Control Capitalism (?)

Notes for Bersihar Lubis

BERSIHAR LUBIS, Indonesian top journalist, wrote an article with entitle,” Terima Kasih, Sjahrir” (Harian Medan Bisnis, 6/3/2009). His wrote its article for the 100th of Sjahrir inauguration days. During Sjahrir’s life, his had known as a thinker cum politician cum strength’s fighter. Together with another Trio’s Minang such as Tan Malaka and Moh. Hatta, Sjahrir’s popular as a legend in the beginning of Indonesian independence histories.

Lubis’ article appeared when a competitions among political parties going to the top. On economic as example, competitions were creating two groups: pro market economic versus pro peoples economic. On Lubis article, it had recognize as : first, anti neo-liberalism, which promoted by Prabowo Subianto and Rizal Ramli, second, the old ways groups (neo-liberalism), which is protected by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The alternative from those groups, Lubis proposing a middle way. According to Lubis, rejected capitalism is impossible.”…Because Indonesian can not standing alone on world’s economic,” Lubis said.

It is in line with an idea that ever proposed by Mohammad Sadli in Pancasila’s Economic at New Order regime. Lubis proposing also: mixed economic.” Thats ideas appear at the first national congress of PSI at 1952. PSI which leading by Sjahrir accepting foreign capital or liberal capitalism, but its must took under control by government and parliament. Thank you, Bung Sjahrir,” Lubis’ added in the end of his article.

At my perspective, at least it’s made propose two questions: first, whether capitalism would be prepared to be controlled by government and parliament? Second, what they can do that?

Market and Paradox’s Capitalism

Market is an important part of capitalism. It is causing capitalism economic is calling also as market economic. Coen Husain Pontoh, an activist cum authors is successful explained about real’s face of market capitalism. At his article, Pasar (2004), Coen add Karl Marx’s point of view to split the market into two groups: first, an exchange that used model C-M-C (Commodity-Money-Commodity), and second, an exchange that used model M-C-M (Money-Commodity-Money).

Marx notes the exchange at the first step as the Commodity Circuit (CC). How ever it’s not enough explaining the real exchange on capitalism society. Marx’s re-write his formula become M-C-M. According to new formula the capitalist should be starting with money (M) to buy a commodity and sells it for money (M). Marx’s mentioned the first step (M-C) as advanced capital, and the second step (C-M) as relation capital.

But, Marx note also, that processing (M-C-M) will be lost of meaning if capitalist just brought money as amount as beginning. As example: if he starts with IDR. 1000,- (M), than buying or production a shoes with cost IDR. 900, – (C) and selling on basic prices IDR. 1000, – (M). For Marx, this model doesn’t the exchange’s model at capitalism society.

That is way Marx re-write again his formula become M-C-M’, where an M’ (M Plus) is a representative of a mount that bigger than M, or M’>M. Amount’s IDR.1000, – (M) using to buy or production a shoes with cost IDR.900, – (C). That’s shoes selling with basic’s price IDR.1.100, – (M’). From this process, a capitalist took additional money on amount IDR.100,-. Marx was underlined M’ as surplus value.

M-C-M’s calling by Marx as circuit money (CM), It is made capitalism’ productions are not for consumptions but for selling which proposing for money’s value accumulations. It is also happening with a consumer, they buying things are not to full fill the needs. M-C-M’ process should be run on situation which is never ending; it is conditions should cause what that called as surplus product.

This M-C-M’ logic which adopted by PERC (Political and Economic Risk Consultancy), when decided an eleventh’s condition for a countries that should put on as investor friendly group: (1) rent cost; (2) tax payment; (3) taxing quality system; (4) monopoly/cartel is exist or not; (5) a competitions between government and private sector; (6) bureaucracy; (7) facilitations to build a corporations; (8) barrier for import; (9) break down of intellectual property’s right (10) a law’s protections for intellectual’s right; (11) regional competitions power.

According to I. Wibowo on Globalisasi, Kapitalisme Global, dan Matinya Demokrasi (Kompas, 2002), that’s an eleventh conditions is clearly striving on how the state is reducing it’s interventions on economic. Point 2, 3 and 8 is measuring how a capitalist is free move form: low tax, low import tariff. Point 6 and 7 is connecting to state: if bureaucracy‘s process is complicated if will be indicating that a state intervention is highly. Processing for licenses is a stronger point that lighting as a “hands” state, which is the most fearing for investor. Point’s 9 and 10 that only expecting the state: activity’s contributions and aggressively actions to against a piracy.

