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Economy

The 'Big Liberal City' Isn’t Big Enough

Despite their immense economic power, American metros would have to be much larger to remain competitive around the world.
New York City looks a lot smaller when you consider the rest of the world.
New York City looks a lot smaller when you consider the rest of the world.Jason Reed/Reuters

Ross Douthat’s suggestion that we break up America’s “big, booming, liberal cities” in The New York Times this past Sunday has set off a firestorm among urbanists.

His argument: We should treat big cities like the monopolies of yore that concentrated wealth and power and conspired against the public good. The remedy? Take a Teddy Roosevelt-sized stick to break them up and spread their institutions around.