Cleveland, Ohio was founded in 1796 on the south shore of Lake Erie, one of the Five Great Lakes. These lakes form part of the border between the U.S. and Canada.
Running through the center of Cleveland is a large river called the Cuyahoga River. This river was part of a canal system which connected the Great Lakes to the central area of the U.S.
The city took almost two centuries to reach half a million people. It was so uninhabited and covered with trees that the residents called it Forest City.
Cleveland’s fortuitous location drove it into the steel and steel manufacturing industry.
Cleveland is located between the iron ore deposits in Canada and the coal mines in south Pennsylvania. Boats laden with iron ore would come across Lake Erie, unload the iron ore and take back coal or processed steel.
Smelters for the iron ore blossomed on the Cuyahoga River. A very bright Brit, called Sir Henry Bessemer, invented an ingenious method of smelting iron, called The Bessemer Converter, and these enormous smelting units were found along the Cuyahoga River.
The Bessemer Converters spewed out tons of toxic and carbon laden gases and downtown Cleveland became known as Soot City.
Nonetheless, the iron smelting spawned factories of all types. In particular, it spawned iron and steel factories where every type of steel or electrical products were produced.
The factories attracted poor immigrants from Europe. During the early years of the 1900′s people from every country in Europe arrived in Cleveland and formed their Expanded Family neighborhoods. At one time Cleveland had the largest conglomeration of Hungarians found outside of Budapest.
The largest groups were the Germans, Irish, Poles, Italians and English. But every European country was represented.
In the middle half of the 20th. Century these people and the factory owners who lived in the richest urban location in the United States, Shaker Heights, produced so much wealth that it laid the foundation for the death of the city.
INVASION FROM THE UNIONS
Wealth attracts predators. Fat animals in the forest attract more predators than scrawny animals. If an animal is fat, it cannot run as fast nor fight as well as a scrawny animal on the brink of starvation.
This rule applies to humans as well.
The Union or Syndicate is a group of humans looking to make money without working. The Union organizers saw the uneducated workers of Cleveland, with their lack of knowledge concerning the laws of workers, and their relative inability to read and speak English, as prime prey ready for the plucking.
The workers, almost all of whom were uneducated European immigrants, were hard workers, but they instinctively wanted a higher compensation than the rich factory owners were providing.
The rich factory owners, at first, tried to fight the Union organizers. The battles between the Unions and the Factory owners spanned half a century, but, of course, the Unions won. The cost of labor in Cleveland, Ohio after the Second World War rose higher and higher as the Unions took over every factory in the city. The factory owners started to look for Cheap Labor.
INVASION FROM THE SOUTH
In the South Central part of the United States there is a huge pool of labor descended from the African slaves. These people live in the states that border the Mississippi, such as Louisiana and Mississippi and Tennessee.
Their life style is quite different from that of urban Americans. Most of the African-Americans in this area own small farms, which generate very little money, but provide a subsistence type of existence.
When the factory owners came to them in the 1950′s and 1960′s they were promised high paying jobs in the factories of Cleveland. Seduced by these promises, the African-Americans packed their few belongings and took the long bus ride to Cleveland, Ohio.
When they entered Cleveland they were greeted by two opposing groups: The European-American factory workers who disliked and distrusted them; and, the real estate firms and the factory owners, both of whom saw big profits in their arrival.
The European immigrants who were working in the factories were frightened by the new comers. Their appearance, their language and their culture was totally different from the American culture they had adopted.
When an African-American family would enter a white neighborhood the whites would all sell their homes and move to the suburbs. This was known as “White Flight” and it completely changed the racial character of Cleveland.
This was very lucrative to real estate agents who received fees from the African- Americans who were buying a house and fees from the European immigrants who were selling a house.Frequently, the real estate agents would convince a reluctant African American family to buy a house in a completely white neighborhood in order break up the neighborhood and garner fees from both buyers and sellers.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia which describes this practice:
“The real estate business practice of “blockbusting” was a very important means of controlling non-white migration and aiding white flight for profit. By subterfuge, real estate agents would facilitate black people buying a house in a white neighborhood; either buying the house themselves, or via a white proxy buyer, and then re-selling it to the black family.
