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Critical Reading and Review: Planet of Slums by Mike Davis - Book Report/Review Example

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Critical Reading and Book Review: Planet of Slums by Mike Davis
Urban and rural population is like the scale of justice in a country. To strike the correct balance, both arms of the scale are important. Mike Davis proves through statistics his worst fears of unchecked rural migration. …
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Critical Reading and Book Review: Planet of Slums by Mike Davis
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Download file to see previous pages Mike Davis proves through statistics his worst fears of unchecked rural migration. The greatest challenge of the urban cities/societies, whose number has been growing since the last 5-6 decades, is the deadly and poisonous waste that has been accumulating from all ends. It has contaminated the food that one consumes, water one drinks and the air that one breathes. It has been challenging the health of humankind and eroding his power of resistance without intermission. Technological innovations while contributing to lifestyle changes from one end have eroded the standard of life of humankind. Life-threatening developments are taking place in the cities that continue to grow in rapid pace and the demography of rural and urban sectors is fast changing. For majority of the poverty-stricken people, tomorrow’s bread is not assured from today’s labor and they continue to live an oppressed, dispossessed and starving life. Wise economists have written millions of pages, politicians continue to talk for thousands of hours swearing their allegiance to various philosophies, but the poor are stuck up in poverty, with no hope of redemption. The numbers of urban cities are on the increase, every city is growing directionless and destination-less with cluster of slums engulfing them. Not too in the distant future urban population on this Planet Earth will outnumber those in the sprawling rural areas. Those in the cities will outstrip the rural folks. Summary Mike Davis has articulated his viewpoints through chapters titled, The Urban Climacteric, The Prevalence of Slums, and The Treason of the State and Illusions of Self-Help. The last one has been broken up into three parts: Friends of the Poor, Soft Imperialism, and Profits of Poverty. In these subdivisions, Davis recognizes the somewhat erroneous efforts of the World Bank, the gross mishandling by NGOs, and the insincerities within governments that have resulted in very high slum dwelling rates. He illustrates every destructive aspect that is out to plunder the societal values that contribute to the degeneration of the humankind. He calls the unplanned growth of slum population as ugly dumps of human and waste, and makes mention of exploitation of child labor, child prostitution, criminal gangs and their procedures for extortion, non-availability of clean drinking water, lack of sanitation, improper functioning of democratic institutions and lack of education facilities. Davis has articulated every type of negativity that contributes to the degradation of humankind, and the plight of the growing cities going from bad to worse. The growth of slums has become integral part of the cities that expand, with no authority to regulate them. NGOs have their vision recorded only on paper and generally follow the captive agenda of the donors and the pressure groups. The impact of Marxist ideology is evident in the arguments of Davis. Critical discussion: An author may intelligently try to sweep under the carpet but one cannot hide one’s true moorings of political philosophy. Mike Davis stands for Marxist ideology, and he is quite vocal about it. The Marxist views the effects of technological advancement and industrialization as contributing to the interests of capitalism. He clearly visualizes the emerging class divide which will grow more acute with the growth of slums that are responsible for many folded societal ills. The current level of efforts and the blueprints prepared by the international level agencies are inadequate to meet the challenges of slums that continue to grow in an astounding rate. Urban migration is unstoppable. The current social economic and political structures are incapable to meet the challenges, according to Davis. The need of the hour is not only to create ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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