We are all Detroit

“Go ahead and laugh at Detroit because you are laughing at yourself.”

— Charlie LeDuff, author of Detroit: An American Autopsy

It is more complex than simply (1) we were successful and grew, (2) people left and now (3) we don’t have enough money to maintain everything.

Eventually the affluent coalesce in a handful of neighborhoods. Where they are outside of the city limits, the collapse of the place may accelerate, but even when these wealthy neighborhoods are within, one type of corruption (mob or gang style) is simply replaced with another (crony). Police and fire cutbacks. Reductions in park budgets. Public buildings in decline. Streets that are in such disrepair they are essentially abandoned.

Look around. Don’t you see it?

Eventually, we reach the condition of Detroit. As LeDuff describes it, it feels a lot like some of the third world. Call the police, they don’t show up. If they do, it takes thirty minutes or more. Same with the fire department. People who can afford it hire their own security. The rest carry weapons and travel in groups. Money is allocated for fixing things like the cracked floor at the fire hall, but nobody knows where it went. The floor is never fixed. City hall is distant and clearly corrupt, but who among decent people would step up and try to fix it?  For most of the city and most of the people, things just stop working.”



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