Openings in the body of ‘capitalism’: Capital flows and diverse economic possibilities in Kiribati

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Abstract

Much of the post-development agenda is concerned with decoupling Eurocentric imaginings of development from development practices in ‘remote’ regions and exploring new forms of economy that can enhance local well-being. In the South Pacific (and elsewhere), small peripheral economies have confronted globalisation in varying ways. Some places, such as the Micronesian island state of Kiribati, have engaged directly with the global economy by investing capital generated locally in international financial markets rather than in domestic industries. Kiribati's trust fund, the Revenue Equalisation Reserve Fund, maintains a balanced portfolio of international equity and fixed income assets that produces a financial return, helping to augment Kiribati's other national income sources. In this paper we explore the results of capital flowing from Kiribati to global financial markets, noting that this alternative development practice can enhance local well-being.

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