Spare Parts

This is an archived version of the PW Sources newsletter from Saturday, April 27, 2024. Sign up to receive PW Sources directly to your inbox here.


On Wednesday, Prabowo Subtiano was officially declared the winner of Indonesia’s 2024 election. The former defense minister has promised to continue the legacy of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, with an agenda that includes industrial downstreaming, infrastructure development, and “good neighbor” policies with both the US and China.

In a 2007 report, YASUYUKI MATSUMOTO examines how speculative finance made Indonesia particularly vulnerable during the 1998 East Asian financial crisis, which was a precursor to the end of Suharto’s dictatorship:

“A number of studies link debt accumulation by the private sector to the liberalization policies that were actively pursued in East Asia’s crisis-affected countries in the 1980s and 1990s. In particular, the private sector’s external debt problem is viewed as a result of capital account liberalization. Indonesia undertook a dramatic deregulation of its financial sector in the 1980s and by the 1990s had one of the most liberalized financial markets in the world. Deregulation policies were introduced between 1983 and 1989. In June 1983, bank credit ceilings and most interest rate controls were eliminated. In December 1987, a deregulation package for the investment and capital markets was introduced, in which daily price controls on the Jakarta Stock Exchange were eliminated. In October 1988, the government introduced a major banking reform and deregulation package that eliminated restrictions on the opening of new banks, branches, and foreign joint-venture banks. In December 1988, the amendment and supplemental package Paket 20 December 1988 was introduced, allowing foreign ownership of securities companies. The government refined PAKTO in March 1989 and changed foreign borrowing restrictions on bank and non-bank financial institutions to controls on net open positions. It is not surprising that the monitoring system and regulatory framework was not put in place as quickly as the new financial products, services, and institutions. During the finance boom, the Indonesian corporate sector accumulated offshore private debt and transformed the economy from robust to fragile and unstable while economic fundamentals remained essentially sound.”

“Unlike Prabowo, who had planned to reshape the political system to suit his interests, Jokowi had no intention of radically changing the polity. This also meant that he allowed the forces of the establishment to aggressively defend their interests.” By Marcus Mietzner. Link. And see a JATAM report on Jokowi’s controversial job creation bill. Link.

 “Palm oil-based green energy is very problematic, as it has the potential to accelerate the expansion of palm oil plantations into forests.” Firdaus Cahyadi on Prabowo’s climate policy. Link. And see Sirojuddin Arif’s new PW essay on Prabowo’s developmental policies. Link

+  “Resource nationalism in Indonesia is a top-down, corporate project that has been largely determined by a rising class of domestic business elites.” By Eve Warburton. Link. And in a PW essay from last year, Alvin Camba examines Indonesia’s export ban on nickel. Link.


Expellees & the far right

ANIL MENON is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at UC Merced. In a 2020 paper, he examines how forced migration post-WWII has shaped the contemporary electoral politics of Germany.

From the paper:

“The local population of postwar Germany was in a ‘spiritual and moral vacuum […] with yesterday’s idols fallen and new ideals not yet established.’ They had little time, resources, or sympathy to spare for unwelcome strangers while struggling to piece their lives back together. This native apathy toward expellees stifled the latter’s social integration. Nevertheless, locals were required to house expellees. Such shared living situations proved difficult for both hosts and guests. Many expellees, who had owned homes in the East, found their entire families confined to a single room. Congested living spaces coupled with cultural differences led to inevitable tensions. The situation proved even worse for expellees assigned to mass housing. Many remained in displaced person camps for years or had to live out of bomb shelters. The unique economic challenges faced by expellees exacerbated the situation. Their haphazard allocation led to sizable mismatches between skills and employment opportunities. Severe restrictions on expellee movement in the early postwar years limited expellees’ ability to correct these imbalances. Moreover, their lack of deep social ties with local employers meant that they were discriminated against, becoming the ‘last hired and first fired.’ Faced with these compounded obstacles, expellees fared worse than their native counterparts, providing fodder for native caricatures of the expellee as lazy dead-weights within society. The postwar administration also viewed expellees as a potential reservoir of societal agitation and unrest. General Lucius Clay, military governor of the American occupation zone, repeatedly cautioned German officials about the possibility of radicalization among disillusioned expellees. Officials feared that collective political action within the expellee community would hinder efforts at expellee integration into the larger community, increase tensions between the pre-war local population and expellees, and transform them into focal points for forces interested in destabilizing the postwar order. Such fears led to the ban of any expellee political parties or groups in the immediate postwar period.”

