Putri Azzahra (2021)

It can’t be denied that we’re get used to live in an existing system that inherently corrupt. Capitalism and global monetary system that’s been constructed to be the best economic solution with its fundamental perspective saying that self-interest in competition leads to social prosperity, as the act of competition creates incentive which motivates people to persevere. However, What isn’t involved in the discussion relating to this topic is that how a competition-based economy invariably leads to strategic corruption, power and wealth consolidation, social stratification, technological paralysis, labor abuse and ultimately a covert form of governmental dictatorship.

We’re get used to see our local indigenous people are being oppressed due to the factory creation by the private companies conspiring with the government done deep there in the Borneo Island’s forest. From palm plantation to coal mining, these projects are manifested through cutting and burning the forest, damaging not only the environment but also the well-being of social life in that area. It’s not that those people do not aware of the environmental and social impact from that activity. It’s the pursuit of profit that they think is worth the cost. For whenever there’s a project, instead of questioning what it will cost, they ask how much it will make profit.

So, this writing will emphasize on the bigger picture on why things work and done in that way to find out who’s exactly to blame? Because as we can see right now, the main target to be blamed by our society to create this whole environmental and social cost is no other than the government. But I find things to be more complex than what has shown in the surface due to the comprehensiveness of the existing system as the foundation above all this systemic oppression done by the government to the local indigenous people for seeking revenue and profits.

Capitalism was started in Europe at the 16th to the19th centuries with the development of European commercial banking that universalized a money-based social relations. But before we start pointing out our finger into the visible system, let,s take a look how money created. The ability to create money is held by the central banks. And all the money are created based on demand. Take an example of the US central bank, the Federal Reserve. Once the state needs money, they’re going to ask for a loan from the Federal Reserve and what happens next is that the Federal Reserve would be creating those money (yes, out of the blue) and give it to the state as a loan, and then the state will give a treasury bond, or what we often call ‘obligation’, that has the same value as the money that is being traded as the tangible prove that the state is having a debt towards the Federal Reserve and that those money should be payback. And yet, the Federal Reserve’s regulation based on the their publication for an entitled document called “Modern Money Mechanism” to clarify this institutionalized practice saying that they’re going to hold a 10% for every amount of money that is being borrowed as a required reserve, and give a 90% of excessive reserve in cash to the borrower. So, let’s say the state needs $10B. The Federal Reserve is going to create $10B fresh money, then they’re going to add $10B deposit into the state’s account, while the 10% of it, which is $1B cash is going to be held in the bank, and the rest of 90% of it, which is $9B would be given to the state as a debt. That being said, the transaction was legit and the state needs to payback as much as $9B. From that moment, the $1B is legally owned by the Federal Reserve and they could possibly provide more loan with the same regulation to hold the 10% amount of money that’s being loan to create more and more loan, and remember that the borrower needs to payback the rest 90% of it, but not to mention with the interest that’s given by the bank. So, this mechanism shows to you that money is created by nothing but debt, and yet what’s give them value is the existing money which has been being circulated and used over the time. This come into a conclusion that our monetary system is inherently put us into a perpetual debt for the money comes from a debt in which the central banks held power over it.

This system is finally applied into the global monetary system within the on-going held ideology of capitalism incentivized by the US and creating the term of “Economic Hit Man”, referring to a book called “Confession of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins. As Perkins confessed in his book by being the ex-member of the economic hit man, he says that economic hit man was the US attempt to basically colonize or seeking for benefits from the country that has a lot of resource by two ways, either to give a form of loan towards those countries or corrupting the leader of that country. By giving loan it means that the US would likely to inject financial aid into the targeted country that will be used for building infrastructures or industry in order to take out the resources there and then they demand the country to payback the debt by selling the resources within a cheaper price. And through this system, the US is going to put those countries into a perpetual debt and they’re going to take as much profits as they can make by that conditionality. The other way is the attempt to corrupt the leader in the targeted country so that the leader won’t use any benefit from the resources to the interest of the well-being of the people but to cooperate within the US government to share the benefits amongst them. And if both ways do not work, the economic hit man would likely to send military troops into that country, collapsing the entire nation then rebuild it with a given conditionality that of course will benefit them. So, basically, these whole situations are the reason why no countries have no debts because they are put into the condition of a perpetual debt through loans and foreign investments towards private corporations created in that country.

but it doesn’t end here, those reasons still not enough to explain why our government is continuously supporting palm oil and coal mining private corporations by burning and deforesting our land and oppressing the indigenous people. As Perkins said in his book, the economic hit man project evolve into a whole new level at a global scale. And from now on, we call it ‘corporatocracy’ as the US government try to implement this system into a realm of international relations by creating specific international organizations to handle international economic affairs, such as World Trade Organizations and International Monetary Fund. We’ve been informed on how those two organizations goals and mechanisms by its main purpose to provide financial aid as a loan to countries by certain conditionality in order for them to be assured to payback the debt they owe. And it’s been proven by lots of research and studies that instead of helping countries to be developed, those two organizations impoverish them even more. And that’s why we call it ‘corporatocracy’ because this kind of system always tend to seek for profit and benefit regardless of what it cost, to the extent for a possibility of a country to be collapsed for the environment and social cost caused by a country’s domestic regulation to be conditioned accordingly to the existing organized system given by the corporatocracy.

Through the process of globalization that leads all nations across the globe to be “united” by the creation of international system throughout the international institutions, now every country is involved in the game controlled by the hegemon. That being said, no countries are fully independent for their sovereignty is not directly detached from this corrupt international system.

Link backing through what’s happening currently in our country where the government is (direct/indirectly) being corrupt, I think this must’ve also correlated to the existing corrupt international system. We are currently put into a situation of perpetual external debt while we also have to establish our domestic affair. Yes, the whole monetary system concurrently with its capitalistic value creates a dilemma within the government to decide both maintaining our country throughout our position in the international sphere and to establish the prosperity of the citizen, but there will always be an opportunity cost towards everything that’s decided. So, in conclusion, the systemic oppression coming from our government conspiring with the private corporations towards the indigenous local people are the result of this whole existing corrupt international system that makes our government inherently seek for profit to either pay our external debt or serving the international system’s interest itself for that way our country could still be established. Then the option that our government have is whether our country being oppressed by the ‘global authority’/‘corporatocracy’ or violating some people’s rights.

By the end of this writing, I’m not intending to justify what has the government done to oppress our local indigenous people, but I want you to know that there’s a more complex concept above all of those attempt. Throughout this issue, we must’ve realize that it’s going to be impossible to stop the government for they are the authority of this country, and yet it’s also kind of impossible to fight against the organized system that’s been executed for a way long time ago. So, as a civilized human being that aware of the tangible violation against human rights here, we need to keep fighting to uphold the right thing as the tool to control the authority as best as we could. And in the future, I hope that we can find a better and a more strategic solution against this problem.

seluruh pandangan dari tulisan ini merupakan opini pribadi penulis dan tidak merepresentasikan PCD Studies Center.

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