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  • Sep 23 2013: 'Cities have always been nothing but a reflection of the socio-economic system of their times.' "Noting but" to me means "limited to." So, we don't agree with the premise of your grammar. Let's leave that aside for the moment. I never said that "urban planning" was the sufficient cause of anything. That is a straw man argument. What I suggested was that it was potentially a sufficient cause. Of course, sometimes planners initiate and make changes, sometimes social movements, sometimes both. Also, your definition of planning is severely constrained to "city planning." I never suggested that a better geographic design was sufficient for a solution.

    The socio-economic system of capitalism (if that is what you are referring to) enables a company like GM or Ford to engage in capital disinvestment, but that in an of itself is not a sufficient explanation for many reasons.

    First, to a certain extent capitalism allows other regions to flourish, e.g. Portland and Oregon. Therefore, while capitalism may be associated with under-development of Detroit it also explains success in Portland, Silicon Valley, and elsewhere (albeit subject to uneven development).

    Second, not all capitalists are alike. Ford and GM made many mistakes, the critique of these firms goes back to at least 1983 in terms of their industrial competence, but in terms of technological choice far earlier. Two books on this score are: "Profits without Production" by Seymour Melman and "Internal Combusion" by Edwin Black. Some capitalist firms made better choices regarding technological and innovation models. For example, Bombardier did better than St. Louis Car Company, both being capitalist.

    Third, capitalism is associated with capital mobility and capital flight out of cities--not by all capitalists, but many larger ones. A serious problem, but this relates to the politics & governance of certain firms as well as a systemic issue. Yet, freedom also lies in movements against capital flight.

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