Obliterating Objections to Independence

Many people dismiss independence for Hawaiʻi with unsupported arguments that it is too small (in terms of population and economically),that a monarchy is an archaic form of government, or that the need for a military is an insurmountable one. None of these arguments have really been scrutinized – I do so here:

1. According to Wolfram Alpha, at $75.24 Billion, Hawaiʻi would be the 67th largest GDP out of 204 countries (there would be 205). Ironically, Cuba would be the next largest GDP at $66 Billion, but they have almost exactly ten times the population of Hawaiʻi (11 million). Of course, Hawaiʻi’s GDP would likely go down, but it is so much larger than the smallest economies, it is still quite possible that quality of life could be high. Tonga, for example, has about a $200 million economy, yet has no homelessness or starvation.


2. Monarchy is one of the most common forms of government in the world. Many countries that we think of as “democracies” (i.e., not monarchies, because the two must be incompatible) actually have monarchs: the UK (which includes Australia, New Zealand and Canada), Belgium, Japan (emperor), Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands

3. In today’s security environment, a military is not entirely necessary – or so say Haiti, Mauritius, Panama, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Admittedly, these all have security arrangements, but Costa Rica does not.

4. Epeli Hauʻofa’s concept of the Pacific as a “sea of islands” challenged the prevailing idea of Pacific smallness. Hawaiʻi is relatively huge (both in population and land mass) compared to Tonga, an independent country. Hawaiʻi’s population is larger than the following countries: Bahrain, Estonia, Mauritius, East Timor, Cyprus, Fiji, Bhutan, Montenegro, Solomon Islands, Malta, Brunei.

Tallin, Estonia

5. And more than 1 million larger than: Bahamas, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Barbados, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Cook Islands. This is significant, because of the 1.3 million current residents in Hawaiʻi, one million are not native Hawaiian (this does not count descendants of the roughly 2000 non-native Hawaiian citizens of the Kingdom). Nearly another 200,000 native Hawaiians live on the US continent.

6. One final fun population fact: Hilo is bigger than Monaco.



Filed under Globalization, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Obliterating Objections to Independence

  1. Luana

    I’ve heard you speak of the GDP comparisons before and that really was enlightening – and prompted my wanting to understand more about our economy and potential new economy opportunities that align with the goals of many concerned with concentrations in military, agribusiness, tourism, etc. And, of course, I’ll be thinking through Epeli Hau’ofa’s writings for years to come – consciousness raising – and has become a touchstone when I feel myself slipping into thought constraints.

    All good stuff – thanks for helping to create paths and layers of inquiry and thought. To me, this feels very Hawaiian (or Oceania).


  2. I’m a descendent of a Subject of The Hawaiian Crown. ( Great-grandmother ) born; Hilo, Hawaii 1883.


  3. onibaba1

    I’m glad we’re obliterating objections to independence, but sometimes the obliteration feels a little like Whack-a-mole. I think you put this up to bait me, because you can’t consult a data search engine like Wolfram Alpha to get a sense of what Hawaii GDP will be, until there is at least some understanding of how GDP is measured.

    The UN System of National Accounts, is the institution taht determines the data that the IMF and World Bank use to measure GDP and allow for international trade and exchange to occur.

    So, just as an example, military systems is now accounted for as a fixed asset under System of National Acounts. When you demilitarize Hawaii, you take away the military systems account. That’s just one example. You’d have to go throught the entire array matrix of account sectors to come close to assigning predictions to what our GDP will look like.

    Although it has evolved, at the very basic, GDP is an aggregate measurement of the values associated with production, consumption, distribution and exchange. Having said that, there are strong movements to further revise the GDP to account for resource depletion and environmental degradation, but that is not in the accounting matrix at the moment.

    When we account for Hawaii GDP, we are essentially still a colony because we produce so little and really have very little bargaining power without US occupation. For Hawaii to maintain a GDP even close to what we are as a “state” we’d pretty much have to sell out our resources to other markets.

    Hawaii could not participate in global trade the way for example Gibson might have envisioned unless there is conformity to the national accounting system.

    The Hawaii that we more or less envision: one without GMOs, the military, domestic & foreign investment, private land-ownership by the mega rich, once we strip that away from our current accounts, our GDP will plummet.

    I do think there are ways around this however. For example, Oahu could remain occupied for a fixed amount of time, while the other islands develop the local industries that they envision, easing our transition towards becoming the kind of independent state we may seek.

    And as a side note: It is completely within reason to have the Hawaiian Kingdom formally recognized by the other member states of the UN, with a PM representing the Kingdom as the legitimate power. The problem, however, is the route towards getting that recognition. In other words there’s a process that has worked for over 60 ex-colonies in the last 70 years, which includes most of the States in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and then there are processes that haven’t.


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