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A purely analytical perception...


INDONESIA

A STUDY IN NEPOTISM

 

Continued from page 14

CHALK UP ONE FOR OUR FRIENDS AT THE WORLD BANK

Our brilliant friends at the World Bank finally figured out what is going on in Indonesia and predicted that not only would 20 million Indonesian’s lose their jobs but 50 million will return from the poverty that had only recently emerged from. While these projections are much too optimistic, at least the Bank is finally waking up to the fact that there just may be a problem here. The World Bank goes on knowingly that when people don’t have food to eat, sometimes they take it out on their neighbors and at other times they steal. We can not fault that statement with the exception of the fact that most of the ethnic Chinese have already left town and won’t be around to be beaten up any more. Apparently, without their standard whipping boy, the people may really become annoyed without someone to hand in effigy or for real.

When the Chinese left, they left with their brains, the abilities, their know how and their money. They were the glue that kept the Indonesian economy together and that is something that Suharto was well aware of but the mobs that came down on them and burned their stores were not. It is somewhat akin to how Stalin purged his Generals before Hitler attacked and that was reason that Germany was able to get so far into Russia before they were repulsed. The demise of the Chinese in Indonesia has brought with it an economic lead balloon that will not soon regain its equilibrium. Even Beijing has gotten into the act with Chinese students asking for and being granted the unusual permission to hold systematic rally’s against what was occurring against their brethren in Indonesia. China too voiced its outrage of the events and has put Habibie’s government on notice that it will be watching to see that those who instigated the violence are properly punished. Speaking for the Chinese government, the People Daily, their voice stated as follows; "Indonesian authorities should face the facts solemnly, take strong steps to punish the lawless and protect the personal safety and property of the ethnic Chinese,, and treat them fairly, The legitimate rights of the ethnic Chinese, who constitute an important part of the Indonesian society, should be well respected and their lives and property be effectively protected."

So, the Wall Street Journal called up Habibie and asked him what he intended to do about the problem and he indicated that he was sorry they had left, that he would do just about anything to get them back including the rebuilding of their businesses and stated, "Of Chinese who haven’t returned since the May riots, This is their home. They should come home and continue their work and contribute as they used to contribute to sustainable economic growth. I have full sympathy to them… Not only full sympathy, I’m on their side, proactive. They should trust me. I have condemned that (the riots) already, officially as president, and I will not let it happen again. I am looking forward for them to come home." And if you believe that he can protect them you may want to buy this bridge I have for sale as well. On the other hand you can believe that at least for now, they are not going to fall for that line.

SOME SECOND THOUGHTS

So after Suharto fell and Habibie took office, the World Bank had some scary second thoughts about the Indonesian situation. There reason went something like this, Suharto might have been a bad guy and all but in reality, he was kind of dumb when it came to hiding money. Sure he used nominees all the like but when the day was over, Suharto, for the most part left his money in Indonesia. Up to a point it wasn’t critical whether he did or didn’t send his money offshore, but once the IMF, The World Bank and other contributors to the bailout started thinking about the subject they began conjuring up thoughts about someone grabbing the money, as Mobutu had in Zaire and taking off for better political climates.

According to the Wall Street Journal "A World Bank mission to Indonesia last month found a "broad consensus" in Indonesian government and society that corruption these "is widespread, systemic and deeply embedded." "Fearing that the problem "could become much worse in the period ahead," the team recommended dramatic action by the Indonesian government to protect the massive antipoverty programs that have been launched since the collapse of the nation’s economy. The team implied that the Indonesian government risks an aid cutoff if it doesn’t act on the problem.

Robert Klitgaard of the Rand Graduate School in Santa Monica, California echoed the above, "At least under the old system, the theft was largely centralized among members of then-President Suharto’s family, effectively keeping much of the waylaid money in the country. Since Mr. Suharto was ousted last spring, power is more dispersed, and with it the ability to extract bribes. The real danger is a Zaire-like situation, with decentralized, chaotic corruption, that will really wreck the country."

Whatever is going to be done, it better happen soon, homeless children now roam the streets of Jakarta, begging for food. The City’s budget has been reduced by two-thirds and the number of shelters has risen by 500 percent and Jakarta has it better than the rest of the country.

INDONSIAN ENDNOTES

 

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