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Asia and Pacific Forum on PovertyV. NAIDU... Opening Doors to More Inclusive Societies: The Case of PICs 2

By I. Poverty and Denial Syndrome


There are still people in the Pacific island countries (PICs), usually the relatively advantaged, who deny the existence of poverty in the islands. They maintain that in the islands "subsistence affluence " and sharing and caring prevail so that everyone has the basic necessities of life. However, as the Fiji Poverty Report (1997) has shown there is widespread rural poverty even with the combination of subsistence produce, traditional exchanges, and cash income. Traditional social safety nets have been disintegrating with population mobility and new demands on individuals and households. Large income inequalities have emerged among rural households. Relative poverty has emerged with growing inequality between households. Living standard norms measured in terms of average household income are not enjoyed by more than 50 percent of the people of Fiji and the Solomon Islands. The Pacific Human Development Report (PHDR) of the United Nations Development Program (1994, 20) points out that by 1986, the top 10 percent of wage earners in Fiji received 50 percent of all incomes, while in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, 70 percent of total income of households accrues to less than two percent of the population. In Fiji the average weekly income in the highest 10 percent grou

Year: 2011
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