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Planet India: How the Fastest-Growing Democracy Is Transforming America and the World

Planet India: How the Fastest-Growing Democracy Is Transforming America and the World
By Mira Kamdar
336 pp, Scribner, 2007
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With India now developing almost as rapidly as China, we can expect a slew of ecstatic studies in which exuberance replaces analytic rigor and even common sense. Kamdar is convinced that India will shortly be recognized as the model for late-developing countries. The United States cannot serve as a model, she believes, because it absorbs far too much of the earth's resources and produces too much of its pollution. Japan cannot because it has a uniquely homogenous population. Kamdar makes her case for India by quoting interviews with Indian leaders and citing a bevy of facts and figures. In the latter part of the book, she does introduce some negative factors, particularly when she addresses the problems of India's 600,000 villages, its urban slums, and the millions of Indians who are living on less than $2 a day. Overall, however, the book captures a certain spirit of Indian optimism that sets India apart from other late-developing countries -- including China, where there is greater attention to problems and less counting of chickens before they hatch.