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scale horticulture and big-man systems, whereas most Polynesian societies have been characterized by more intensive horticulture and partial redistribution.  Melanesian big men are persons who seek prestige and renown through the holding of elaborate feasts, but, as we have seen, their high status is relatively fragile and can quickly disappear when their elaborate feast-giving declines. By contrast, Polynesian chiefs are installed in office through a system of hereditary succession and hold substantial economic leverage over the large mass of the population. One of their primary aims is the production and maintenance of a constant economic surplus, which they accomplish by compelling the people to relinquish a portion of their harvests. This leads to the formation of a “public treasury,” a great storehouse over which the chief exercises control. The uses to which this storehouse is put are many. Chiefs support themselves and their families from it and also use it for providing lavish entertainment for visiting dignitaries, initiating major public projects such as irrigation works, building temples, sponsoring military campaigns, and supporting a vast range of political functionaries and administrative officials. In addition, portions of the storehouse are redistributed to the people as the need arises, and chiefs are expected to be generous with it. Those who are not sufficiently generous or who make excessive demands on the people’s harvests are sometimes put to death.

Polynesian partial redistributive systems are redistributive in the sense that they involve a continual flow of goods between the chiefs and the people. In this case, however, the flow of goods is an unequal flow: the people clearly give more than they receive in return. While clearly similar in principle to the pure redistributive systems of small-scale horticulturalists, these intensified redistributive systems of more

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