An Australian academic says Nauru should help itself and not look for international aid.
The island's Government has in the past fortnight formally sought assistance and this week Cabinet Minister David Adeang said their situation was desperate.
But Professor Helen Hughes, in a paper for the Centre of Independent Studies, says the once rich island could become modestly prosperous if a series of reforms were implemented.
She says the island, with 11 thousand people, is no bigger than a small country town and should be run like one.
"that's a local government council of unpaid functionaries with a rotating chairman, - at their peak they had 1600 public servants - 1600 public servants for 11 thousand people - that's ridiculous'"
Professor Hughes says the island also needs to re-organise its finances, end its links with off shore banks, and pull out of costly international organisations.