The Detroit Blues

Detroit has declared bankruptcy. Meant to clear the city's debts and inspire a new beginning, the decision will leave many current and former city workers with the short-end of the stick. Will the move revive the fortunes of what was the nation's fourth largest city? The Times story on the bankruptcy.

Here is another look at the situtation by Juan Cole, resident of Michigan and close observer of Detroit's woes. He speculates that the city's downfall rests on developments beyond the city's control: globalization, robotization, racism, etc. If Detroit has a new beginning it will be very different than the one inaugurated by Henry Ford's Model-T. Cole wonders if Detroit's fate isn't that of other large U.S. cities dependent on major industrial production. Cole's assessment.

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Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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