Oligarchy? What Oligarchy?

The role of technocracy in Indonesia is historically known and well discussed, albeit from an ‘etic’ or outsider perspective. The Berkeley Mafia – a group of US-trained Indonesian economists who masterminded Suharto’s development policies is a prime example. Much has been written about them, but few to almost none are told from their own perspective – depriving us the knowledge of how it felt as an intellectual being in the centre of power schemes.

The Indonesian public deserves an insider look at how technocracy in Indonesia has become a byword for a noble endeavour at problem-solving without acknowledging its actual root causes. The broader question here -which is not only applicable to the current regime but also to all previous ones- is whether professional expertise has proven effective for problem-solving or whether they were merely been used for justifying vested interests that seemed to have persisted within the main corridors of power.

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