Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Minister of Protectionism

Do you know what kind of vision that our Minister of Research and Technology has in mind? I'll give you one. It is called "M16 produces 16M". The former refers to a type of killing machine, the latter market for 16 million (of what? IDR, USD, people? I don't know).

And he wrote in today's Kompas op-ed:
With this fighting spirit, we will see more main weaponry system tools, electronic communication devices, tactical and war vehicles, speed patrol ships, war ships, surveillance airplanes, cargo planes, organic weapons for military and police, armored vehicles, defense and security infrastructure; than imported product."
I kid you not.

Mr. Minister, I'd rather to have inexpensive imported non military stuff any given day, than seeing more of our own made inefficient killing machines around. Does he ever think that import and globalization means you can get cheap product in global market (including even those weapons), in exchange to your competitive export?

That the Minister of Research and Technology turns out just a plain protectionist is disheartening. His job is to make our product technologically competitive in global market, not asking for protection. It's a lame excuse, Minister.

1 comment:

  1. I think saying that the minister is a strong supporter of protectionism is too early to make. he might be one of those who thinks that comparative advantage is something that can be made. Import substitution in this case is acceptable (as long as they do not over-do it of course). First, we don't have much money to spend for weaponry etc. Second,this can be a way in having a better trade gains in the future. abundant with steel,sufficient with human capital, minus in technology. we need to invest, but no money left, and the army and the navy has lots of excuses to throw to DPR, what will the voters say if DPR refuses?

    I am sure that you remember Bhagwati paper in the 50's about immiserizing growth? trade only will make our economy better if we grow in the right way. I hope this is one of the path towards this.