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“Below the income tax threshold, for a Palgrave Macmillan Book. 7 Dec. 2015”


“Below the income tax threshold, for a Palgrave Macmillan Book. 7 Dec. 2015.”

While doing my tax returns for 2015, I realized that for the first time in my life, I was well below the income tax threshold of $16,000.  Indeed, with the Fiji Times deducting withholding tax of 15% from their economical payments for my articles, FRCA informs me that I am due for a refund.

Reason for this cataclysmic event?   I have devoted much of 2015 towards a book, based on my 1988 PhD, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan (London) and already advertised by them here:

As you will see from the contents, there is thankfully virtually nothing about Fiji in this book for which I have spurned several consultancies during 2015, which has therefore left me below the income tax threshold, with future royalties unlikely to recoup my financial losses and the opportunity cost of personal time devoted to the original PhD, and the recent revisions.

It is unfortunately also true that the Fiji Bureau of Statistics has not been able to give me any further consultancy work with household survey analysis which I have done with them so fruitfully for the last eight years.  The FBS is now under the tight control of the Minister of Finance, and have not published my 2013 Report on the 2010-11 EUS which had some negative “news” on the Bainimarama Government’s economic performance for its first four years.

But the forthcoming publication of my DPhil thesis/book is a great event for me, and the high-point of my output for international academia.

The sorry tale of why it has taken 27 years to be published may be read in the Preface below:


Preface (from my book)

This book is based on a DPhil I began in 1981 at the Institute of Development Studies (Sussex University) on the simple topic of Fiji’s colonial and post-colonial monetary and banking system. However, initial historical research at the Public Records Office (Kew) turned up enough anomalies in existing accounts to warrant a ‘leap in the dark’ to a topic covering the entire British colonial empire. Returning to Fiji in 1984, it took another four years to complete the thesis, battling political distractions such as military coups. I thank The University of the South Pacific for giving me study leave, and I thank Charles Harvey and David Evans, my supervisors at IDS.

I regret that I wasted Macmillan’s 1990 offer to publish the book because of my preoccupation with local development issues. It is a minor miracle that 25 years later this study has not been superseded by other works, while some have enhanced my book.

This last revision was begun while I was an Adjunct Professor at The Cairns Institute (James Cook University, Australia), an appointment assisted by Professor Hurriyet Babacan (then director of TCI) and Professor Robbie Robertson (Head of Social Science at JCU). Based in Fiji, I am grateful to the online services of the JCU Library.        Professor Salim Rashid was kind enough to put me in touch with Professor Larry Neal (Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Illinois) who I cannot thank enough for his valuable advice on restructuring the book, advice on recent new sources, writing the foreword, and generally facilitating this publication with Palgrave Macmillan. I am grateful for the efficient facilitation of the editorial and production activities by Vidhya Jayaprakash (Newgen Knowledge Works Pvt Ltd), and the excellent copy editing by John Bowdler (Bowdler’s Editorial).

During the course of my research I appreciated British academics (such as J. Mars, Arthur Hazlewood and Thomas Balogh) who wrote bravely about Britain’s exploitation of colonies. I appreciate today the many honest British imperial civil servants who opposed their superiors, when imperial decisions were not in the interests of the colonized peoples, and left a ‘paper trail’ so useful to me in clarifying the true nature of imperial decision-making. It is a lesson for civil servants in today’s Third World, including Fiji.

I remember that three decades ago, my wife Sin Joan Yee and three sons (Siddhartha Weih-jen, Sugata Weih-men and Amitaabh Weih-len) took on more than their fair share of the burdens of a young family, while I was struggling in Fiji, to complete the original thesis. I will always owe a debt to my parents, Maniben and Narsey Bhai Dullabh, who sacrificed much for their children’s education.

I remember my good Fijian friend, the late Nand Kisor Chetty, who used to vainly pester me to publish my book. I thank Dr Kurt Schuler (Senior Fellow at the NY Centre for Financial Stability and a currency board scholar) for his recent encouragement to publish my thesis which he read twenty years ago.

I dedicate this book to five individuals. The first two are Poet Laureates John Masefield (“A University, Splendid, Beautiful and Enduring”) and Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (“Where the mind is without fear”).  Their words guided me for decades while teaching at The University of the South Pacific. The third was much more than a mere economist: B. R. Ambedkar, was one of the authors of the Indian constitution and more importantly became a heroic leader of the ‘untouchables’ in India, where universities are named after him. The fourth is Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Burmese freedom fighter who after decades of struggling on (“one has no right to hope without endeavor”) has finally won the elections in Myanmar and will assume government in April 2016.

The fifth dedication is to my wife, Sin Joan Yee, who for decades has stoically put up with all the social fall-out resulting from my free economic, political and social commentaries, not easy in a small society like Fiji where she also has led her own independent professional and public life.

Wadan Narsey
Suva, Fiji.

Adjunct Professor, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia

Adjunct Professor, Swinburne University, Australia

Former Professor of Economics, University of the South Pacific


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