Resisting Neoliberal Capitalism

Sustainable Self-determination on Moloka`i, Hawai`i

  • Mary Tuti Baker
    University of Hawai`i


This paper examines how a community resists the exploitive power of neoliberal capitalism by practices of self-determination and economic development that are grounded in Indigenous traditions and values. The sources I draw on for this examination are the decolonisation work of Taiaiake Alfred, the work on sustainable self-determination of Jeff Corntassel, the work on earth democracy of Vandana Shiva, and the writings on economic theory of Karl Polanyi and David Harvey. I argue that the Moloka`i community of Hawai`i is able to successfully assert power over a transnational corporation because the community has a strong commitment to a shared value system. This community power, though, is only strong when a critical mass of the community participates in the challenge to corporate power.

Moloka`i is the last Hawaiian island. We who live here choose not to be strangers in our own land. The values of aloha `āina and mālama `āina (love and care for the land) guide our stewardship of Moloka`i’s natural resources, which nourish our families both physically and spiritually. ... We honor our island's Hawaiian cultural heritage, no matter what our ethnicity, and that culture is practiced in our everyday lives. Our true wealth is measured by the extent of our generosity.

Published: 2011-01-01
Pages:12 to 20
Section: Articles
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How to Cite
Baker, M. T. (2011). Resisting Neoliberal Capitalism: Sustainable Self-determination on Moloka`i, Hawai`i. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 4(1), 12-20.