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Progressive Yglesias Sez Detroit Would Make Good Charter City

September 24, 2010

But, he adds, it’ll never happen:

There are clearly insurmountable logistical, legal, practical, constitutional, and political obstacles to doing this but I can’t help but think that with 165 million people around the world telling Gallup they’d like to permanently relocate to the United States that it would be possible to find 1.3 million people who’d be interested in permanently relocating to Detroit and bringing the city back up to its peak population level. Economic and governance opportunities in Detroit are poor by American standards (or even by Italian standards) but they’re great compared to what you’ll find in Haiti, Gaza, Myanmar, Chad, or Nicaragua. There’s discussion of trying to turn Detroit into some kind of hub for wealthy immigrants who are just trying to escape a bad political situation, but there’s simply a limited number of such people, and the real opportunity is in thinking bigger and creating a kind of Detroit Special Migration Zone that would become a diverse, bustling hub of economic opportunity for the world’s poor while providing new taxpayers for Detroit’s government, new customers for Detroit’s businesses, and a new source of value for Detroit’s property owners.

While it may be nice to float balloons of sentiment that signal “I’m a nice, caring guy,” I wish Yglesias would follow his moral intuitions to their logical conclusion. His view needs a sense of proportion. If you care about poor people, you can’t just drop this issue in one post and say, oh well, it’ll never happen. Yawn. Those 165 million people want a better life for themselves and their families. If they can’t come here, then let’s do our best to create other places where they can. Start writing on Charter Cities and spread the word among your prog-star friends.

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One Comment
  1. September 27, 2010 4:11 am

    Yglesias inspired me to write this:
    http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/detroit-as-palestinian-charter-city/
    Better referenced as “Asshole TGGP sez”

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