Thursday, September 4, 2008

How to Make Economists Adhere on the Candidates

LIFE IS A DEED. Said Soetrisno Bachir, without knowing sort of campaign advertisements like that will rouse chuckle among economists. Perhaps that kind of campaign is good for enhancing popularity and building firm existence for the presidential election, but to say the advertisement is a good campaign advertisement is a different story. To tell the truth, we remember him not because of the quality of the commercial, but the quantity of its appearance in media. His popularity-purposed ads show no solution of Indonesia’s economy and social problems and his ability to help Indonesia overcome through it; which makes him as the candidate that economists do not want to choose. Today, the race for Indonesia’s presidential campaign may have not even started, yet we are inundated by numerous junk campaign advertisements from prospective candidates for the upcoming election.

Indonesians are living in the age of foolishness, where we are bamboozled in many things because of the people’s lack of education. In an election, –whether it is an election to decide a president, a state’s governor, or a party to decide Indonesian legislative assembly- we are in the habit of casting our vote and perforating our ballot based on the recognition. Someone wins the heart of the people by building such a sociable image and people give less precedence to the candidate’s educational background, intelligence, and his or her capability to solve major issues like economic and social problems.

That is the blemish in our democracy system; it is a very open system, so open that we give the fate of the country in the hand of more than 200 million people on the electoral roll who do not understand enough about how to solve Indonesia’s predicaments, and which candidate is capable for the matter. Gaining popularity by making sweet yet unrealistic words and abundant advertisements, therefore, is the best strategy for the candidates to win the election.

To win the heart of the economists is a different thing. Economists understand well about the advantage and disadvantage of government’s policy, and real trade-offs behind it. For the reason that economists can separate which things are rational and attainable and which things are not, they can not be flattered by sweet promises during the campaign. To fix the economy, economists have an indisputable view; they know who is best for the job.

Yet economists can be categorized as an expelled group and tend to be ignored in the election. Here in Indonesia, a large amount of people have no comprehension on the subject on hand and do not give a damn about the candidates’ view of economic issues. Indonesia is a country where only less than 5 percent of the population go to universities and underprivileged education still become a main apprehension, which makes economists, as well as other well-educated people who have the understanding on economic matters, expect to be largely overlooked.

Compared to Indonesia, in United States its citizens view economic issues on the presidential election as imperative; even Barack Obama has to recruit people like Paul Volcker (former Fed’s chairman), Joseph Stieglitz (author and Nobel Prize winner in economy), Indra Nooyi (CEO of Pepsi. Co), Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), and Warren Buffet to be his economic advisors. Everyday, the candidates’ view of economic issues throughout the campaign becomes main topic to be reviewed in major media like Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. The debates between the candidates regarding their possible economic policies if they were elected held almost every month, televised, and attract attention nationwide.

The world’s economy is currently standing on the verge of global downturn, where we are daunted by economic perils that give challenge for every presidential candidate, whatever his or her country is. Thus, to put economists neatly behind a presidential runner, an understanding in economy is necessary, so that the candidate will have the capability to tackle current economic problems that the world is facing recently. In Indonesia, it is an even bigger challenge for the candidates to win the vote of the economists since the candidates have to be accustomed in dilapidation in our bureaucracy and corrupted government, as well as underlying economic and social problems that need to be surmounted.

Economists’ vote merely covers a small fraction of the population and not worth mentioning, but in fact, it may possibly be a decisive one; a vote that we need to up against the challenge of the world’s imminent recession and lead Indonesia to an improved future. And what kind of president economists like to have is not the one with abundant advertisements; it is the one with the perspicacity to comprehend the problems and the bravery to deliver the bold moves to liberate Indonesia’s economy from its times of turbulence.

This article was published in The Jakarta Post on Tuesday, October 7 2008


WeHa said...

I don't think it's the lack of economic knowledge that's dangerous. It's corruption that presents mroe problem. Well, in fact, both of them are related. Corruption leads to economic downfall. Low economic results in people wanting to corrupt to save themselves... How about... Satria for president!!! ^^

ChikitaRosemarie said...

not only economics sat.. sociologists out there are too chuckling due to this matter..

again and again cultural act comes first leaving the structural issues behind..

why dont they just save all those advertisements money and use it for some better goods? such as building schools, repairing those devastated roads, or doing environmental researches, etc etc etc???

lots to do out there, and if they do that the press will surely expose them and BAMM, its a publicity too dont u think?

i believe its not only about economc knowledge,, but there's a bigger and wider issue here..

both cultural and structural awareness are lacking.. not only in economical perspectives, but also in the whole sociological perspectives..

and btw, i'm quite relieved that my candidate doesnt do that though,, haha..

and 'Satria for president'?? thats actually not a bad idea at all.. hahaha.. ;)