|Hazelridge St, Detroit, 2009|
|Hazelridge St, 2011|
|Hazelridge St, 2013|
We don't have the experience in Australia of parts of a major city decaying and returning to nature.
One part of the reason for the decay is the effect of violence amongst a black American underclass in Detroit. (Back in 2011 an Australian man bought a run down block of apartments in Detroit with the intention of doing it up; it went wrong when he attempted to evict a woman for not paying her rent - the woman's father, despite being a lottery winner and having the money to support his daughter, chose to gun down the Australian.)
However, what makes me curious is the following. In Detroit property taxes are very high compared to elsewhere, because of high spending and a failure of many to pay taxes to begin with. That was part of what pushed some residents and businesses out of the city.
In other words, it's difficult to maintain civilisational standards when a declining percentage of the population are working to support those who are not working. The burden on the productive increases until it becomes too much and they seek a life elsewhere.
But is this just happening in Detroit? It seems to me that there is a slow shift along the same lines more generally in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West. I noticed, for instance, that 1 in 6 American men in their prime working years are now no longer active in the workforce. What if that percentage continues to worsen? Is there a breaking point at which decline becomes obvious? What, for instance, if the percentage were 1 in 4 American men?