In the opening chapters of The Planet of Slums, Davis reflects on the dark view that he has on the population housed in the deteriorating cities. The problem of slums is not portrayed as a solvable one. Slum populations are vividly described as being despondent. Considering the facts used by the author, I fully agree with Davis that people living in these slums have no hope.
We will write a custom Essay on “The Planet of Slums” a Book by Mike Davis specifically for you
301 certified writers online
There has been a very fast growth of cities from the 1950s to the current date. Most of these cities are popping up in poor nations in which economies cannot support their populations. I find it interesting that cities have grown to create opportunities but instead resulted in a more disappointed population. Cities have grown to be very expensive such that most poor people hardly can support their living in the new cities. I attribute this to the fact that cities are becoming places of intense labor while the rural areas are becoming capital intensive. It is in the quest to satisfy this increasing need for labor that has resulted in a large population in slums. The large population is mainly directed at providing labor with minimum financial reward and therefore have little finances to get out of the slums.
In these explanations of the prevalence of slums, Davis eliminates all of optimism for the future. The population of slum dwellers particularly in third-world countries will only be on the rise because there are not enough jobs or resources available. There has evidently been an upsurge in the development of urban areas more so considering the effects of the industrial revolution. This has resulted in significant migration from agricultural lands to urban areas.
Despite the obvious pressure the population has on the urban economy, the migration is yet to stop. This can be attributed to the aid that international organizations give to these ailing economies which creates false hope in the migrant population. The population ends up in slums where they embrace an informal economy and a distinctly political edge away from the high-class society.
It should be noted that not all slum dwellers are poor. This is evident as the number of poor people in cities is more than the population of slum dwellers. I dispute the accuracy of statistics used in this evidence as most cities deliberately undercount their slum population to avoid embarrassment. If the population of poor people is more than that of people in slums, it is questionable how those who don’t live in slums afford their living. In an attempt to explain the differences in population, Davis suggests different housing strategies that are used by the poor. It is shown that the population of slums extends beyond the boundaries of the cities and across different landscapes. The use of tombs as houses was very disturbing and showed the desperation that these slum dwellers are in.
Instead of having a series of blunt arguments on slums, Davis uses facts to create credible arguments. He focuses clearly on the developing world and how migration from the agriculturally oriented rural areas to the market-oriented cites has resulted in the development of slums. These migratory habits are now impossible to ignore and they are expected to have effects close in proportion to the industrial revolution or other revolutionizing moments in history.