Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Compromise and Defense of State power

Globalization have created a new situation in world politics, one of them in the sphere of state sovereignty. State sovereignty, based on Westphalian nation-state formation, featured an state autonomy in the absence of higher authority above the states; alongside with territorial integrity, claiming exclusive authority within their own geographic boundaries.[1] Nevertheless, Due to accelerated interconnectedness driven by technological development and market economy, government seem to have lost the authority over national societies and economics they used to have to the power of impersonal forces of world markets.[2] In the other hand, others see that state power is not declining instead increasing in respond to globalization. Others see the interplay of market and state reconfigured the state power.

By this paper the author would describe about how state power compromised and defended by Indonesia. This was picturized based on two current phenomena; first the enactment of the bill on Special economic zones and second the the enactment of the bill on film. Both passed by the Indonesian legislative in the last few weeks.

The Film Bill

On 8 September 2009, Indonesian legislative passed a bill on film that spurs reactions among filming industries.[3] Two important issues arise; first the bill entails a stronger and broader, multiinterpretation censorship of content and the procedure of the censorship. Article 6 stated that movies are not allowed to inspired the public to promote violence, gambling, drug abuse, entails pornography, provoking horizontal and vertical conflicts, blasphemy towards religions, and degradating human dignity. This article indicates stronger government interference towards the sphere of freedom of expressions.

To complicate matters, article 13 of the bill, stated that imported film distribution are not allowed to over 50%. Complenter to it, article 32, stated that upon movie screening must allocated 50% of the time for Indonesian movies, unless they are not available. Offence against above article are considered as a criminal offence and threatened with fines and deprivation of liberty. Thus, the author see this article as a protection towards local film industry, furthermore a defence of the reproduction of ideas.

The Special Economic Zone bill

On 15 september 2009, Indonesian legislative passed a bill on Special Economic Zone, as a mandate from the previously enacted investment bill of 2007.[4] The essence of the special economic zone is to attract investment by giving extra facility in a given area that perceive to have a high economic potential due to territorial advantage, vast natural resources and competitive (low) wage level. Extra facility refers to tax exemption and elimination of import duties. Tax exempted will be the income tax and property tax, but not the value added tax if they want to distribute the products in local markets. Import duties cut also only given for raw materials and materials to support production. This policy expected to attract more investors.

The extra facilities given also will influence government capacity, whereas the income of the government will decrease hand in hand with the decrease of their funding of public goods. Thus the implementation of this bill to a certain level, reflects the concedes of the state over the impersonal forces of markets.

Seeing those two bill passed in a close range of time we could find a contrasting logic. in one hand, the desire to lift state’s responsibility over public goods by cutting needed tax and transfer those arrangement in the hand of the market. In the other side, a protectionist action over foreign products, films and a stronger subordination of freedom of expressions. The neoliberal market economy path was not followed with the effort to promote liberal virtues. Neoliberal and protectionist in the same time, in different issues.

[1] Krasner, Stephen, “Compromising Westphalia”, p.124-125, in David Held & Anthony Mcgrew (eds.), 2000, The Global Transformations reader; an introduction to the globalization debate. Cambridge, Polity press.

[2] Strange, Susan, “The Declining Authority of States”, p.124-125, in David Held & Anthony Mcgrew (eds.), 2000, The Global Transformations reader; an introduction to the globalization debate. Cambridge, Polity press.

[3] Komunitas Film protes Undang undang baru,

[4] Undang-undang kawasan ekonomi khusus disahkan

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