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50/50 by 2020: poverty and redistributive politics in post-independence Fiji

CollectionsPacific Economic Bulletin (1991-2010)
Title: 50/50 by 2020: poverty and redistributive politics in post-independence Fiji
Author(s): Chand, Satish
Date published: 2007
Publisher: Asia Pacific Press
The affirmative action program launched by the Fiji Government in 2002 espoused a '50/50 by 2020' vision; that is, by the year 2020, some 50 per cent of all economic activities would be owned by the indigenous population. The surprising impact of this heavy-handed redistribution of income and wealth from the non-indigenous to the indigenous population has been poverty-raising. One in eight in the population lived in poverty in 1977, the figure had risen to one in four by 1990/91 and one in three by 2002/2003; and on current trends, would reach one in two (that is 50 per cent) by 2020. Such an outcome would be a direct consequence of these redistributive policies. While the politics of redistribution may have been compelling, its economic costs, including the impact on poverty, are devastating. The 2006 military takeover was executed to rid the country of corruption and race-based politics. Achieving these goals may have a bonus in terms of reversing the rise in poverty. Only time will tell.
ISSN: 0817-8038


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