Indonesia: The Rise of Capital

Richard Robison

Allen & Unwin 1986
A book review by Danny Yee © 1993
Indonesia: the Rise of Capital presents a detailed account of the role of capital in the Indonesian economy. The first part looks at the history of the economy to 1965, the second at the relationship between capital (domestic and international) and the state, and the third at the different kinds of domestic capitalists (military, politico-bureaucratic, Chinese and indigenous).

The growth of an Indonesian capitalist class was at first inhibited by colonial policies, then by the political insecurity of Chinese capitalists. Only in recent years has the movement of military and political leaders into business begun the process of creating a capitalist class capable of wielding political power. Major changes to Indonesian politics are expected in coming years, particularly when Suharto dies, and this class can be expected to play a more prominent role than hitherto.

The Rise of Capital is fairly heavy going, with extensive tables and detailed analyses of the links between companies and the breakdown of capital holdings and flows. However, if you are interested in actually understanding the workings of the economy as a whole it has a coherence that the scattered details found in the business press lack.

February 1993

Related reviews:
- books about Indonesia + Indonesian history
- more economic history
%T Indonesia: The Rise of Capital
%A Robison, Richard
%I Allen & Unwin
%D 1986
%O paperback, bibliography, index
%G ISBN 0049090240
%P xxv,425pp