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Detroit’s pension blues

Bankrupt and demoralised, the Motor City has ground to a halt

By Lynn Parramore   219

The abandoned Packard Automobile Factory is a reminder of Detroit’s better days. © Albert Duce

Detroit, the once-gleaming metropolis whose roaring engines and sonic genius shaped the modern landscape, is about to add another entry to its legacy, summed up in the soul-crushing word: bankruptcy. Almost all the car plants of the 1950s have closed or moved away and the population reduced by more than half. In July 2013, the city filed for bankruptcy, its debts estimated at $18-20bn.

The largest American city ever to go bust has passed into a…

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