Mumbai's Shanghai Dreams Analytical Essay

Mumbai's Shanghai Dreams
A comparison and contrast of the modern development of Mumbai and Shanghai.
# 154206 | 3,111 words | 23 sources | 2015 | US
Published on Aug 31, 2015 in Political Science (General) , Asian Studies (General)


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From the Paper:

"Shanghai and Mumbai: two major Asian cities, with two distinct cultures and histories, are helping power their country's economic transformation. Shanghai's stellar growth in the recent past has made it the envy of many cities. Though it may be a surprising move for democratic India, Mumbai has sought to mimic its ideal of what Shanghai, and communist China, has become and transform itself into an international finance center. But who is really benefiting from Mumbai's deliberate transformation? Certainly not its poor residents. Even Mumbai's more vibrant civil society and democratic processes does not help those who are losing out in Mumbai's development, because it is the middle- and upper-class who are invested in beautifying and transforming Mumbai into a world-class city.
Shanghai and Mumbai have historically shared many similarities. Both cities were once fishing hamlets that evolved into major port cities in the mid-19th century, serving as the gateway city for colonial trade. The initial driver of growth in both came from British colonialism, specifically a quasi-colonial port system for Shanghai (Wasserstrom 2003). Furthermore, British metropolitanism manifested itself in the buildings, churches, and cricket clubs in certain sections of each city (Pacione 2006). In the mid-20th century, after the Chinese Communist Party came into power, Shanghai's "grotesque cosmopolitanism" was not aligned with Communist ideals, so there were efforts to erase its urban memory (Abbas 2000:775). Shanghai lost its role as China's premier city and went through a period of neglect and underinvestment, which led to capital flight of many financial institutions to the British colony of Hong Kong. Similarly, from its 1947 independence to the 1980s, Mumbai saw a weakening of foreign presence and had to compete with other Indian cities such as Bangalore and Hyderabad for foreign investment (Nijman 2007). Clearly, both cities share remarkably similar historical trajectories, even though Shanghai resides within a communist state and Mumbai within a democratic one. Today, however, Shanghai is considered more of a financial services center than Mumbai. "

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