Pacific Islands Trade, Labor, and Security in an Era of Globalization

Firth, Stewart
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Globalization is having its most transformative effects in the Pacific in three areas of economic and political life: trade, labor, and security. The global move from protection to free trade has reached the Pacific and will have its greatest initial impact on Fiji’s sugar and garment industries, both of which face major restructuring and possibly extinction. Within ten years, the Pacific Plan might also create economic integration within the entire Pacific Islands Forum area, though the free movement of labor from the Islands into Australia and New Zealand seems unlikely. Thanks in large part to the war in Iraq, Fiji has now joined Sämoa and Tonga as a remittance economy, but Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu have little access to remittance income. Globalization in Solomon Islands has taken the form of unregulated investment in tropical logging, which has contributed to corrupting the political system. The consequence is regional intervention led by Australia, which is also attempting to shore up Papua New Guinea, where the government’s priorities are influenced by its heavy dependence on foreign investors in resource projects. Globalization will probably widen inequalities throughout the Pacific, and some countries will benefit more than others. Cultural, historical, and demographic circumstances at the receiving end of globalization in the Island states of the Pacific play determining roles in whether the process has positive or negative consequences.
globalization, trade, labor, security, sugar, garments, logging
Firth, S. 2007. Pacific Islands Trade, Labor, and Security in an Era of Globalization. The Contemporary Pacific 19 (1): 111-35.
Access Rights
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.