Kalla challenges economists to produce feasible new ideas
Former vice president Jusuf Kalla has challenged the country’s economists to give birth to new ideas for economic growth.
Warning against becoming followers of other economic thoughts, especially from outside, Kalla urged them to create new economic trends applicable to the country’s current situation.
Kalla issued the challenge during a discussion with economic-school deans from across the country at the Achmad Amiruddin Hall on the Hasanuddin University campus, Tamalaurea, Makassar, on Friday.
The meeting was held in conjunction with the anniversary of the Economic School at Hasanuddin University, which has the largest campus in the eastern part of Indonesia.
Kalla said that graduates or economists, who truly understood the condition and development progress of the country, were needed to boost the economy, so they could create economic thoughts and trends in line with the country’s interests.
“They should be able to give birth to new ideas and trends and ways to implement them for the country,” said Kalla.
According to Kalla, economics was different from other disciplines, in that it was slow in nature but had wider implications.
The development of economic science could only bear fruit in the next 10 years, compared to technological science which progressed by up to 100 percent every 18 months, and medical science every three years.
“Progress in economic science can bring advantages as well as disadvantages to people. If it is poorly implemented, it can have a negative impact on many people, while other disciplines, such as technology and medical science, only have personal impacts,” he said.
In spite of that, Kalla pointed out that economic theories and policies should adhere to basic economic theory on how to manage limited resources efficiently to meet unlimited needs. This theory had not progressed in the economic development policy that was now being processed in Indonesia.
Indonesia, added Kalla, was a country blessed with an abundance of natural resources compared to other countries, but they had not been utilized efficiently, so much so that the country had not developed .
“Indonesia could actually be very progressive. It could even survive if an embargo were to be imposed on it. However, as its resources have not been managed efficiently, it can not progress like other countries,” he said.
He added that Indonesia had failed to progress because the economic policies were based on ideas that were too liberal. It had focused on exporting raw materials, thus its overflowing resources had been depleted.
“Exports of raw materials have failed to provide added value, compared to the export of finished products, which could see values increase 10 fold,” he said.
Kalla expected the economic schools to create advanced thoughts that emphasized national economic interests and that, when combined with the abilities of Indonesians in managing resources efficiently, would be a major force in developing the country.
He said that because of the negative effects of globalization, it had become a challenge to harness the positive effects by encouraging people to produce better, faster and cheaper products, as well as efficiently managing limited resources.
Kalla, who currently chairs the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), has been entrusted as Indonesia’s Komodo Dragon envoy with the task of urging people to vote for the Komodo Dragon as one of the world’s new seven wonders.
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