Is this supposed to be a bad thing?
No, just a sign of the deteriorating economy.
I took it to be a sign of the deterioration of the economy, coupled with the ingenuity and persistence of humanity.I also like what Detroit is doing, which is reclaiming abandoned lots to turn them into parks, which raises the property value in the surrounding area.
This means that money isn't being channelled into big corporations, so in that sense teh economy may be said to be "deteriorating". Maybe we just use the wrong metric to measure it though. It seems to me that the economy could use a lot more such "deterioration". Along the same lines, "descent" is questionable. In the past, the hierarchy was industrial over agrarian. Today most of our problems stem from over-industrialization, and the future (if there is one) looks lots more agrarian-ish.
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