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You could see 2020 from the 1990 North American International Auto Show

Looking back on 40 years of MT


As we count down to our 40th anniversary in October, we've been revisiting our archives to highlight Metro Times stories that resonate in 2020.

30 years ago in Metro Times: Freelancer J.A. Hebler makes several observations amid the glitz and glamour of the 1990 North American International Auto Show that still resonate in 2020.

At one point, Laurel Cutler, Chrysler’s vice president of consumer affairs, offered a candid view of America: “Consumers are becoming more polarized,” she said. “The middle class is fading away; the affluent and lower-income segments of the market are growing dramatically.” At another point, a GM product specialist showed off a robotic arm during a technology demonstration. “Three guys lost their jobs on account of that machine,” a man in the audience wryly observed.

These things are connected: “[H]ow many will be able to afford those new products?” Hebler writes. “Certainly not the growing population of unemployed auto workers on the streets.” Last year, UAW GM workers went on strike, demanding better wages and for the company to keep its plants open. And 2020 Democratic candidate Andrew Yang has launched a longshot campaign built on one signature issue: the rise of automation and artificial intelligence will continue to wipe out entire sectors of the economy, so the government should pay all American adults a $1,000-per-month “Freedom Dividend.” Anyway, a wintertime NAIAS is now a relic of the past; this year is the first year the NAIAS has been moved to June.

What was happening: Grace Jones at Taboo; Goober & the Peas at 3D Club.

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