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Business Elites & Urban Development

The profitability of sports to owners and laborers is so high that such investments are strictly a matter of the public subsidizing private enterprise with only limited returns on the investment. Moore and Squires analysis of the effectiveness of Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) suffers from a lack of data, as they acknowledge. But their study indicates that the return on this type of direct subsidizing of businesses is minimal (reluctance to produce figures is indicative of this in its own right). They conclude that IRBs that are handed out without being part of an overall economic plan, and without guarantees from companies, are a poor reinvestment tool. But controlled use of IRBs may be effective.

On the social costs of the relationship between private sector investment and urban locales, Feagin treats the costs of fast growth with a relatively weak local government in the case of Houston while Hill and Indergaard study the effects of the steel industry's deinvestment in the "Downriver" section of metropolitan Detroit. The two articles reflect the drawbacks on both sides of the eager rush of private business from its old centers with their high taxes and heavy unionization to the lightly regulated Sunbelt states. Both cases provide ample demonstration of the need for greater regulation and the shortcomings of allowing businesses too much leeway in setting the


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Business Elites & Urban Development. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:55, October 22, 2014, from
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