Will the country of thousands of islands catch up with China and India?
But if Indonesia’s population, territory and natural resources are good, the political and economic influence of this densely populated country is completely disproportionate to its characteristics. In terms of economic development, Indonesia is far behind not only from China or India, but also from its closest neighbors - small states of Southeast Asia, nicknamed “Asian tigers” - Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. Does the country have prospects to change its status and become a more developed state?
Indonesia declared its independence in August 1945 of the year - it’s not hard to guess that such a turn of events was possible as a result of the surrender of Japan, which occupied the Netherlands East Indies in 1942. But, freed from the Japanese invaders, the Indonesians were not going to return under the authority of the old metropolis. It is noteworthy that the Japanese invaders began preparations for the proclamation of Indonesia as an independent state, who thereby sought to secure support from the Indonesian national liberation movement in a complicated situation. The Japanese troops suffered defeat after defeat, so the declaration of independence of Indonesia became such a kind of gift for the Dutch and the British who supported them.
12 August 1945, Field Marshal Terauti Hisaichi, commander of the Japanese Southern Army Group, met with leaders of the Indonesian national movement, Ahmed Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta. Indonesian politicians received a formal consent from the Japanese command to declare the country's independence. 17 August 1945, Sukarno read the Declaration of Independence of Indonesia at his home in Jakarta. This was a watershed event in stories the former Dutch colony, spread out on numerous islands of the Malay Archipelago. Like other European powers in South and Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s road to independence turned out to be long, thorny and bloody.
Naturally, the Netherlands with such a development of events did not agree. The Dutch authorities immediately enlisted the support of Great Britain, since there were numerous units and subunits of British troops on the Indonesian islands. October 4 began the landing of Dutch troops in Batavia, which immediately went over to the armed suppression of supporters of the independence of Indonesia. Thus began a bloody war of independence, which lasted four years.
It is clear that in The Hague they didn’t want to lose the rich Asian colony, which was an important source of income for the metropolis. But the population of Indonesia and its geographical features made war against supporters of independence very difficult. The Netherlands then entered into negotiations, then resumed punitive operations. As a result, by February 1949, the Indonesian rebels controlled most of the country, driving the Dutch to major cities.
From 23 August to 2 in November 1949, the further fate of the former Netherlands East Indies was discussed at the Peace Conference in The Hague, and Indonesia was recognized as an independent state on December 27 and 1949. This event testified to the next defeat of the European colonialists in Southeast Asia. The Netherlands, although they left behind a number of West Indian colonies and until the beginning of the 1960-ies. who owned the western part of New Guinea, ceased to be a colonial empire.
In turn, Indonesia, like many other young states, faced numerous problems - separatism and corruption, the rebel movement and political struggle, which assumed a bloody character. Prior to the beginning of the 1960s, Ahmed Sukarno (in the photo) was in power in the country - a man of very peculiar views, representing a combination of Indonesian nationalism, anti-colonialism and moderately left-wing ideas. Sukarno focused on the development of relations with the Soviet Union.
In 1950-ies in Indonesia acted one of the most numerous in the world of communist parties, which, in addition to the huge number, enjoyed considerable political influence. By 1965, the Communist Party of Indonesia numbered 3 a million members and was second only to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist Party, being the largest non-ruling Communist Party in the world. The West was terribly afraid of the final transition of Indonesia to the socialist camp, since this would mean the formation of a huge red belt in the Asia-Pacific region - from the USSR to the Malay Archipelago. Therefore, throughout all 1950-x and the first half of 1960-x. American and British intelligence services provided full support to right-wing opposition parties.
Ultimately, a coup d'état occurred in Indonesia’s 1965 year. Major General Mohammed Suharto, who came to power, staged a terrible slaughter by the Indonesian communists, which claimed up to a million lives of party members and their relatives and friends. Under the rule of Suharto, Indonesia became a typical pro-Western dictatorship of the “third world”. The United States, seeking to prevent the revival of the communist movement in the country, generously financed the Suharto regime (pictured), but the Indonesian leader preferred to invest not so much in the development of the economy and social infrastructure as in the army and special services, as well as in his own enrichment.
Despite numerous examples of flagrant violations of human rights, including the bloody killings of oppositionists, Suharto held out at the head of Indonesia for more than thirty years. Washington needed him as a politician with a pronounced anti-communist orientation, all the more “tied” by big blood — the physical destruction of the country's Communist Party. The president's chair reeled under the general only in the 1990-s, when the political situation in the world changed. The Asian financial crisis 1997 of the year dealt a suicide blow to Suharto, after which riots and clashes with the police began in the country. 21 May 1998, the year Suharto announced his resignation from the presidency.
