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February 03, 2010


I do think that it isn't so much that he's an academic, as that he made so much money from the consulting/lecturing/etc... and then did an abrupt about-face. It just seems like he's sort of violating those towns. First by charging exorbitant speaking fees (holy sh!t at those numbers), and then saying "nope, you're junk". It sort of feels like he's another one of those self-help gurus interested only in the money and not actually wanting to help those cities out at all, and taking those who are down on their luck for a ride, and anyone attacking him for that has every right to do so.

Hi Ilya,
I'm not sure he did an abrupt about-face. When I read his lengthy article in the Atlantic Monthly, I got the impression that he was mostly referring to Detroit when he was saying some places are beyond help. I think he was opposing the manufacturing bailout. It is true that a lot of auto workers are stuck in the area because of their houses - homeownership has impeded their move to thriving parts of the country where there would be more jobs for them. Then some people in the media quoted the sentences out of context as if he was referring to every struggling town in America. The amount of money he made from speaking and consulting fees probably played a role in journalists' decision to spin the story against him.

Also, if you're young, educated and mobile, your odds of success and happiness will indeed be a lot better if you move closer to a creative center rather than hope that one will materialize where you live.

Also, here is my earlier post on "Hollowing Out the Middle" http://engineered.typepad.com/thoughts_on_business_engi/2009/11/hollowing-out-the-middle.html

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