What killed Detroit?The collapse of the automobile industry seems the obvious answer. But is it a sufficient answer? The departure of meatpacking did not kill Chicago. Pittsburgh has staggered forward from the demise of steelmaking. New York has lost one industry after another: shipping, garment-manufacture, printing, and how many more? ...... The second factor in Detroit’s decline is the city’s defiant rejection of education and the arts. Pittsburgh has Carnegie-Mellon. Cleveland has Case Western Reserve University. Chicago has the University of Chicago, Northwestern, and a campus of the University of Illinois. Detroit has… Wayne State.
Read the entire article. I didn't expect to see an AEI scholar preaching Jane Jacobs. But there it is. The story isn't just throwing dirt on all shrinking cities. Both Pittsburgh and Cleveland are, to some extent, celebrated as success stories. Doing so makes the invective against Detroit all the more damning.
If this was 1983, what would the author be writing about Pittsburgh? 1977 in Youngstown? Is there any difference between Detroit now and those two places at the nadir of their own economic collapse?