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Mumbai's Dharavi slum is the most entrepreneurial place I've ever been. In one dark room--open to the street--there are two men recycling boxes by turning them inside out and re-stapling them. Across the dusty street, six women work together sorting great bins of plastic products for recycling. A few doorways down two men are maniacally sewing brassieres, just like on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1905. A little ways off craftspeople are painting and firing intricately designed ceramics. The UN estimates that 828 million people, which is about 12% of humanity, live in slums in the developing world. Slum dwellers are typically defined as urbanites who lack decent housing or sanitation or clean water, or all of the above. They live in places of great deprivation. Disease is endemic, crime serious and corruption rampant. But slums also offer tremendous economic opportunities.


Glaeser, Edward L. "New Land Of Opportunity." Forbes. April 20, 2011.