Underdevelopment and industialization in Fiji

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University of Dar es Salaam
When I first wrote to the Director, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, seeking enrolment in the M.A. Development Studies programme, I had expressed my disillusionment "... with the simplistic, market economic models and related theories which are used to analyze the banking, financial, and socio-economic problems of my country". As I stated further "It is because of all this that I began searching for an alternative and more meaningful theoretical perspective". In explaining why I did not wish to pursue postgraduate studies in metropolitan universities or at the university of the South Pacific (USP), where I had done my undergraduate studies, I stated that "the course structures at USP remain deeply embedded within the bourgeois tradition of social science which seeks to glorify and perpetuate capitalism. The basic modes of thought and the theoretical tools generated at the USP do not help us in Fiji to analyze and explain the historical, socio-economic and political processes and problems in Fiji, and the world generally". I had further expressed the feeling that "the opportunity to stay in Dar-es-Salaam would help open up a whole new area of experience which we in the South Pacific part of the world have tended to ignore”. This dissertation is a culmination of the above expressed feelings and desires my one year’s stay at Dar-es-Salaam did provide me a very broad perspective not only academically but also at looking at the practical realities of under development. This dissertation is a beginning at looking at the Fijian economy with a new perspective. It is not as theoretically rigorous or empirically detailed as the author would have desired given more time, opportunity and an appropriate intellectual environment. It is an initial expression of the author’s experiences at Dar-es-Salaam and the intellectual turmoil that he went through. The major problematic we shall confront in this dissertation is under development in Fiji and within that industrialization for industrialization has been seen by many underdeveloped countries as their salvation from their underdeveloped state. This desire is not misplaced for industrialization could provide the structural changes and diversification that can be used to increase the flexibility of an economy and reduce dependence on external forces. However, in most cases the desired objectives are not achieved. Industrialization in most third world countries has led to further underdevelopment. The case of Fiji, as we shall analyze is not far from the general pattern. The pattern of industrialization in Fiji reflects her underdeveloped state and the policy of industrialization that she has followed leads her to further underdevelopment. The first chapter looks broadly at the theoretical implications of underdevelopment. This, one might realize, is an immense topic raising very wide polemical issues. Our treatment within a short space and time can, therefore, be only superficial. The second chapter is an attempt to bring together and present a critique of development theory as it has emerged in Fiji especially, and to a general extent in the South Pacific. It will be seen that there has not as yet evolved a theory of underdevelopment in Fiji but a theory of development. This it reflects a particular lacuna in the intellectual-ideological struggles in the Fiji situation. Consequently, the third chapter begins an historical analysis of the Fijian social formation, and its role within the International capitalist division of labour. The role of the colonial state and its policy on industrialization is also analyzed. The fourth and fifth chapters will analyze the industrial policy of the post-colonial state. The fourth chapter looks at the early post-independence industrial policy based largely on import-substitution. The fifth chapter will look at the more recent policy emphasing export orientation and its implications. In the above two chapters it will be suggested that industrialization has been seen as a solution to certain crisis facing the newly emergent state e.g. unemployment. It was also secondary to tourism. There has been no attempt to articulate a basic industrial strategy to make structural transformation and reduce dependence. The policies that have evolved are basically reactive policies based on private sector initiatives and foreign capital penetration. The sixth chapter will attempt to present a synthesis of the arguments raised throughout the earlier chapters. It will attempt to do a rudimentary class analysis to show that the pattern of industrialization that has evolved since independence is not inimical to the evolving class structure in Fiji. Basically, the methodology throughout the dissertation will be more analytical rather than empirical and based on a political economy approach which suggests an examination of economic processes and the political institutions that support them,
Available in print form, EAF collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, (THS EAF HD2336.F5P7)
Fiji, Industries, Politics and Government
Prakash, Jayant (1982) Underdevelopment and industialization in Fiji,Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.