Friday, August 01, 2014

In Detroit, free enterprise is slowly trying to find its way back through the hurdles of statism

This may come as a surprise
admits Carine Martinez-Gouhier (as much a surprise to herself as to anybody else),
but my first impression of Detroit was good. It was not thanks to the government but to free enterprise and the hard work and aspirations to a better life of individual Detroiters. My first experience, and a few others after that, let me see glimpses of hope for Detroit.

 … The image of Detroit I had in mind was the one the media is spreading: a zombie city, where the remaining inhabitants, those who didn’t flee to the suburbs or further away, were left with abandoned and burned-down houses everywhere, where crime and drugs are rampant; the image of the fall of a formerly great American city.

Media reports ventured: Detroit was once the epitome of American success; will it represent America’s future?

Truth is Detroit is a city of many contrasts. Yes, the vision of a ghost town is everywhere, but downtown, the empty streets and the blight also stand alongside buildings filled with bubbly tech start-ups; some abandoned houses are taken over to make room for gardens. The heavy hand of government regulation and intervention is sometimes mind-bogglingly absent, for better or worse for Detroiters.

Just like nature reclaiming abandoned houses though, free enterprise is slowly trying to find its way back through the hurdles of statism.

 … Detroit is fighting for its life. At the heart of the revival, is something quintessentially American: individuals taking responsibility for their lives, fighting the wilderness when necessary, convinced that they can make it on their own. If some insist in seeing Detroit as the future of America, this should be about this, not about the ruins of failed government policies.