Fri, 06 May 2005

Eradicating corruption

As an Indonesian scholar I am pleased to read Indonesia: Uprooting graft published in the Economist, April 30, 2005, page 26, by correctly posing the question: "Is President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at last getting serious about tackling corruption?"

Unfortunately the government of Indonesia does not have a strategy to eradicate corruption. And above all, the government is unable to distinguish between "corruption due to need" and "corruption due to greed".

Can you imagine, President Susilo promised during the presidential election that he himself would lead the fight against corruption in Indonesia.

How naive! Indonesia follows the "corporate democracy", where economic activities are led the Vice President, who has a corporate and trade background and so the senior minister of economics.

The corporate democracy tells us that the corporate greed is very obvious principle of life like in the United States: Corporate interests and religious interests are the main theme of the U.S. democracy, as proven by the daily CEO and CFO scandals.

President Susilo should first straighten up the "corruption due to need", through a national price policy, to address all the imbalances between the installed capacity and the rate of utilization through price adjustments.

While to eradicate "corruption due to greed" in Indonesia: In addition to creating socio-cultural-economic democracy, the political democracy should be guided by the local ancient wisdom of musyawarah dan mufakat (deliberations and consensus), not as is practiced today: Procedural democracy by voting through money politics.

HARTOJO WIGNJOWIJOTO, Founder and Chairman The Institute of National Capacity Studies, Jakarta