The consequent panic among the remaining white inhabitants (aggravated by real estate agents and the local news media), would psychologically coerce the remaining white inhabitants, fearing devalued residential property, to quickly sell, usually at a loss – realized when they began selling en masse – thus generating great sales commissions for the agents.
In turn, the real estate agents would then sell at to the incoming black families, profiting from price arbitrage and the sales commissions from both the black and white victims of such schemes. Thereby, the racial composition of a neighborhood populace often changed completely in a few years.”
The Italians, living in a neighborhood called Little Italy, refused to sell and run.
Racial gang fights erupted on the streets of Little Italy and eventually the Africa Americans avoided the area.
The Italians had won. However all other nationalities ran. And, the Italians gained a reputation of being The Mafia.
THE UNIONS CONQUER THE CITY
Although the factory owners had placed their faith in the African Americans to work in their factories and not be unionized, they were totally mistaken.
The African-Americans were easier to unionize than the European immigrants. Because of their cultural uniqueness and the fact that they felt they were alone in a sea of whites, it was quite easy for the union organizers to capitalize on their fears and cull them into the Unions with promises of higher pay and job security.
Gradually, in the 1960′s and 1970′s every factory in Cleveland became unionized and its workers became the highest paid in the country. The Factory Owners started to look abroad…
WORKERS OF THE WORLD
It was not difficult, in the 1970′s, to find workers in the “Third World.” The entire world, with the exception of Europe and the U.S., was under-employed. There were billions of workers in Asia, Africa and Latin America, looking and eager to find work.
The governments in these countries were searching for capitalists who would employ their workers. The unemployed workers were a menace to the government. Riots, uprisings and revolutions were occurring everywhere. The World Population was exploding and there was insufficient food for the masses.
When the American Factory Owners came along, looking for workers, they were greeted by workers and governments with open arms.
China’s government recognized the potential of getting entire factories located within their country. The Chinese set up Governmental Agencies which would handle the paper work, construction and recruitment of labor for the Factory Owners.
The process of shipping factories overseas started in the U.S. and some countries in Europe. The flow of factories was at first a trickle, became stream and finally a rushing torrent!
This process continues to this very day.
WHAT HAPPENED TO CLEVELAND?
The workers in Cleveland were unaware of what the Factory owners were doing. They continued working at their highly paid jobs, and refused any lower pay. (See The Fat Cat Syndrome)
Gradually, the factories disappeared. Service Sector employment took up part of the slack. When the Service Sector could grow no longer, politicians started hiring for City, State and Federal jobs.
Taxpayers were the last to support the workers. The workers began to leave.
No more homes were constructed and old homes which could not be sold were boarded up.
The population of the City of Cleveland has fallen from a high of over 900,000 in the late 1930′s to a low today of over 400,000. That is a loss of over fifty percent of the residents in a period of sixty years.
The once bustling Steel City with low unemployment is now a “nothing” city with high unemployment.
Crime is everywhere.
Approximately thirty percent of the homes that were constructed with great care are now boarded up. Their owners have moved to other states. Many of the African-Americans have returned to the Deep South.
Since boarded homes attract criminals, dope addicts and rats, the City of Cleveland is now destroying them.
Here is the news from Bloomberg:
“Cleveland’s population has been shrinking for 60 years as the city lost manufacturing jobs. Now, after more than 33,000 foreclosures since 2005, it’s demolishing hundreds of deserted, derelict homes.
An agency started last year to manage abandoned houses in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, plans to acquire as many as 1,000 properties next year, and tear down as many as 900 of them. The city of Cleveland may raze double that amount, according to Gus Fringes, president of Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp.”
A DYING CITY…
Can Cleveland, and Detroit, and Toledo, etc., be resuscitated?
Patients put on “Life Support” rarely survive. Their illness is too generalized for any team of doctors to resuscitate them. All the organs of the body are shutting down. It is almost always better to let Nature take over.
Hopefully, observers will learn a lesson from what they see.