Monday, February 06, 2006

Hyman vs. The Truth

Apparently in an effort to rain on Detroit’s Super Bowl parade, Mark Hyman devoted a “Point” to deriding the Motor City’s economic conditions. But in doing so, Hyman confuses cause and effect, and in so doing offers echoes of much more sinister rhetoric.

Hyman claims that despite federal investment in Detroit since 1993, jobs and income have fallen. He chalks this up, at least in part, to the murder rate, which he claims is frightening companies from setting up shop in Detroit. In order to revitalize Detroit, Hyman says that “the first order of business is to stop the killings.”

But Hyman offers no proof of the cause/effect relationship he’s suggesting. On top of that, he mischaracterizes the facts about Detroit’s economy.

Hyman points to a drop in both income and employment since 1993. But what he leaves out is that this hasn’t been a steady decline. In fact, between 1993 and 2000, the
unemployment rate dropped steadily. In January of 1993, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent. In December of 2000, it was 3.6 percent. In the last four years, the rate has ranged between 6 and 8 percent.

homicides in Detroit dropped during the 1990s, but remained steady in the last few years.

This correlation by itself doesn’t prove anything, but between the two possible cause/effect relationships that might be at work, which seems more plausible: the availability of jobs affects individual income and, hence, crime; or that companies are moving in and out of Detroit based on the vagaries of the homicide rate?

Hyman’s logic has a particularly noxious odor about it, since what he is in essence saying is that it is the moral degeneracy of the population of Detroit that is preventing them from having a successful economy. Given that the population of Detroit proper is over 80% African American (one of the highest rates in the country), Hyman’s insinuation is uncomfortably close to the
overtly racist rantings of right wing hate groups who enjoy singling out Detroit because of its high minority population. White supremacist groups, like Hyman, turn the logical cause and effect relationship on its head to suggest that the murder rate (supposedly a measure of the population’s degeneracy) is the cause of the economic troubles of the city.

So in terms of its representation of the facts, its use of logic, and its ethics, Hyman’s argument flat out stinks.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.17


At 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I very much doubt that Hyman and his ilk would be very upset if Detroit were to suffer an event similar to Katrina in New Orleans.

At 3:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious Ted, you seem to think you're a pretty smart guy, and yet you can't hold down a steady job. What's up with that?

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Stupid-Comment Guy,

I think Ted's doing just fine.

So is this the best you can do after you've said all your other incoherent crap on this blog: personally attack Ted?

Come'on Mike Thayer, we know you're in there (who else would post such a stupid personal attack?)

What's up with that?


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