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Essay Samples > Book Review > "Indonesia"
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"Indonesia"

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To begin with, Taylor (2004) in his book, Indonesia: the peoples and histories, refers to Indonesia as the largest Muslim nation in the world. In present days, Indonesia is located in the Southeast Asia and Oceania and is officially referred to as the Republic of Indonesia. On the other hand, Vickers (p. 1) refers to Indonesia as the fourth largest country in the world. According to Vickers, it is the fourth largest country in the world with a total population of 220 million people. It is worth noting that it is among the most populous nations in the world and it shares a border with several countries among them Malaysia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea (Yudhoyomo). The nation is also known for the several islands numbering about 13,000 resulting to the popular name of archipelago. The following paper will look into the state of Indonesia’s economic productivity, trade, demographic data, health and environment issues, government and security, low intensity warfare, place in history and the different neoliberal development impacts. Indonesia is also the home of several religious groups and people with the archipelago, making it a very significant region in terms of trade with foreigners.

Economic Productivity

The private sector, as well as the government, is key the player in the economic progress of Indonesia. As states earlier it has a mixed economy and is regarded as the largest economy in the Southeast Asia. Statistic released in 2010 illustrate that its GDP was at US $700 billion. There have been indications by researchers that the country will perform better in the next ten years as a result of the strong economic links being put in place by the government. This also includes its vital role in agricultural products and the services offered to the citizens and the whole population. It is also among the top countries that are involved in exportation of products globally. However, periods of the political instability in the early 1960’s played a great part on limiting the positive growth of the country’s economy (U.S Department of State). This was as a result of the government that was described as being young and inexperienced.

About fifty percent of workers in Indonesia are located in the agriculture sector and this contributes to about twenty percent of the GDP, according to the statistics released in 2001. The country is divided into three major types of farming and this involves small holder farming which basically focuses on growing rice, small holder cash cropping and several foreign as well as private owned estates that major on the production of crops for the export. Small farmers produce rice, vegetables and fruit in the large quantity and more that twenty percent of this is usually directed for export (Vickers, 2005). The most important estate grown crops include tobacco, rubber, sugar, palm oil, hard fibre, tea, cocoa and coffee.

The expansion of arable acreage is focussing on sustaining the growing population in the country. This has been envisioned through the improved farm technology and extension of the irrigation scheme. Rice is considered as the staple food in Indonesia and its production have been increasing by the day. Consequently, the government has indicated that the production is likely to meet the high consumption rate (EmporikiBank). The government has also been involved in the rice economy and in the stability of prices in the urban consumers with an aim of expanding the domestic output. On the other hand, corn was also seen as the major producer of calories in some major provinces.

There are several people from Indonesia who have contributed to the invention industry and they include B.J Habibie, Khoirul Anwar and Nelson Tansu among others. For instance, Habibie was involved in the great contribution in the aviation industry contributing to about 46 patents, while Anwar was involved in the patent of OFDM-based 4G technology with Nelson Tansu contributing to the methods of emitting laser. Some other inventions that have been made include nuclear waste materials that were done by Yudi Utomo Imarjoko.

Tourism is considered as a major boost in the Indonesian economy and is a great earner of the foreign exchange to the country. Most tourists who visit the country come from the neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia with the government being involved in branding. Some of the major attractions include the well preserved natural ecosystem with rainforests, the dive sites, surf brakes, national parks, and volcanoes not to mention the significant contribution of cultural tourism (Vickers, 2005). More than three hundred ethnic groups in Indonesia are the perfect attraction for tourists in the country.

Trade in Indonesia

The international economy greatly affected the positive growth of Indonesian economy. There have been several programs that have been established by the government towards ensuring that trade has been uplifted in the country. It is also important to state that the agricultural sector in the country comprises of about twenty percent of the GDP. In terms of international trade, Indonesia is a member of the WTO and ASEAN, an indication that the nation has no restrictions to the foreign trade. There is a positive indication of the trade balance in the country. The three major export partners who play a vital role in trade balance are Japan, China and South East Asia. The commodities which comprise the export goods include mineral fuels and oils, nuclear reactors as well as boilers and rubber. Others include iron and steel, electric & electronic equipment and organic chemicals.

On the other hand, there are goods that are imported into the country and this includes machinery and other equipments, chemicals, fuels and foodstuffs. Cotton apparel and the natural rubber are exported to the United States in large quantities, while the statistics indicate that corn, generators and cooper are the leading and fast growing imports of Indonesia from the United States. In 2006 for instance, Indonesia exported more than $13.4 billion worth of merchandise to the United States while imports from the United States rose to $3.1 billion in 2006. Indonesian imports from the United States include soybeans, raw cotton, corn, other chemicals, plastic materials, pulpwood, dairy products, manmade cloths, organic chemicals and drilling and oilfield equipments (U.S Department of State). The fastest growing Indonesian imports from the United States include corn, generators and accessories, copper, trucks, buses and special purpose vehicles as well as glass plates and sheets. The largest proportion of exports includes cotton apparel and household furnishings, natural rubber and gums, fish and shellfish, car parts and accessories among others.

Demographic Data

According to the census that was released in 2010, the population was estimated to be at 237 million with the population growth being estimated to grow tremendously in the coming years. The world most populous island is located in Indonesia and is known as Java, where half of the population is known to be residing in. An estimated increase of up to 50 million people is expected by 2050. There are several different languages and dialects in Indonesia of whom most are descendants from the Austronesia speaking peoples. Java is also considered as the most populated area in the world (U.S library, 2011). There are six major religions that are recognized by the state.

These religions include Protestants, Catholics, Hindu, Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism. The freedom to religion has been guaranteed by the constitution. The distinctive native ethnicities comprise of about 300 in number with about 742 different languages and dialects. The Javanese are considered to be the largest ethnic group in Indonesia. The Javanese comprise of about 42 percent of the total population. In terms of ethnic setting, the Javanese constitute about 40 percent of the total population, the Sundanese make up of about 15 percent of the total population while the Madurese constitute about 3.3 percent. Indonesian is the official language of the nation with Muslims forming the major proportion of religious views in the country. There are also local languages with the most prevalent being the Javanese (Vickers, 2005). The agricultural sector leads as the most populous workforce with about 42 percent being in that sector followed by the industry sector with twelve percent and the service sector comprising of 44 percent.

The Sunni form the large part of Muslims in Indonesia, with the other religions comprising of a small number. There are about thirty three major provinces in Indonesia with West Java being the most populated among them with an estimated population of about 43,021,826 followed by East Java with a population of about 37,476,011 and Central Java with 32,380,687. Jakarta is the largest city with a population of 9,588,198 according to the statistics released in 2010 census. In terms of the literacy level, those who are aged fifteen years and above can read and write. Unlike several countries where education is free, the case is not in Indonesia and children have the obligation of having to go through grade 9. 

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