Wednesday, July 24, 2013

(Related Update): Sound like Detroit, much?

Related update: Not PC has an absolutely fantastic entry today on Detroit, the statist policies that destroyed it, and Rand's prescient depiction of the process -- 55 years prior! -- in Atlas Shrugged.  Here's an example of the astute, piercing analysis that characterizes much of the work at Not PC:
A lesson for every city and country in the world that thinks prosperity is forever—and today’s prosperity can be borrowed from tomorrow’s.
Like the death of every American industrial centre, and like the slow strangulation of Japan, the death of Detroit was a man-made disaster. Detroit was once the world’s showcase of capitalism. It is now the place that shows the world you cant kick the can down the road forever.
Like the entire western world, Detroit was built by profits. It was destroyed by those who took those profits fro granted; who thought the profits would last forever, no matter what was done to destroy them. Now, all they vultures to pick over is the rotting carcass their policies produced.
In addition to the excellent analysis and a wealth of informative hyperlinks, the post contains some great visual material as well, including this beauty:

Need I say that this is a must-read article? Read it here.

Original Post: Name the book, author, and year of publication of this book excerpt:
A few houses still stood within the skeleton of what had once been an industrial town. Everything that could move, had moved away; but some human beings had remained. The empty structures were vertical rubble; they had been eaten, not by time, but by men: boards torn out at random, missing patches of roofs, holes left in gutted cellars. It looked as if blind hands had seized whatever fitted the need of the moment, with no concept of remaining in existence the next morning. The inhabited houses were scattered at random among the ruins; the smoke of their chimneys was the only movement visible in town. A shell of concrete, which had been a schoolhouse, stood on the outskirts; it looked like a skull, with the empty sockets of glassless windows, with a few strands of hair still clinging to it, in the shape of broken wires.
Beyond the town, on a distant hill, stood the factory of the Twentieth Century Motor Company. Its walls, roof lines and smokestacks looked trim, impregnable like a fortress. It would have seemed intact but for a silver water tank: the water tank was tipped sidewise.
They saw no trace of a road to the factory in the tangled miles of trees and hillsides. They drove to the door of the first house in sight that showed a feeble signal of rising smoke. The door was open. An old woman came shuffling out at the sound of the motor. She was bent and swollen, barefooted, dressed in a garment of flour sacking. She looked at the car without astonishment, without curiosity; it was the blank stare of a being who had lost the capacity to feel anything but exhaustion.
If you haven't read the book, buy it. Read it.