Hawai’i’s economy of mass-market tourism will not be sustainable in the long run. The over-expansion of mass tourism has degraded Hawai'i's unique natural and cultural environment, inflated the cost of living, driven up housing prices, and generated mainly low paying service jobs. Continued promotion of mass tourism and luxury shopping malls will mostly further enrich multinational corporations and well-connected local allies, not Hawai'i's average citizens.
We call for a new definition of wealth that includes clean air and water, biodiversity, health, education, and peace as measures of economic well-being. Instead of destructive growth, Greens favor sustainable development, which means that economic activities satisfy everyone's basic needs and provide a high quality of life for people today, without destroying the environment, the heritage of the Islands' past, or compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Instead of tourist-driven growth, Greens envision a locally owned, truly diversified, and more self-reliant economy. We can reduce our need for imported products and outside capital by nourishing locally owned enterprises that produce the goods and services we normally consume. Hawai'i could grow and process its own food, instead of importing at least 80% of it. Islanders could use energy more efficiently and use locally available renewable energy sources rather than pay for expensive imported fossil fuels. We could grow our own timber products for various uses. Supporting local manufacturers, artisans, and services would keep money in our local economy. Reducing imports would mean lessening our dependence on the income derived from mass tourism to supply our basic needs.
We must encourage local entrepreneurs. Existing business can be strengthened via business assistance programs, community revitalization efforts, more exporting of local products, and employee ownership. New locally owned enterprises can be encouraged through programs that help new businesses start and survive the first critical year. We need to attract outside businesses that protect and enhance Hawai’i’s unique human, cultural, and environmental resources.
Greens call for:
- A statewide moratorium on building non bio-diversified golf courses, marinas, resorts, and other projects, unless sustainability is the foremost consideration
- Promotion of locally owned small-scale eco-tourism, sensitive to Hawai'i's people, culture and environment
- Limits on multinational and foreign investment
- Capital gains taxes that penalize short-term speculation in land and housing
- Reducing the extraordinary powers of private corporations by amending the laws and U.S. Constitution
- Tax credits and incentives to develop forward-looking local business (i.e., organic agriculture, alternative energy, biotechnology) that encourage the sustainable use of local materials, talent, products, and services
- An economic strategy rooted in community-centered planning, based on sustainable use of local resources
- Cooperative enterprises which employees both own and manage
In sum, we favor an economy that benefits the whole community. We envision a business environment that rewards the local entrepreneur, the small business, and the responsible locally owned company. Many well-proven ways exist to increase the value of local products, and to develop and support the community's human capital – the talent, experience, and knowledge of our own residents.