Papua New Guinea is a relatively recent independent state engaged in a struggle to develop economically and exercise a degree of sovereignty. This work articulates the challenges that confront the young nation including, security, economic viability, delivery of services, and control of political corruption. While these are matters internal to the functionality of the nation state, the author argues that matters have changed dramatically with China’s growing influence in the region and the ensuing competition between the United States and China. With this increasing geopolitical importance there is the promise of financial benefit, but there are also new challenges as there is the ever-present danger of becoming enmeshed in superpower competition. David Lea argues that lack of economic development and continuing aid dependency may well render island nations such as Papua New Guinea susceptible to political manipulation and further loss of sovereignty, including even a risk of military involvement.
David Lea is professor of political science at the University of Papua New Guinea.
Chapter 1 Historical Overview
Chapter 2 Melanesian Culture, World View and Cosmology
Chapter 3 Crime and Security in Papua New Guinea
Chapter 4 Customary Land Tenure and the Birth of the Incorporated Land Group
Chapter 5 Customary Melanesian Land within a Modern Legal Framework
Chapter 6 Environmental Issues and Mining: The OK Tedi Case
Chapter 7 Environmental Issues and the Forestry Industry
Chapter 8 Associated Ethical Issues for REDD Based Emissions Trading Schemes in Melanesia
Chapter 9 Bureaucracy: Is It an Issue in the Developing World of Papua New Guinea?
Chapter 10 Electoral Reform in Papua New Guinea and the Quest for Improved Governance
Chapter 11 Papua New Guinea, Asian Democracies and Parallels in Post-Colonial Development
Chapter 12 Foreign Policy and the Challenges for Political Independence and Sovereignty
Chapter 13 Sovereignty and Globalization
Chapter 14 As Chinese Intellectuals embrace the Ideas of Carl Schmitt: What are the Implications for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Island Nations?
Chapter 15 Dependency Theory and its Application to Papua New Guinea
“Papua New Guinea’s challenges of economic and political development have attracted the attention of successive policy makers and academics from diverse disciplines since well before the country attained its independence in 1975. Renowned for its socio-linguistic diversity and the resilience of its indigenous societies, PNG dwarfs its Pacific Island neighbours in terms of land mass and its rapidly growing population. Renewed international interest in the Southwest Pacific has accompanied the deepening geo-strategic competition in recent years between the United States, its regional partners, and an increasingly assertive China. In this wide-ranging book, David Lea draws on his unique vantage point as a professor of politics at the University of Papua New Guinea to reflect on a complex array of development challenges facing this Pacific Island nation in a time of growing economic uncertainty and great power competition. Lea touches on a range of critical issues including internal security, land tenure and environmental concerns, heavy dependence on resource extraction, the dynamics of PNG’s domestic politics, the fragility of state institutions, and, of course, PNG’s place is a rapidly changing regional and global context. His book provides a further contribution to the literature about a country and region of growing interest to scholars and practitioners of development”.