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Indonesia: looking ahead
Most people have grossly over-discounted Indonesia. The currency, for example, has fallen 50% further than say the Thai Baht. Economic fundamentals alone can not account for this. One of the important contributing factors is political uncertainty. Simply put, market players have no idea what a post-Soeharto Indonesia would look like. Free market (especially financial) reforms only began 10-12 years ago (although basic market re-orientation commenced 30 years ago). During this 10-12 year period, Pres. Soeharto was unchallenged. Analysts have not had to look, with any seriousness, at countervailing or alternative forces in Indonesian society. Consequently they actually do not know what the bounds of the plausible contain. This means that they have to consider the most radical options, which are pretty uninspiring, as indeed they are in any society at it extremes. A triangle of probability The future of Indonesian society is not, to me, a mysterious black hole. I gain comfort by being able to put edges around the improbable.
{The footnotes in this document were added on 31 December 2006, as I reviewed the original document – all with the comforting distance of almost 9 years of hind-sight! The comments are intended to provide both a little historic context that may now have been forgotten with time and also to provide some auto-criticism of where I believe my analysis was flawed or perhaps biased. From the original document I have also corrected typing mistakes and grammatical errors without changing the integrity and substance of what was initially written. The footnotes therefore do not represent part of the original document.}

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