Saturday, 27 July 2013

Detroit Wants Robocop!

Movies, while providing a source of entertainment, also possess the ability to inspire us, move us and provide an example of the direction our society is moving in. Robocop among many memorable movies of our youth or general collection, gave us an image of a city named Detroit suffering from extreme crime, poverty and corporate management from what appears to be a multinational corporation.

While the movie employs common language and themes found in a typical 80's film setting, it was dead on regarding the advancement of science and also the potential direction American social conditions could take. You see, Robocop isn't a movie about a man robot so much as it is a glimpse of what society can become if we allow our greatest fears to overcome us and consume us. Crime is so bad in the movie that the police force has been diminished to cannon fodder...that is until our mechanized hero comes into play.

If you haven't guessed what the theme of today's post is, then you might have missed that Detroit recently declared for bankruptcy. Yes, that is correct, an American city that was once known to be the mecca of automobile manufacturing and prosperity, can no longer afford to pay it's own bills. While the demise of Detroit has been a known reality for some time now, it opens up a plethora of questions that challenge both American and Canadian ideas of development and stability in the year 2013. The 80's faced a severe war on drugs, which is most likely why the creators of Robocop decided to make severe crime and drug manufacturing such a key aspect of the movie, but something many miss is that the very company that created Robocop, also included some of the most dangerous characters increasing the crime in future Detroit.

Currently Detroit faces immense poverty and unregulated drug use. While there is a police force currently serving the city, it suffers from a lack of population as well as a very large income gap between social classes. We as a people should ask ourselves how such a prosperous city at one point has now been diminished to a bankrupt ghost town? If banks and the "big three" auto companies were to big to fail, how is it that Detroit, an entire city was allowed to? How can a government allow it's own citizens to live at a third world level, while it continues to support and increase the profitability of private multinational companies.

I wouldn't be surprised if the universe that allows Robocop to exist becomes a reality in present day Detroit. I mean, all of the conditions are there and the setting is perfect for some large company like Google or Apple to move in and take charge. When you have homes selling for $1.00, yes that is correct, one American dollar, you can figure the potential in real estate investment alone. Never mind the house sitting on that land, view the potential property for a future factory, R&D facility or private headquarters.

While the prospect of Detroit becoming governed and practically owned by a third party private organization worries me, when viewed from the American point of view, this potential reality is nothing out of the ordinary. I mean Americans live on a premise of free market enterprise, which in the case of Detroit would welcome potential investment and private management from a large company that is financially secure.

I want you to imagine however an alternative reality to the current scenarios I have provided. Imagine if, the government invested with it's stimulus money and began building American versions of what we Canadians refer to as "crown corporations." A method of employment for the many unemployed residents of Detroit as well as a beacon of hope for others who currently cannot find employment living in other cities or states. Many Americans would call this socialism, something that is very bad in a free market system, but these many Americans are also the ones currently benefiting from the status quo and aren't locking their doors and windows every night with five to ten locks just to keep out the druggies (Yes, believe it, this is actually the case for many people).

While Detroit now holds the record for being the largest city to declare bankruptcy, it may also prove to become a historic landmark for future generations. The beginning of the corporate take over, when a private company becomes the main stakeholder in a city and instead of investing into it with the cooperation of the government, it becomes the governing body. Plus, if the situation in Detroit does happen to possibly get worse, it wouldn't be to long until the local government and the remaining people living there cry out for someone to bail them out, if the federal government isn't there, a private one is the next thing in line.

One thing is for sure, if Robocop and his foes become a reality, you can bet a fine penny that Stephen Harper and his government would be buying up the defective killing machine that doesn't even work in the first movie. Robocop handled that thing like a charm, but Canada would then be facing the F-35 issue once again!

50 units without even knowing the cost? You and I are going to be great friends Mr. Harper!

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