The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 15, no. 2 (2003)

TCP 15.2 cover imageAbout the Artist: Kapulani Landgraf

The Pacific Islands


Money Laundering, Global Financial Instability, and Tax Havens in the Pacific Islands, p. 237
Anthony B van Fossen

Pacific Islands offshore financial centers (OFCs) are battling against the danger that international organizations will cut them off from the global financial system. Since 1999 the image of the region’s tax havens has been most shaped by the “horror story” of Nauru—the media’s account of how Nauru has been involved with the Bank of New York and other banks in tens of billions of dollars of Russian money laundering, tax evasion, and illegal capital flight. In the late 1990s left-of-center governments led international organizations toward a much more aggressive attack on offshore financial centers. Soon international organizations began blacklisting offshore centers and threatening sanctions—with Pacific Islands being prominent targets. The advent of the conservative Bush administration in America defused a number of threats to offshore centers from international organizations, as the United States began to object to Europe’s anti–tax haven agenda. While the attacks of 11 September 2001 led international organizations to rebuke offshore centers for helping to finance terrorism, OFC promoters contended that the anti-OFC campaign had been so weakened and qualified since the Bush presidency that it might soon collapse. The future of Pacific Islands offshore centers may rest on the outcome of political struggles in the United States, Europe, and international organizations. Two things are clear: that the dominant media image of a number of Pacific Islands states may continue to be shaped by perceptions of their offshore financial centers (making them targets of moral indignation), and that their international relations may at times be held hostage to the issue of their tax havens.
Keywords: tax havens, offshore financial centers, money laundering, Pacific Islands, sanctions, international relations, social construction

Between Gifts and Commodities: Commercial Enterprise and the Trader’s Dilemma on Wallis (‘Uvea), p. 277
Paul van der Grijp

Recently, the model of the trader’s dilemma was developed as an analytical perspective and applied to Southeast Asia. This article seeks to apply the model in Western Polynesia, where many islanders, after earning wages in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, or New Caledonia, return to open a small shop in their home village. Usually, after one or two years of generous sharing, such enterprises have to close down. Here, I analyze this phenomenon through case studies of successful indigenous entrepreneurs on Wallis (‘Uvea), with special attention to strategies they have used to cope with this dilemma.
Keywords: trade, entrepreneurship, village shop, supermarket, gifts, Wallis (‘Uvea), Polynesia

Is There a Tongan Middle Class? Hierarchy and Protest in Contemporary Tonga, p. 309
Kerry James

Benguigui used the term “middle class” in a way that suggested it exerted significant social agency in contemporary Tonga (1989). My review of his analysis concludes that there is no coherent, durable middle class in Tonga capable of the effective class action he claimed for it. Instead, the social struggles of recent decades, typically led by members of commoner educated elites, may be seen as protests against the traditional patriarchal hierarchy and especially what they perceive to be the actions of an arrogant, paternalistic government. Rather than issues theoretically associated with class, the struggles have involved commoners’ claims to respect from socially superior leaders and recognition of the covenantlike relationship that ideally should exist between them within the body politic. The sporadic protests or fragmentary proto-conflicts that have occurred might in time produce significant class consciousness and appropriate forms of class organization. But they probably will not because of the people’s continuing adherence to particularistic ties—to family, locality, church, and chiefs. While the crusading efforts of protesters have created a more informed and active public sphere, most educated achievers are more concerned with personal advancement and entry into newly created status groups than with membership in a common class that seeks appropriate political expression for a unified common social purpose. The increasing social visibility of educated professional and business people should be seen as part of the changing patterns of social stratification instead of class formation.
Keywords: elite, class, hierarchy, protest, public, social stratification, Tonga


Cultural Studies for Oceania, p. 340
Houston Wood


Albert Wendt: Bibliography p. 378
Paul Sharrad and Karen M Peacock


The Region in Review: International Issues and Events, 2002, p.424
Karin von Strokirch

Melanesia in Review: Issues and Events, 2002, p. 440
David Chappell, James Chin, Anita Jowitt, Asinate Mausio


Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Indigenous Women and Feminism, by Aileen Moreton-Robinson, p. 474
Reviewed by Haunani-Kay Trask

Body Trade: Captivity, Cannibalism, and Colonialism in the Pacific, edited by Barbara Creed and Jeanette Hoorn, p. 476
Reviewed by Shirley Lindenbaum

Mr. Tulsi’s Store: A Fijian Journey, by Brij V Lal, p. 479
Reviewed by Andrew Arno

Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization, by John D Kelly and Martha Kaplan, p. 482
Reviewed by James West Turner

Protection of Intellectual, Biological, and Cultural Property in Papua New Guinea, edited by Kathy Whimp and Mark Busse, p. 484
Reviewed by Sjoerd R Jaarsma

Hawai‘i’s Russian Adventure: A New Look at Old History, by Peter R Mills, p. 486
Reviewed by Susan A Lebo

An Honorable Accord: The Covenant between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States, by Howard P Willens and Deanne C Siemer, p. 489
Reviewed by Ed King

For the Good of Mankind: A History of the People of Bikini and Their Islands, by Jack Niedenthal, p. 492
Reviewed by Robert C. Kiste

Modekngei: A New Religion in Belau, Micronesia, by Machiko Aoyagi, p. 495
Reviewed by Kazumi Nishihara

Oceania: An Introduction to the Cultures and Identities of Pacific Islanders, by Andrew Strathern, Pamela J Stewart, Laurence M Carucci, Lin Poyer, Richard Feinberg, and Cluny Macpherson, p. 497
Reviewed by Gene Ogan

Birthing in the Pacific: Beyond Tradition and Modernity?, edited by Vicki Lukere and Margaret Jolly, p. 499
Reviewed by Judith C Barker

Village on the Edge: Changing Times in Papua New Guinea, by Michael French Smith, p. 502
Reviewed by Nancy McDowell

La tradition et l’État: Églises, pouvoirs et politiques culturelles dans le Pacifique, edited by Christine Hamelin and Éric Wittersheim, p. 504
Reviewed by Eric Waddell

Alchemies of Distance, by Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, p. 506
Reviewed by Paul Sharrad

Kalahele, by Imaikalani Kalahele, p. 507
Reviewed by Steven Winduo

The Art of Tivaevae: Traditional Cook Islands Quilting, by Lynnsay Rongokea, p. 511
Reviewed by Anne E Guernsey Allen

Kula: Myth and Magic in the Trobriand Islands, by Jutta Malnic, with John Kasaipwaloa, and Kula: Ring of Power, p. 512
Reviewed by Susanne Kuehling