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Affirmative Action in Fiji: Is it justified?

Gounder, Neelesh N. and Prasad, Biman C. (2006) Affirmative Action in Fiji: Is it justified? Development Bulletin, 70 . pp. 60-64. ISSN 1035-1132

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Introduction: Affirmative action policies regulate the allocation of scarce resources in order to increase the representation of the disadvantaged communities in education, employment and business. These policies are usually controversial because they involve the allocation of state resources. In Fiji, affirmative action policies have been based on race; since independence in 1970 the state has directed public resources towards the indigenous community. This paper looks at whether affirmative action in Fiji is justified. Fiji is an ethnically plural society and comprises indigenous Fijians (52 per cent), descendents of indentured Indians or Indo-Fijians (43.75 per cent), and other ethnic communities (4.25 per cent). Indigenous Fijians are not only the largest group but are also politically dominant and own 90 per cent of the country's land; this positioning has given the dominant group the political leverage to improve the economic position of the indigenous Fijian community. The Fijian Government recently formulated its ambitious affirmative action plan, the Blueprint for the Socio-Economic Advancement of Fijians and Rotumans. Like past plans, this one is based on racial preference rather than need. Affirmative action is a form of preferential governance because it involves the state designing and implementing policies which favour a designated group (Ratuva 2002); some view it as politically imposed discrimination. Affirmative action is often used as a generic label for efforts to counter discrimination (Holzer and Neumark 2004). The intense public scrutiny and debate over affirmative action makes it critical to understand how affirmative

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Economics
Depositing User: Neelesh Gounder
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2013 02:00
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2013 02:00

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