The best sentences we read today

Detroit edition.

--- "Sun, skills and small companies have been strong predictors of urban growth, but Detroit is a cold city of big companies."

--- "The only winners in the financial crisis that brought Detroit (9845MF) to the brink of state takeover are Wall Street bankers who reaped more than $474 million from a city too poor to keep street lights working."

---  "Detroit’s demise as an industrial city stems from a failure to adapt — as seen in its preference to invest in things rather than people — as automation allowed automakers to make more cars with fewer workers and globalization brought cutthroat international competition."

--- "Detroit had plenty of civic pride—as the stunning Michigan mural inside the Guardian building suggests, showing the state gleaming above the rest of the country—but it had fewer of these town fathers, because its business leaders were auto executives who were not stationed downtown and, in several cases, openly disdained the city."

--- "Just as every columnist parachuting into the Motor City right now is telling you, America has never seen this before."

--- "But also, it does feel like an exaggeration of America--from its beginnings as a frontier outpost, to its rise as a very provincial, western city in the Gilded Age, to its explosion as the Motor City and the birthplace of the industrial middle class in the early 20th century, to its long, sad, slow racially-charged decline during the Cold War that saw its suburbs prosper, and its inability to change with the new world order over the last decade that saw its urban renewal feel like--well the perfect caricature of our new Gilded Age."

Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.

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Ezra Klein · July 19, 2013

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