November 25, 2014 Saving Hawaii’s Economy: Promoting SME Development
Hawaii’s economy has been very dependant on tourism ever since statehood in 1959, to the extent that it accounts for more than 35% of Hawaiʻi’s gross domestic income (Zhou 76-78). On the surface Hawaii’s economy, it seems as if tourism is beneficial because money is being pumped into the island chain. However, the negative impacts of tourism are very harmful because it is starting to contort the Hawaiian culture into a profitable tool. According to a USA Today poll, 60% of Native Hawaiians respondents were against the statement that “the tourism industry helps to preserve the Hawaiian culture.” Not only Hawaiians disagree to this statement but 55% of Caucasians, 35% of Japanese and 36% of Filipinos disagree as well. Ergo, the local community (extending beyond just Hawaiians) are all against the profitization of the Hawaiian culture. (Sample, "Native Hawaiians Say Tourism Industry Distorts Their Culture"). Due to the profitization of the Hawaiian culture, many people are uninformed about the Hawaiian culture and the rich history that Hawaii has-- a history of innovation, oppression, suffering, and rebuilding. Instead, tourists and those they tell about their trip to Hawaii believe that the culture of Hawaii is just as fake as the garlands (not lei) that smiling greeters place around their necks. Hawaii is not only subject to the profitization of its culture but is rapidly becoming subject to rapid development. Joni Mitchell wrote a song that was inspired by development of the Hawaiian Islands in her song “Big Yellow Taxi.” She melodically sings the famous lines “They paved paradise, / And put up a parking lot, / With a pink hotel, a boutique, / And a swinging hot spot.” This is in reference to the development of Waikiki, where hotels and tourist attractions have been developed in the area. The pink hotel that the song refers to is the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Hawaii lost much of its land to the tourism industry because tourism requires space in order to have their many activities for tourists to spend their money on. This equates to a lost of land for the Hawaiian people. Due to the devaluation/profitization of the Hawaiian culture and overdevelopment, the people of Hawaii need to set up another way to support our economy, specifically one that is more independent of outside influence. It is very apparent that tourism is harmful to the local community; thus, we need to promote a sustainable economy through the promotion of small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
SMEs are the best way to promote a vibrant economy because they benefit the local community more than large multi-billion companies. SMEs are vital to economies because they spur growth in their region. SMEs can have a multiplier effect on employment and donate to local charities. Therefore, SMEs are able to benefit their community by helping the local economy and help welfare projects by donating to charities. All of these efforts together help promote the welfare of those in the region and can help lift people out of poverty. (Patricof, "In Developing Economies, Equity Beats Microfinance"). Some economists say that SMEs are the backbone of economies because they can represent a wide variety of industries and spur innovation that is close to the local culture. (Copenhagen and R, Report on Support to SMEs in Developing Countries Through Financial Intermediaries).
Before SMEs are able to help us we need to promote them in two (but not limited to) essential steps: First, Hawaii needs to lower taxes for personal income, individual capital gains and dividends and tax interest. Second, Hawaii needs to train young students to become entrepreneurs in the public schools systems. In order to become more hospitable for small businesses, Hawaii needs to lower its taxes that directly affect small businesses. Hawaii is currently ranked 4th for overall worst conditions to start a small