labor laws prevented US manufacturers from producing cheaper than foreign manufacturers where different or no labor laws exist. As the director alluded to in the case of the automotive plant in Detroit, Americans have become accustomed to a certain standard of living. The American automotive employees were struggling, refused to be paid less, and were laid off as their jobs were outsourced to Mexico. As shown in the automotive show, the worst part of the cycle of destruction we are enabling is that we further support it, whether through ignorance, apathy, or financial priorities.
Overall, Detropia uses vivid imagery, humanized effects of the decay, and allusions to the possible future for the rest of the United States. It is a powerful documentary that outlines the variety of issues that caused the decline of Detroit and is currently harming the USA. Works Cited 1. Detropia. Dir. Heidi E. Ewing. Perf. George McGregor. New Video, 2012. Film.
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