Asia's Largest Slum Is An Economic Powerhouse

Dharavi, a slum in Mumbai, India, may appear at first to be a squalid concentration of misery. It is also the prosperous home of some 5,000 single-room factories and tens of thousands of entrepreneurs.

"Dharavi...may be one of the world's bigger slums, but it is arguably its most prosperous, a thriving and productive business centre propelled by tens of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs. Estimates vary considerably, but the collective economic output of Dharavi is as impressive as it is improbable: at least $800-million a year, and perhaps well over $1-billion.

"This is the unspoken side of the Indian economy, the impoverished counterpoint to the gleaming call centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad that have transfixed Western investors and come to symbolize the country's gradual emergence as a potential global power. It is also a rebuke to the typical prejudices that dog slum-dwellers: that they somehow inhabit a world of despair, that they have no other community than that of shared poverty and frustration. These people may be lacking, but they are also industrious and enterprising -- and, for the most part, fiercely attached to the slum."

Full Story: Slum, Inc.


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