Factors that Caused the Demographic and Economic Decline of Detroit in Regards to the Marxist Theory

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In 2013, Americans witnessed a slowly sinking ship finally submerge. Once a bustling urban center rife with economic prosperity, the city of Detroit, Michigan filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S history on July 18, 2013 (Fletcher, 2013). Over recent decades, Detroit has been the victim of both economic and demographic decay. To put the magnitude of the city’s desolation in perspective, during the middle of the twentieth century, the city’s population was approximately 1,850,000, making it, at the time, the fifth most populous city in the nation. As of 2013 census data, however, the city has dropped to the eighteenth most populous city, with a population of 701,000, the lowest it has been since the 1910s when the city…show more content…
By examining the relationship between the fall of the city’s industry—chiefly the automotive industry—and racial conflict, this essay serves to highlight the factors that caused both the demographic and economic decline of Detroit in regards to Marxist theory. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German sociologist and philosopher renowned for his analyses of political economy. According to his theories, capitalism is dependent on exploitation. That is, the working class (the proletariat) works for the owning class (the bourgeoisie), but rather than receive a compensation equivalent to its actual labor, or production value, the working class is underpaid, with a surplus, or profit, pouring into the pockets of the owners. Although the proletariat receives the short end of the stick, so to speak, its members are forced to sell labor power to the bourgeoisie in order to receive wages necessary for survival. Thus, conflict between the owners and workers, known as mutual antagonism, is inherit in the capitalist system, as workers fight for higher wages and shorter working days while owners attempt to combat these demands to maximize profit. Marx’s theory of history, known as dialectical materialism, is focused on the notion that societies evolve through a

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