Alternative Indicators of Wellbeing for Melanesia: Cultural values driving public policy
Melanesia is a sub-region of Oceania in the Southwest Pacific comprised of the independent nations of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu, as well as several other indigenous groups, islands and atolls sharing the Melanesian identity. The people of Melanesia continue to depend largely on a traditional model of economic development that is self-contained, and ensures equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity within society. The ‘traditional economy’, as it has come to be referred to in Vanuatu, is governed by shared cultural values and rules that dictate control over available resources. Unlike an economy valued solely in monetary terms, in the traditional economy there are imposed limits to growth and wealth, and defined roles for resource management. It is, in every sense, as formal an economy as the modern cash-based capitalist economy, yet there is no government-issued financial currency. Instead, every exchange is an investment in social capital. There remains, however, the challenge of measurement.
KeywordsGross Domestic Product United Nations Traditional Knowledge Solomon Island Alternative Indicator
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