Shortcut: Detroit and Silicon Valley
Michigan is a state in the Midwest that is surrounded by the five Great Lakes. The biggest city in Michigan is Detroit. To many people Detroit is known as the Motor City. It is the hometown to what used to be the world’s three biggest automakers: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
It used to be great to live in Michigan. If you got a job working for one of the automakers, you knew you would have a good life ahead of you. But things have changed. First the price of oil went up so much that many Americans had to change the way they used their cars. Then, the financial crisis made it almost impossible for regular people to get a bank loan. Since the year 2000, almost half the people working for the car industry have lost their jobs. Today Michigan has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the USA.
On the western side of the United States is California. California is home to Silicon Valley. It is not actually a city, but we use the name for all the high-tech businesses in this area. In Silicon Valley, they are experts on inventing new products. They are also experts on making money!
Silicon Valley is home to American companies like Apple, Google and Yahoo. But many Japanese companies also have their American headquarters here. This is one of the richest parts of the entire USA, but the millionaires (and billionaires!) who live here don’t like to show off their money.
So what is it that makes Silicon Valley so special? Even today when everybody has a computer and a cell phone, it is still the face-to-face conversations that matter. Anyone who is anybody can be found in the Silicon Valley. This powerful network has been growing since the 1960s. That is why Silicon Valley keeps on winning, and Detroit keeps on losing.
Shortcut: Detroit and Silicon Valley 2:37