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Rethinking development in the Pacific Islands Forum countries


  • Brauer, Jurgen


Islands of the Pacific Ocean number in the many thousands. This essay focuses on a subset of islands, namely those — save Australia and New Zealand — belonging to the independent political entities gathered in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). With a handful of economic concepts and indicators I show that, as a conventionally conceived economic proposition, the islands have to be "written off." Modern expectations in regard to cost competitiveness in production and high standards of living in consumption are incompatible goals for the islands to reach. The islands are not viable economies, and its peoples are likely to remain the permanent economic dependents they are, relying on fickle aid from well-off peoples and their policymakers located far away from the islands. Nonviable economies invite unstable polities and ruptured cultures. Strangely, in all this there lies hope in that rethinking the nature, meaning, and practice of development may offer feasible alternatives to reconstitute otherwise failing societies. Potentially, the islands could become a unique laboratory for trying out new ideas of what it means to live a dignified, self-reliant, self-sustaining, satisfied, and happy human life.

Suggested Citation

  • Brauer, Jurgen, 2016. "Rethinking development in the Pacific Islands Forum countries," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 6(1), pages 47-60.
  • Handle: RePEc:gok:ijdcv1:v:6:y:2016:i:1:p:47-60

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    Pacific Island Forum countries; economic development; ecological economics; peace economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • O56 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Oceania


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