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No, in India it is not farmers who are moving to the urban slums so much, but family members of farmers and non-farmer rural dwellers.  Why would family members of farmers have to move to the city?  Well, usually because if you can't grow the size of your farm, which is prohibited by law in India in most cases, you can't increase your family income either to keep up with the higher costs of living and affording things like cell phones and new medicines. So you send your kids to the city or to foreign countries to diversify your family income.  

Much empirical work has been done on this in Africa as well. Farm consolidation and growth allows farm families to increase their income, but migration allows them to both grow and diversify their income and lower risks of income shocks, which is necessary to be able to continue to afford the ever increasing necessities of modern life.  (Alternatively, farmers could become like the anti-capitalist Amish and simply eschew modern technological benefits altogether and thereby avoid the need to grow income entirely.)

by santiago on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 11:02:30 AM EST
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