Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Decline Chicago?

"What accounts for Chicago's miserable performance in the 1990s?"

Aaron M. Renn, "The Second-Rate City?" City Journal, Spring 2012

Renn's answer to this question includes the predictable litany of bloated budgets, patronage/corruption, toxic politics, and bad business climate. He even out calls Chicago leaders out for having the hubris to think of themselves as a "global city," without any global assets from his point of view. His list of contributing factors is a bit odd because they were almost all present during the nineties when Chicago was "[e]merging from the squalor and decay of the seventieis and eighties..." So, something else must be happening, but he sheds little light on other forces at work. In addition to the impacts of the recession, we might include the challenges of Chicago's industrial/economic mix, foreclosures, and the taking down of Chicago's public housing. Of course, some of the factors are regional as well -- including loss of skilled workers because of truncated career opportunities in firms and sectors. What Chicago needs is more than a second-rate analysis.

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