The phrase Big Five, in the world of Hawaii politics, evokes visions of a post-annexation and pre-WWII Hawaii's political and economic structure that was dominated by five companies involved in Hawaii's sugar and pineapple industries:
- C. Brewer & Co.
- Castle & Cook
- American Factors (Amfac)
- Alexander & Baldwin
- Theo H. Davies
The Boards of Directors of the Big Five had interlocking members making them an insular and close-knit group. Their politics were Republican, they were almost all white, and their political and economic goals were the maximizing of their industries on the backs of cheap, non-voting and ignorant immigrant labor.
The 1946 sugar strike portended the political change about sweep Hawaii in the 1950's. The strike taught the many immigrant ethnic groups to band together to effect change in their housing, medical care, pensions and wages. No longer would the 'Big Five' dictate the living and working standards for workers unilaterally. Nor was this lesson lost on the workers outside the plantations.
- THE BIG 5: Isle institutions’ economic impact endures -- 3 members turn to real estate and retail ventures after ownership changes and the decline of local sugar and pineapple (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9-29-02)
- Dark times cloud a land of sunshine -- A 1924 labor strike turns deadly, and a sensational 1931 murder case stirs calls for military rule (Honolulu Star Bulletin, 8-9-99)
- The Big Five ILWU.
- The 1946 Sugar Strike ILWU.
- Fear of Communist infiltrators engulfed postwar Hawaii -- A telling showdown came in 1954 at a rally when injured war hero Dan Inouye dramatically defended his patriotism (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 10-18-99)
- Dissappearing from View: Rumored sales of Theo Davies' businesses may signal its end (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 10-19-03)
- C. Brewer to sell all its assets -- The aging investors of the ex-"Big Five" firm saw it through rough times and now want to cash out (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5-12-01)
- Dole makes switch to private (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3-29-03)
- Amfac revival plan earns approval from U.S. court -- The plan will retire the debt of the former Big 5 company (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7-30-02)
- Alexander & Baldwin Corporate History (AlexanderBaldwin.com)