TomDispatch: If we jump 15 years to your newest book, Planet of Slums, with its vast urban canvas, can we imagine that you're now taking your marching orders from some global central committee? And can you launch us on the subject of our slumifying planet today?
Mike Davis: Stunningly enough, classical social theory, whether Marx, Weber, or even Cold War modernization theory, none of it anticipated what's happened to the city over the last 30 or 40 years. None of it anticipated the emergence of a huge class, mainly of the young, who live in cities, have no formal connection with the world economy, and no chance of ever having such a connection. This informal working class isn't the lumpenproletariat of Karl Marx and it isn't the "slum of hope," as imagined 20 or 30 years ago, filled with people who will eventually climb into the formal economy. Dumped into the peripheries of cities, usually with little access to the traditional culture of those cities, this informal global working class represents an unprecedented development, unforeseen by theory.
An interview with Mike Davis, writer of City of Quartz. TD: "He has most recently turned his restless, searching brain upon the global city in a new book, Planet of Slums, whose conclusions are so startling that I thought they should be the basis for our conversation." [Part 1, part 2]
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