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Surplus Humanity Questions

Surplus Humanity Questions


Mike Davis, a prominent urban theorist and author, coined the term “surplus humanity” in his work “Planet of Slums.” According to Davis, the concept of “surplus humanity” refers to the vast numbers of people in the global South who live in extreme poverty, often in slums and informal settlements, and who lack access to stable employment, basic services, and adequate living conditions. These individuals are often part of the urban labor force but are subjected to precarious and informal work arrangements, making their lives extremely vulnerable.

From Davis’ perspective, “surplus humanity” implies that there is a surplus population of urban poor who are marginalized by the forces of globalization, rapid urbanization, and economic inequality. These individuals are often seen as expendable by the larger socio-economic system, and they are forced to live on the fringes of society, struggling to survive without adequate resources or opportunities.

Whether Davis is correct or not is a matter of interpretation and debate. His assertion reflects the harsh realities faced by many slum dwellers and informal laborers in the developing world. These populations often lack access to basic necessities like clean water, sanitation, healthcare, and education, and they are disproportionately affected by issues like environmental degradation, crime, and disease.

Critics of Davis’ perspective argue that the term “surplus humanity” can be dehumanizing and overly deterministic, implying that these individuals have no agency or potential for change. Some argue that focusing solely on the negative aspects of these communities overlooks their resilience, resourcefulness, and potential contributions to society.

In evaluating Davis’ perspective, it’s important to acknowledge the complex and multidimensional nature of urban poverty and the challenges faced by slum dwellers and informal laborers. While the term “surplus humanity” may capture the dire conditions in which many of these individuals live, it’s essential to avoid reducing their experiences to a single label and to consider the broader social, economic, and political factors that contribute to their marginalization.

Surplus Humanity Questions



Is Davis correct to assert that the slum dwellers and the urban labor force in today’s 3rd World slums constitute “a surplus humanity”? What does that even mean?

you need to answer the “Davis’ perspective+ Is Davis correct? ” only from the previous question

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