This article provides a case study of the economic impact of the “Great Society” programs of the 1960s upon a major urban area, Detroit, Michigan. Mayor Cavanaugh enthusiastically believed that Detroit could serve as a model for other cities to follow with respect to implementing programs designed to move the nation toward the goals President Johnson first established at the 1964 University of Michigan commencement speech. This paper focuses upon two major economic objectives of the Great Society—enhancements to human capital and urban renewal. Consistent with accounts of the Great Society nationwide, the programs in Detroit did not deliver upon the political rhetoric put forth by the program’s architects. Instead, the economic programs in Detroit illustrate the frequently cited law of unintended consequences.
|Journal||Essays in Economic and Business History|
|State||Published - Apr 1 2010|