Supporters of neoliberalism claim that free markets lead to economic growth, the creation of a middle class, and the establishment of democratically accountable governments. Critics point to a widening gap between rich and poor as countries compete to win foreign investment, and to the effects on the poor of neoliberal programs that restrict funding for health, education, and welfare. Indonesia Betrayed: How Development Fails, by Elizabeth Fuller Collins, offers a ground-level view from Sumatra of the realities behind these debates during the final years of Suharto’s New Order and the beginning of a transition to more democratic government.
July 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3183-7 / $24.00 (PAPER)
“Since the overthrow of the Suharto regime, we have had a small blizzard of studies on Muslim politics, ethnoreligious violence, and national-level politics in Indonesia. By contrast, we have had fewer of the fine-grained regional studies of economic change and political contestation for which Indonesian studies was renowned in the 1980s. In this fine book, Elizabeth Fuller Collins brings the earlier tradition of rich regional analysis to bear on the processes and pitfalls of the post-Suharto era in South Sumatra. The case study is important, and the analysis is rich. The result is a work that will be of interest to students of Indonesian studies, neoliberal development, and political transitions, and to the general reader curious about this most important, if still obscure, Asian giant.” —Robert W. Hefner, Boston University