With a third of the global urban population already living in Dickensian slums, at least half under the age of twenty, Mike Davis explores the threat of disease, of forced settlement on hazardous terrains, and of state violence on huge populations. He shows also how poverty not only grew massively in the 1990s but how the gap between rich and poor countries expanded and how women and minorities fell further behind. Surveying the new urban poor from Bombay to Cairo, Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, Mike Davis argues that this enormous population of marginalised labourers is not an industrious beehive of ambitious entrepreneurs but a stagnant ferment of extreme Darwinian competition which threatens to overflow the shanty-towns, and swamp the homes and businesses of the urban rich.
MacArthur Fellow Mike Davis lives in San Diego. He is the author of Prisoners of the American Dream, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Magical Urbanism, Late Victorian Holocausts, Dead Cities, The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu and Buda's Wagon: A Short History of the Car Bomb.