Fiji - Poverty and wealth
Fiji's traditional tribal structure creates wide status differentials, and there are wide gaps between the income levels of rich and poor. Although much of the land in Fiji is collectively owned, it is controlled by tribal chiefs who derive most of the economic benefit. Traditionally, Fiji's political leaders come from the eastern part of the country, from Vanua Levu and the Lau Group, where the feudal structure is best preserved. Fiji's cities and industry, on the other hand, are concentrated in the west, on Viti Levu in and around Suva, where most of the population lives. The result is a very unequal distribution of wealth and political power, which has survived because it has become connected with racial issues. Despite a very small Fijian Indian entrepreneurial class, many members of which have left the country, most Fijian Indians are no better off than indigenous Fijians since both groups suffer under a political system that concentrates power in the hands of the ruling class. The burden of Fiji's economic difficulties falls heaviest on its poorer citizens, who are obliged to commit a greater proportion of their incomes to basic essentials.