chapter  4
26 Pages

The middle class and the bourgeoisie in Indonesia

In the decades following Independence, the 1950s and 1960s, Indonesia's middle class and its bourgeoisie were both minute and without political and economic influence of any real substance. Apart from a small coterie of intellectuals and professionals, the middle class was confined within the sprawling, chaotic and poorly paid state bureaucracy. The bourgeoisie was similarly weak and fragmented. After the departure of the big Dutch trading houses and banks in the late 1950s, there remained only small and mediumscale traders and producers. Even the dominant Chinese element produced few figures or enterprises of national significance. Those who did achieve national prominence in the Soekarno period were dependent on access to politically derived rents and proved unable to survive the transition to the new-order government of President Soeharto in the mid 1960s. It was the state that became the leading force in investment and corporate ownership.!