Fallacy Overcome Poverty

By: Bagong Suyanto

Designing and developing programs to reduce poverty and unemployment are effective in Indonesia is not easy. According to Professor David T Ellwood, dean at Harvard's Kennedy School, in the Presidential Lecture at the State Palace, 15 September 2010, required four conditions: a strong economy, a long-term comparative advantage, a strong institutional and governance and effective, and programs for the poor (Kompas, 09/16/2010).

Overcoming the problem of poverty by relying on charity programs and emergency (emergency programs) is only temporary impact and will never be sufficient. Various poverty reduction programs should be designed carefully and substantially touching the root of the problems faced by the poor.

Where is the mistake so that poverty reduction programs are not as expected? Experience teaches that the implementation of various poverty reduction programs are often not effective because of the mistake in the way of development planners to understand poverty.

While poverty reduction programs are designed with the understanding that poverty is a phenomenon only single-dimension of income or capital deficiency problem-then try it there, starting a variety of failures that continue to recur.

Many factors

Considerable evidence shows that poverty reduction program is meant to stimulate the development of productive activities due to a poor family could bias the structural factors, powerlessness, vulnerability of the poor, and the consequences are not supported by the readiness of the poor social base evenly. How stalls or small shops in the village can survive when a number of mini start reaching there? How could the farmers could enjoy a proportionate profit margin when in fact they are always subordinated by the middleman or a broker?

As said Vic George and Paul Wilding (1992), growth-oriented policies and only priority to equal opportunity to compete often led to results that are not exactly egalitarian, because the policies that too much emphasis on equality of opportunity only elements tend to be meritocratic. The emphasis is more directed at competing than the equation in the equation in the results achieved. So, such a direct descendant of individualism dimanusiawikan bandaged and through the efforts of pro-poor a cursory look, but in fact is the result of a constellation of values that reflect a compromise between the values of laissez-faire and equality.

In Indonesia, the main deficiencies that need attention from the various poverty reduction programs is the orientation of development planners and political elites who are too focused on increasing the quantity of output or results in linear so that the production system needs a place a more mainstream than people's needs.

All this evidence shows, the packages of poverty reduction programs in Indonesia is more oriented on increasing production rather than distribution of welfare. Aid package of capital and technological assistance provided by government, although intended to boost the real incomes of the poor-more aims to increase production and exports in the interest of foreign peraihan.

More tragically, it often happens that the government act on behalf of development did not provide tangible benefits for poverty reduction efforts, but rather undermine the impact of local self-help skills. Penetration of technology and assistance to a number of areas of business capital and poor communities, right on the one hand have managed to boost production figures and delivering Indonesia to the stage of self sufficiency in various production sectors. However, there is also undeniable that the gap at the same time it increasingly widened and the potential for many people who fell crushed modernization.


Professor David T Ellwood has warned that poverty reduction programs implemented in Indonesia should not be trapped in the programs which are charity and populist, but more emphasis should be more programs designed for the long term.

Only the problem now, since the regional autonomy policy applied, the elected political elite is often felt only had a lead over five years. So, rather than develop long-term poverty reduction program which will, claimed success successor leader, who happened then many leaders prefer to choose and implement programs that are populist and instant, though the results are very temporary. In their eyes, a populist program is more important than the nature of investment programs and accumulated in a sustainable manner.

Efforts to tackle poverty effectively, improving the bargaining position of poor people against all forms of exploitation and superordinasi, besides requiring a stable economic conditions, other prerequisites are required no doubt social opportunities (social opportunities) that truly pro-poor. In addition, the necessary awareness among development planners and political elites to understand the problem of poverty without having to be contaminated by practical political interests.

Throughout the perspective of political elites and development planners are still not completely sterile from political interests, as long as it also attempts to tackle poverty will remain a utopia.

Bagong Suyanto Teaching on Poverty and Social Inequality Department of Sociology, University of Airlangga FISIP


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