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Tom Slater

This chapter argues that class struggles need rent gap theory. Rent gap theory helps open up questions of resistance and nudges the conversation in the direction of what cities might look like without the structural and institutional forces producing gentrification. From the research that is available, and still emerging, it seems to be the case that rent gap theory has a lot to teach us about gentrification in the Global South, and is far from ‘less than adequate in much of the world’. The research evidence on planetary gentrification points to the growing importance of secondary circuits of accumulation and the planetary shift to rentier extraction and what might be termed the robbery of value, rather than the production of value. Asset pursuit and asset stripping, via land grabbing and evictions, is a hallmark of contemporary urbanization and shows little sign of retreating on a planetary scale. It is argued that it is not ‘seeing like a capitalist’ to consider rent gap theory in radically different contexts, nor is it an act of intellectual imperialism to do so, as long as one theory does not shut out the possibility of developing new theories which may teach us even more.