The Difference Between Indonesian Socialism, Democratic Socialism and Marxism
Based on its many government-funded social programs, Indonesia would qualify to be called a Socialistic Nation or Welfare State. The question is what kind or type of Socialism is Indonesia?
Would it be the Marxist-Leninism type such as in North Korea, East European Countries and Cuba? It would certainly not be the case. The Marxist-Leninism started from a Socialistic idea or Socialism where the means of production is owned and controlled by the government. To realize its socialistic distributive deals by a central economic planning, it needs a strong government control which eventually could develop to totalitarianism such as what we see happening with Communism in North Korea. Indonesia, on the other hand, has a decentralized governance system, a free and strong private sector and affinity to the first principle of Pancasila which relates to God. This latter fact is in stark contrast with the ideology of Karl Max who is known with his belief that “Religion is The Opiate of Masses”.
Would it be the Scandinavian Democratic Socialism such as in Norway, Denmark and Sweden? This would also not be a perfect match since Indonesian tax rates are not as high and “punishable” as in those countries; which, allows growth for the economy and keep the preservation of businesses and corporations. For example, the Indonesian top marginal income tax rate for individual is 39% compared to Denmark that has 60%. Indonesian Corporate Tax rate is 25%, which is quite low especially when you compare that to the US Corporate Tax rate of 39.1% given the fact that US is considered a Capitalistic country. The Scandinavians economic growth rate are below 3% (e.g., Denmark 1.47% and Norway averaged 2.6% from 1979 to 2016), whereas Indonesia has reached 5.18% on the first quarter of 2016 despite a global economy slow down in 2015.
Unlike the Scandinavian and other socialistic countries, the Indonesian socialistic ideas are not based on mere humanity but more on a theological basis which is called Pancasila. Pancasila is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian Republic where all of its five principles are interrelated and inseparable as one. Therefore, the principle of Social Justice is not only related to, but is also a part of the other principles namely, Democracy, Humanity, Unity and the Belief in God. Apparently, the spirit of this philosophical foundation has kept this country from slipping toward totalitarianism such as the ones we see in those Communist countries.
Based on Pancasila, Socialism would be inherent in the foundation of Indonesian politics and governance. This Pancasila is a unique aspect of the Indonesian Socialism that differentiate it from the other types of Socialism. It is reflected in all of its government policies including the application of democracy and taxation. Therefore, I would call it Pancasila Socialism. To understand more about Pancasila, please read my previous article titled, “Indonesian Socialism and Pancasila”.