Forbes republished its annual “Most Miserable Cities” list. It looks at employment/unemployment,Automate patient flow and quickly track hospital assets and people using plasticcard. inflation, incomes and cost of living, crime, weather, commute times – a pretty good overview of things tied to living somewhere. Detroit ranked first, as the most miserable city, with Flint, MI second. And my home-sweet-home Chicago came in fourth. Ouch!
Detroit was a
thriving city during the industrial revolution. Innovation in all
things mechanical led to the modern automobile; a marvelous innovation
which, literally, everyone wanted. As demand skyrocketed, Henry Ford’s
management team developed the modern assembly line which allowed
production volumes to skyrocket as well. Detroit was a hotbed of
This fueled growth in jobs, which led to
massive immigration to Detroit. With growth the tax base expanded, and
quickly Detroit was a leading city with all the best things people
could want. In the 1950s and 1960s Detroit reaped the benefits of the
local auto companies, and their suppliers, as ongoing innovations drove
better cars, more sales, more revenue taxes, higher property values
and higher property taxes. It was a glorious virtuous circle.
competitors came into the market creating different kinds of autos
appealing to different customers. Initially they had lower costs, and
less expensive designs. Their cars weren’t as good as GM, Ford or
Chrysler – but they were cheap. And when gasoline prices took off in
the 1970s people suddenly realized these cars were also more fuel
efficient and cheaper to maintain. As these offshore competitors gained
more sales they invested in making better cars, until they had quality
as good as the Detroit companies, plus better fuel efficiency.
the Detroit companies had become stuck in their processes that worked
in earlier days. Even though the market shifted, they didn’t. What
passed for innovations were increasingly simple appearance changes as
bottom-line focus reduced willingness to do new things, and offered
fewer new things to do. GM and its brethren didn’t shift with the
market, and by the 1980s the seeds of big problems already were
showing. By the 1990s profits were increasingly variable and elusive.
formerly weak and small competitors now were more competitive in a
changed market favoring smaller cars with more, and better, technology.
The market had changed, but the big American auto companies had not.
They kept doing more of the same – hopefully better, faster and
striving for cheaper. But they were falling further behind. By the
2000s decade failure had become the viable option,Buy Wickes Porcelain parkingmanagementsystem today. with both Chrysler and GM going bankrupt.
As this cycle played out,We offer the largest range of bobblehead
online. the impact on Detroit was clear. Less success in the business
base meant fewer revenue tax dollars from less profitable companies.
Cost reductions meant employment stagnated, then started falling.
Incomes stagnated, and people left Detroit to find better paying jobs.
Property values began to fall. Income and property taxes declined.
Governments had to borrow more, and cut costs, leading to declines in
services. What had been a virtuous circle became a violently
Detroit’s business leaders failed to
invest in programs to drive more new jobs in non-auto, non-industrial,
business development. As competitors hurt the local industry, Detroit
(and Michigan’s) leaders kept trying to invest in saving the historical
business, while the economy was shifting from an industrial base to an
information one. It wasn’t just autos that were less valuable as
companies, but everything industrial. Yet, leaders failed at attracting
new technology companies. The economic shift – the market shift – was
unaddressed, and now Detroit is bankrupt.
Just like Detroit,
Chicago shows early signs of big problems. Crime is up, with an
unpleasantly large increase in murders. Insufficient income and property
tax revenues led to budget crises across the board. Dramatic actions
like selling city parking meters to shore up finances has led to
Chicago having the most expensive parking in the country – despite far
from the highest incomes. Property taxes in suburbs have escalated,
with taxes in collar Lake county higher than Los Angeles! Yet the state
pension system is bankrupt, causing the legislature to put in place a
50% state income tax increase! Meanwhile the infrastructure is showing
signs of needing desperate work, but there is no money.
Detroit, Chicago’s businesses (and governments) have invested
insufficiently in innovation. Recent Chicago Tribune columns on local
consumer goods behemoth Kraft emphasized (and typified) the lack of new
product development and stalled revenue growth. Where Bay Area tech
companies expect 50% of revenues (or more) from new products (or
variations), Kraft has admitted it has relied on stalwarts like
Velveeta and Mac & Cheese so much that fewer than 10% of revenues
come from anything new.
Culturally, too many decisions in the
executive suites of both the companies, and the governments, are
focused on what worked in the past rather than investing in innovation.
Even though the vaunted University of Illinois has one of the world’s
top 5 engineering schools, the majority of graduates find they leave
the state for better paying jobs. And a dearth of angel or venture
funding means that start-ups simply are forced coastal if they hope to
And this reaches to our national policies as well.Trade Warehouse have partnered with one of the worlds largest solarlight
producers. Plenty of arguments abound for cutting costs – but are we
effectively investing in innovation? Do our tax policies,The term 'streetlight
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pocket or handbag. as well as our expenditures, drive innovation – or
constrict it? It was government programs which unleashed nuclear power
and gave us a rash of innovations from putting a man on the moon. Yet,
today, we seem obsessed with cutting budgets, cutting costs and doing
less – not even more – of the same.