A Fresh Consideration of Development Strategies for Smaller Island States and Territories

Part of the Global Environmental Studies book series (GENVST)


Much of the literature on the development prospects of small, often island, ­jurisdictions is steeped in pessimism, driven by a serious concern as to the ability of such players to exploit the opportunities of an increasingly globalised world and its emergent liberalised trade rules (e.g. Briguglio 1995: 1615–1620; Encontre 1999: 265; UNCTAD 2004; WTO 1999). It is common to argue that small size, islandness, vulnerability, and a low governance capacity conspire to exacerbate the existing marginalisation of small economies, and is a condition which therefore justifies calls for special treatment. These arguments, however, “… are by no means uncontentious, and are part of an ongoing debate” (Horscroft 2005: 41). This paper aligns itself with a more optimistic view of the prospects for these territories and their citizens, who continue to exploit opportunities and maximise economic gains in a turbulent and dynamic external environment (e.g. Streeten 1993; Easterly and Kraay 2000; Page and Kleen 2004: 82, 89–90). Unable to reap economies of scale, they practise economies of scope. They do so also by keeping alive a portfolio of skills and revenue streams which enables these actors to migrate both inter-sectorally, as well as trans-nationally.


Natural Capital World Heritage Site Mass Tourism UNESCO World Heritage Site Solovetsky Island 



My thanks to the Research Institute for Society and Nature (RIHN), Kyoto, Japan and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO for their invitation to present an earlier draft of this chapter at an international symposium on the theme ‘The Futurability of Islands: Beyond Endemism and Vulnerability’, held in Kyoto, Japan, October 22–23, 2008. My thanks to organizers Ken-Ichi Abe, Ryo Nakamura, Daniel Niles, Narifumi Tachimoto, Tokushiro Takazo and Takakazu Yumoto; as well as participants John Cusick, Mark Gardener, Simon Haberle, Matthew Prebble and Alma Ridep-Morris, for their collegiality. My sincere thanks also to Geoff Bertram, Stefan Gössling and Sandy Kerr for useful comments on an earlier draft. The usual disclaimers apply.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Island Studies ProgramUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada

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