New: Why Bankrupt Detroit Should Sell Off its Art Masterpieces


Detroit is bankrupt, with billions of dollars in obligations it can't meet. One of the most controversial proposals is to sell of most or all of the city's holdings in The Detroit Institute of Arts, which houses works by Bruegel, Picasso, Van Gogh and others that are valued at as much as $866 million.

Reason's Nick Gillespie says that Motown should unload its trove, especially if the city wants people to actually see the stuff.

Building a future around a slogan like Detroit: Come for the Bankruptcy but Stay for the Bruegel is no way to resurrect a city whose population peaked back in 1950….

Selling off Detroit's enviable art collection thus represents a truly rare win-win on public policy: The city will get much-needed cash that might help it reboot itself, and museums in places that are thriving will be able to add to their offerings. Nobody in their right mind would think of denying Motown residents the right to flee the city in search of a brighter future. It shouldn't really be any different for works by Rodin, Bernini, or Whistler.