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Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism
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Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  109 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Eclectic thinkers, brought together by the bestselling author of "City of Quartz," meditate on future worlds being created by unfettered capitalism.

"Not content with existing offshore tax shelters, multi-millionaires and property developers have aspired to build their own....To defeat the predatory outreach of nations and tides, it is clearly not enough to be offshore: tr
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by The New Press (first published 2007)
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Too much economics, not enough geography.

Perhaps because I'm pretty much the choir here, there's nothing terribly interesting in explaining that neoliberalism is a thing which is and which is not nice. This we know. I was hoping for more of an exploration of the actual spaces created, not just the fact of their existence and the ideology behind it. How do these places function? What tools, designs, aesthetics do they use to maintain themselves, and why? What story are they telling the people in
This collection of essays is a clear example of how good ideas can fail to work out in practice. The idea of studying "evil paradises" and "dreamworlds"--- the enclaves and enclosures of kleptocrats and the hidden rich, the theme-park gated communities of the new rich ---is fascinating. And some of the essays here--- on Hong Kong and Cairo ---are well-done, as is the essay on post-cartel Medellin and the account of upscale developments in Iran. China Mieville has a wonderfully snarky takedown of ...more
David Dinaburg
Dec 30, 2014 David Dinaburg rated it liked it
Everything is a wreck. Is this even hyperbole anymore? We, as a global society, are constantly piling atop our monocultural hegemony a thick framework overloaded with ever-more-tenuous social constructs—what good were the currently marketable skills of search engine optimization or self-actualized life coaching one hundred years ago? Fifty? Ten? How many thousand unstable technologies do these skills depend upon, and how many more ephemeral, transient, or simply foolish threads can be spun upon ...more
Lars Williams
Jul 24, 2012 Lars Williams rated it it was ok
I love reading about the evils of neoliberalism, and I'm attracted to the notion that architecture reflects the ideology that commissions / produces this book should have been right up my street. Sadly, it proved to be a real disappointment. While each of the essays focused on one or another aspect of international dysfunctional neoliberalism, the corrupting influence of this ideology on the built environment was often tacked on as an afterthought. A few essays failed to mention it at al ...more
Aug 04, 2008 Sheehan rated it liked it
Well I was expecting something a bit different, all Mike Davis...

So when I got a bunch of folks I was suspect and a bit underwhelmed by some of the articles, but generally engaged by the majority...

I would say the first half of the articles about various regional specificities and oddities was the most interesting and informative, but the whole set starts to taper off after the discussions of Sun City and retirement communities...Thereafter I was a bit bored or confused by folks who really wante
Isaac Baker
Dec 31, 2014 Isaac Baker rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Overall, I enjoyed reading this collection of essays, as diverse and expansive as the individual parts may be. I agree with some earlier reviews that the focus is more on the larger sociopolitical and economic trends that can be gleaned from observing these “evil paradises” as opposed to a dissection of how these places operate. More big picture stuff, less nuts and bolts, and I wanted a bit more of the latter. Some of the essays are stronger than others, of course, and, of course, Mike Davis’ e ...more
Aug 28, 2015 Gary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of wildly uneven essays. While the first and last were filled with academese--and barely penetrable--they contrasted with the breeziness of one on "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

And I'm not sure what any of the them really revealed. "Evil Paradises" are those almost theme park-like communities the rich build for themselves at the expense of the poor. Well, OK. While I did learn about things going on in Nicaragua, Columbia, and South Africa of which I was unaware (Medellin,
Nov 11, 2012 Edward rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics
The style of writing by many of the contributors takes some getting used to if you’re not familiar with the approaches and language of cultural criticism. Sociologist, psychologists, and cultural theorists of the French Left are quoted often. With the exception of the first three essays, the approaches to the subject are theoretical/philosophical speculations and are at odds with hard facts. The language and style lends itself a theoretical aridness in a fair number of the essays and in some the ...more
Jon Cassie
An uneven collection of essays doing what I will call "Davis Studies" - examinations of the undersides of late capitalist urban spaces and cities. It's no great surprise that Mike Davis' own essay on Dubai is the standout of this book - applying the same intellectual rigor to "Dubaism" as he applied to Los Angeles in the brillant "City of Quartz," he shows us how that city works, why it works and what lessons it teaches people concerned about social justice in the 21st century. I was delighted t ...more
Jan 30, 2008 Michael rated it liked it
Starting off with a series of essays about the primary or side effects of "NeoLiberalism" (a term, admittedly I wasn't familiar with yet if this book is any indication it must be as common as the phrase "Global Warming") in sundry distant nations, it seems to break down a bit around the second half when the essays pin-point specific western (and mostly US) things like cruise ships, military strategy theory, mega-malls (what is it with Italian scholars and malls?), and, God forbid, some damned re ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Should be read with Philip Glass music. This is the gritty world underneath the glitzy tourist brochures. The section on Colombia is very telling and can be an archetype of how states will eventually deal with its masses of unemployed young males. The growth of transnational urban centers of power echoes something Niall Ferguson said about a new Dark Age: fortress cities of the affluent in a sea of poverty and tribalism.
Feb 23, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
So far this book is very interesting. It's a compilation of essays about neoliberal paradises around the world, so there's some unevenness to the writing, but it's quite informative if you're curious about how the world's elite really live. For example, did you know it's common to have your illegal Filipino maid sleep in a chicken coop on your roof in gated Chinese suburbs? I mean, what's wrong with that, right?
Aug 24, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it
An interesting book and definitely worth a read (despite the three stars I'd recommend it to almost everyone I know), but written with a very strong slant and requires a lot of additional research for proper contextualization and understanding. If you have even the slightest bit of fiscal conservatism in you, this book will raise your ire (and that's coming from a pretty liberal reviewer).
Apr 04, 2009 leighcia rated it liked it
This book is a compilation of essays on the urban and spatial developments of the wealthy in the world. I have read about half the essays-- most of them elucidate not just the stark contrast between the rich and the poor, but also the economic, social, environmental and moral cost of these “dreamworlds” to the poor and to humanity.
Jacob Vigil
Jul 18, 2016 Jacob Vigil rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics-culture
Love love love Mike Davis. This book explores the excesses and absurdities of modern hyper-capitalism. The plutocratic playgrounds and urban fortresses of the super-rich in a world of unimaginable inequality.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Aug 04, 2010 Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides marked it as decided-not-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poli-sci
Only picked this up from the library because China Miéville was a contributor. Was hoping for something more fun and less academic.
Apr 10, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it
It's a collection of essays by differeny people, so it's uneven -- but the high points are very high.
Oct 26, 2013 Armand rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Great premise, interesting ideas.. Incredibly boring book.
Dec 07, 2007 Jamil rated it liked it
i hear this is how the world ends.
Nov 13, 2008 Laura added it
so far, it's awesome.
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Social commentator, urban theorist, historian, and political activist. He is best known for his investigations of power and social class in his native Southern California.
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