At the same time, despite the high level of corruption and the raw material nature of the economy (raw materials accounted for up to 90% of exports), during the thirty years of Suharto’s rule, Indonesia has been able to become a much more economically developed state than it was in the first half of the twentieth century. Although oil and gas exports continued to provide the bulk of revenues, agriculture was significantly modernized, and light industry began to develop.
The main buyers of Indonesian products remained the United States, Japan and South Korea. American and Japanese aid played a role, since Indonesia, due to its geopolitical position, was at the epicenter of the conflict of interests between the great powers - the USSR and the USA. Japanese capital, which began with the 1980's. looking for countries with cheap labor for outsourcing their industrial enterprises, drew attention to Indonesia, where factories and factories of Japanese corporations began to open.
The Asian crisis of 1997-1998, although it had a very negative effect on the growth of the Indonesian economy, was not fatal for it at the same time. Moreover, it was largely due to the crisis that Indonesia got a chance for political democratization. Suharto resigned, the country has become even more attractive to foreign investors. Now one of the main trump cards and, at the same time, the main problems of Indonesia are cheap labor costs. On the one hand, against the backdrop of the rising cost of labor in China, Indonesia, with its cheap labor and enormous labor resources, turned out to be among Asian countries that are most attractive for outsourcing Japanese, American, and European companies.
But the low cost of labor in Indonesia is due to an objective reason - its quality. Currently, only 50% of Indonesian workers have primary education. In the modern "knowledge" economy, the lack of qualification becomes a big problem. It was on the plantations of the 19th century that illiterate and semi-literate workers could work, and modern production requires fewer and fewer workers, but the specialists involved must have qualification and professional education. According to the human development index, Indonesia is in the “tail” of the rating, and the cost of labor in the country is lower not only than in China, but also in India.
A distinctive feature of Indonesia is the colossal level of social polarization and income inequality. Indonesian peasants live in terrible poverty, and the elite are not inferior to the European and Japanese bourgeoisie. Only 43 thousand Indonesians, representing approximately 0,02% of the country's population, own a quarter of the state’s total GDP. Experts believe that the social polarization of Indonesian society will only increase, and this also does not contribute to the improvement of the economic situation.
The political opposition of the USA and China in the Asia-Pacific region also influences the country's economy. China traditionally views Southeast Asia as its sphere of influence, which is not very pleasant not only to Americans, but also to the states of the region. It is worth recalling that a significant part of the business in Indonesia, Malaysia, and other countries of Southeast Asia is in the hands of ethnic Chinese - “huaqiao”. In Southeast Asia, the Chinese have always played a role similar to that of the Jews in Europe, meeting with a similar attitude from the local population. So, by 1998, about 75% of Indonesia’s private capital was concentrated in the hands of the Chinese. The successes of Chinese businessmen contribute to the preservation and spread of anti-Chinese sentiment among the population of countries in the region. These sentiments are also reflected in the policy of the states of Southeast Asia in relation to Beijing.
The Americans, who are trying with all their might to turn the Asia-Pacific region against China, are doing their bit. Indonesia is a special state with a large population. The situation can change only if Beijing adjusts its policy in the Asia-Pacific region, making it softer and more sustained. In the meantime, the countries of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, frightened by the growing activity of China, are not friendly towards him and are seeking intercession "on the side", primarily in the person of the United States.
In any case, Indonesia, by virtue of the very size of its population, has great prospects for economic growth. Where there are a lot of people, there is a large consumer market, which means an influx of investments. Now the Indonesian leadership is increasingly seeking to attract foreign investors, making it easier for them to “enter” the Indonesian market. In particular, the government seeks to attract investments in the development of the telecommunications industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the electric power industry.
If we talk about the sources of investment, here Indonesia preserves the traditional course of cooperation with the United States, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore - these countries today are the main investors in the Indonesian economy. The government opens the green light to investors, rightly expecting that it is the absence of bureaucratic barriers that is one of the main ways of attracting foreign funding to the country's economy.
In the 21st century, people are becoming the main resource for economic development, and in this regard, Indonesia has very serious prospects. The country has a huge demographic potential - its population is growing and getting younger, which makes the labor market more interesting in comparison with the same Eastern Europe, which has already exhausted its demographic potential. All these circumstances make it possible to build relatively favorable forecasts regarding the development of the economy of the fourth largest country in the world.
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- https://kak-eto-sdelano.livejournal.com, https://viza.md
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