Wednesday 13 October 2010

Dust in the Wind

"All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see".
 (Kansas, "Dust in the wind")

There once was a town called Gary, Indiana.

Founded by the US Steel in 1906, its population reached a peak of 178,320 (*), in 1960 and its health depended on US Steel's profits.

With greater opening to international trade, American manufacturers increasingly lost profitability and layoffs became generalized.

The unionized labour force, mostly white, migrated to areas where better employment opportunities still existed, just to find that these opportunities often disappeared.

By 2000, Gary's population had been reduced to 102,746 (*) [with 95,920 (*) estimated for 2008], predominantly black and impoverished [83.2% of the total (**)].

Paul Mason, from BBC, reports here what became of Gary, Indiana. More  images of Gary can be found at the "Gary, Indiana, Ghost Town" web page.

From an Australian perspective, Gary's fate, however tragic, may look as something remote, utterly alien, unrelated to us.

Still, this may be the shape of things to come, not only for us in Australia, but for humankind.

(*) Gary, Indiana. Wikipedia
(**) Gary City, Indiana - Fact Sheet. US Census Bureau, 2006-2008 American Community Survey.


  1. Yep.

    It has a kind of post apocalyptic quality to it.

    By the way, the notion of economic base is explained reasonably well here:

    Economic Base analysis

    It's not super high brow in terms of mathematical/statistical apparatus, but it works reasonably well, unlike most of those highly sophisticated models.