If we have strived with Wibowo thesis, that’s clearly that capitalism will not willing put on under state or parliament control. As example, when Germany Finance Minister, Oskar Lafontaine, at 1999 is proposing to increase tax’s payment for those corporations in Germany. Big corporations such as Deutshce Bank, Dresdner Bank, Asuransi Allianz, BMW etc automatically reject it. Those of them were “treating”, will be moving their investment if that’s increasing should be take place. German government “down” and Lafontaine were “taking out” for his position.

For the state, tax is as main incomes. Bigger number tax payment, it makes a number of development programs which implemented will be increasing. But in other side, tax is big enemy for capitalism. If tax increasing, it is mean a formula M-C-M would not take place. This contradiction creates “resistance” which known as a paradox between democracy and capitalism.

This paradox explained clearly by Priyono on Demokrasi & Kapitalisme (Basis, 2002). According to Priyono, on democracy, state officers, which is failed to manage his task, will be persecuted and punished on general elections. But, it doesn’t happen for capitalist. They are cannot execute if not accruing his money. Invest or not, it is private right which shoulnot “hands” by public interest on the state law’s perspective.

The politican it seems are having strong understanding on this paradox. It is way politicians more prefer for cooperating with capitalism than putting capitalism on controlling. Politicians is transforming begun a “traders” or “politicians”. They are using positions as ruling class to take benefits and advantages. This exercised that’s taught by Peter Evans, US sociology, on his great theory that called: triple alliance theory.

Evan’s theory are highlight of mutual corporate among foreign capital (capitalist) and government in state edge and local bourgeois to exploit a source on state edge. According to Evan, states’ need a capital; technology and access to the world for turn on developments. But, for insuring a government shouldn’t slope as foreign capital’s servant, that’s way a local bourgeois need to grow up.

On triple alliance, those parties are took benefit. Foreign capitals took benefit on re-productions capital on repatriation to “investment” country. Otherwise a government and local bourgeois took a maximal benefit to protections his power and authority. This phenomena’s in line with a conclusion that made by Richard Robison on his famous book: Indonesia: The Rise of Capital (1986).

At this part, I have conclusions: the idea to controlling capitalism on mixed economic like proposed by Lubis, it should be happen with three conditions: first, the state and parliament have power to force capitalism respecting a state’ regulations. Second, the state officers in all level should be free form economic interest, and third; the citizens should have a right for direct access on authorities’ control. If all of this is not complete, Lubis an idea will gone like catch a wind. Impossible (*)


Bersihar Lubis, Terima Kasih, Sjahrir, Kolom, Harian Medan Bisnis, Jumat, 6 Maret 2009.

B.Herry Priyono, Demokasi & Kapitalisme, BASIS, Edisi Maret-April 2000.

Coen Husain Pontoh, Pasar, Maju Bersama, Jurnal Perhimpunan Demokratik Sosialis, Edisi No.3/Th.II/Januari 2004, Jakarta, 2004.

Karl Marx, Capital : A Critique for Political Economi, Volume I, English Editions, Progress Publisher, Moscow, 1887.

Ignatius Wibowo, Globalisasi, Kapitalisme Global, dan Matinya Demokrasi, Opini, Kompas, Jumat, 3 Mei 2002.


2 thoughts on “Control Capitalism (?)

  1. Hi..long time no see buddy.., “negara pinggiran” sering ga percaya diri ya bung, negara maju juga butuh kita kok bung, kalo kita tabah, gigih, dan ga kalah gertak dalam bargainning yg alot, memang kita perlu pemimpin-pemimpin yg cerdik & punya saraf baja sih… klo ga jual murah komoditas alam & SDM kita, pada akhirnya kita akan memperoleh “penawaran yg adil” bung…, lantas dekat ga ya kondisi sosial Indonesia dengan Bolivia…? Apa yg dilakukan Evo Morales tampaknya solusi yg OK juga buat mereka.

    • Hi Bung “Che” Stefanus, apa kabarkah ? its a long time i didn’t got your news.

      Aku setuju dengan pendapat mu bung. Harus ada keberanian dari negara macam Indonesia kepada modal asing untuk mengatakan,” whose a Boss, me of course!! it is way you has following my rules.”


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