Great piece!

I admit I am more bearish on the idea that slums will be "leapfrogged". There are a lot of factors at play that draw people in -- and not all of them will change due to remote work.

I spent some time in Agbogbloshie in Ghana, for example. Many of its residents are fresh from remote areas elsewhere in the country. They speak only their local language and many cannot read. The odds don't seem high that they will easily transition to digital remote work, unless it's very low skill.

Slums don't arise just due to availability of work. Many developing world cities have corrupt and restrictive rules in place that make it hard to start a business, hard to hire and fire labor, hard to own assets, hard to open a bank account, and hard to build or acquire housing.

The businesses that poorer people undertake are often harmless, but illegal given the rules of their country. Slums are outposts of informality where people can trade and operate outside the purview of terrible official structures. There is a sense in which the very illegibility and disorder of slums is an asset when you are trying to avoid authorities.

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