What Really Ails Detroit – NYTimes.com

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What Really Ails Detroit

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By STEPHAN G. RICHTER
Published: August 15, 2013

 

IS Detroit’s collapse the story of one American city gone awry? Or is it indicative of a more profound nationwide problem? The facts point to the latter.

 

Though Detroit’s bankruptcy is exceptional in many ways — notably, its size and its disproportionate impact on African-Americans — the overall decline of America’s manufacturing centers is evident in the deterioration of many smaller cities and towns throughout the Midwest and Northeast.

What accounts for this sad turn of events?

The traditional narrative holds that globalization, outsourcing and, after 2007, the recession have been responsible for devastating American manufacturing by moving jobs out of the country in enormous numbers. But at best, that is a convenient half-truth.

American manufacturing has…

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