+ + +

+  “The program represents the adoption of an unprecedented institutional and legal framework for debt management via public policy, placing family debt at the center of current attempts to restructure the Brazilian economy.” New on PW, Lena Lavinas and Bruno Mader on “financial inclusion” and Lula’s Desenrola program. Read in EnglishPortuguese, and Spanish

+  “Prabowo’s populist vision may be disastrous for vulnerable and marginalized groups at the bottom of the economic pyramid, as state-backed development projects are likely to threaten their livelihoods.” Also new on PW, Sirojuddin Arif on president-elect Prabowo’s promised continuity with Jokowi’s ten-year regime in Indonesia. Link.

+  “El 57 por ciento de los ingresos por la tributaria en 2023 debía venir de los impuestos a las empresas de petróleo y carbón.” On PW’s new Spanish website, Camilo Andrés Garzón interviews Colombia’s former Minister of Finance, José Antonio Ocampo, about the country’s recent progressive tax reform. Link

+  In a nationwide movement, triggering many hundreds of arrests, student coalitions have set up tent encampments, rallies, or building occupations at Columbia UniversityUSCUC BerkeleyOhio State UniversityUT AustinGeorge Washington UniversityCal Poly HumboldtEmerson CollegeNYUBrown UniversityUniversity of MichiganFashion Institute of Technology, the New School, the City College of New YorkCUNYNorthwestern UniversityIndiana UniversityMichigan StateUCLARice UniversityUniversity of ConnecticutUniversity of PennsylvaniaStanfordPrincetonHarvard, and Yale, demanding divestment from Israel as the country threatens its assault on Rafah.

+  “The Lapis Lazuli corridor is one of Afghanistan’s largest initiatives in regional and international politics, through which Afghanistan will reach Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean coast.” By Mohammad Talib Tariq. Link.

+  Nileena MS and Swetha Kadiyala on the Vedanta-Foxconn joint venture in semiconductors and India’s electoral bonds scandal. Link

+  “Brazil’s hugely popular Pix payment system now threatens the dominance of credit cards in the booming e-commerce sector.” By Marcela Ayres. Link.

+  David Stein and Ira Regmi contrast “true” full employment, as eradicating involuntary employment, with the NAIRU tradition, which emphasized it as a purely quantitative ideal. Link.

+  “We’ve seen growing economic concentration, the emergence of a small number of national champions with close connections to the central government, which have increasingly overshadowed the space for regional capital.” Rohan Venkat interviews Louise Tillin on Indian federalism and the ongoing general election. Link

+  “There is little doubt that bedouin tribes were indeed within the sphere of mobilization of urban power centers. During the 1854–1858 internal conflict in Nablus, for example, both urban-led factions boasted bedouin allies and referred to them as junior—though fierce and valuable—partners. The same held true during factional struggles in the Jerusalem, Hebron, and Gaza regions. As the prosperity of Jabal Nablus in the eighteenth century clearly demonstrates, economic life could and did thrive through continually reproduced and negotiated alliance systems. The occasional breakdowns were merely the exceptions that proved the rule. For instance, the area east of the River Jordan where most of the bedouins dwelled was economically integrated by Nabulsi merchants as a source of, among other things, olive oil, livestock (sheep, goats, horses, camels), clarified butter (samn), and, most of all, qilw. The social history of soap fits well with Talal Asad’s contention that interdependency of economic activities was the organizing framework. There was not a single relationship of an everyday nature that tied bedouins with Jabal Nablus in a subordinate but mutually dependent manner more thoroughly than the supply of qilw for soap production.” By Beshara Doumani. Link.

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