Corpocracy: The Tyranny of Neoliberalism and Detroit's Financial Crisis

20 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2013 Last revised: 13 Mar 2013

See all articles by Henderson Butler

Henderson Butler

Wayne State University

Ron Brown

Wayne State University

Date Written: March 4, 2013

Abstract

The city of Detroit in 2013 is confronted with a financial crisis so severe that municipal bankruptcy may be the only viable solution. Racial mistrust unfortunately structures the political communication between political leaders in Detroit, the suburbs, and the state. Amid this contentious political climate of racial mistrust, allegations of mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption have been directed at the city of Detroit as causes of the crisis. The aura of racial mistrust makes it extremely difficult for city, county, and state officials to implement an equitable solution to the financial crisis. The most damaging aspect of racial mistrust is the obfuscation of the fundamental cause of the crisis. Building on the arguments of Wendy Brown (2003, 2006), Henry A. Giroux (2004,2005), and Michael C. Dawson (2012), we argue that the fundamental cause of Detroit’s financial crisis is the implementation of neoliberal fiscal and social welfare policies targeting the poor by chief executives and legislative elected officials in Washington D.C. and state capitals across the nation. This paper focuses on the Detroit’s financial crisis, and offers as an example, the policy solutions offered to address the thirty-five year federal government oversight of Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department, to illustrate both the perils and challenges facing citizens and political leaders whom are opposed to the anti-republican nature of neoliberalism. The Detroit financial crisis is not merely an isolated local issue; it is a referendum on the duties and obligations of government toward its citizens. Will federal and state governmental officials become more responsive to the concerns of its citizens of color, or will elected officials continue to implement policies that elevate the political desires of the free market above those of the citizenry and transform American governance from an inclusive representative democracy into a corpocracy.

Suggested Citation

Butler, Henderson and Brown, Ronald, Corpocracy: The Tyranny of Neoliberalism and Detroit's Financial Crisis (March 4, 2013). NCOBPS 44th Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2229554 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2229554

Henderson Butler (Contact Author)

Wayne State University ( email )

656 West Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202
United States

Ronald Brown

Wayne State University ( email )

656 West Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202
United States

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