The I in CIVETS (part 2)

Continuing a series on Indonesia, the I in CIVETS, a group of countries tagged by a financial analyst as emerging economic powers. I’m wondering what kind of philanthropy there is in such countries, as a way of getting at the first of my two questions, “what is the role of philanthropy in a democratic society?”

Basic facts for context (continued): population, size of the economy, principal industries, political system, ethnic and religious makeup. Where would the country fall on the liberal market economy-coordinated market economy spectrum?

Back again with the CIA World Factbook, an incredibly handy online reference source.

Indonesia’s economy is big (16th in the world in GDP at $969 billion), but not very well distributed (155th in the world in GDP per capita at $4,000, 66th in the world in Gini index of distribution of family income at 39.4).

The economy is 47.6% industry, 37.1% services, and 15.3% agriculture, though 42.1% of the labor force is in agriculture – which means a lot of people work in a part of the economy that proportionally doesn’t generate much GDP. This may have an effect on how well their interests are represented in the political system.

The unemployment rate in 2009 was 7.7%, 78th in the world at that time (the US was 110th).

The main industries include oil and natural gas, textiles and apparel, mining, rubber, and tourism. Indonesia has one of the three richest rainforest areas in the world, along with the Amazon and Central Africa. As a result, there’s a lot of struggle around sustainable forestry. Palm oil is one of the main products that can be generated from the Indonesian rainforest, and the government, environmental groups, and farmers are involved in complicated interactions around how to harvest it sustainably, balancing livelihood and conservation. (Check out The Burning Season for an illuminating look.)

Indonesia’s biggest trade partners for exports are Japan (17%), Singapore (11%), and the US (11%). Its biggest partners for imports are Singapore (25%), China (13%), and Japan (9%). Very imbedded in the East Asian economy, surprisingly not so dependent on China, and not all that engaged with the U.S. or other parts of the West. That suggests it’s probably focused on regional issues. It’ll be interesting to see when I get to the V in CIVETS, Vietnam, how those two interact, if at all.


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