Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Political economy of the Indonesian mass killing of 1965-1966

Mushed, Syed Mansoob and Tadjoeddin, Mohammad Zulfan (2015): Political economy of the Indonesian mass killing of 1965-1966. Forthcoming in: Economic Aspects of Genocide, Mass Killing, and Their Prevention, Oxford University Press, forthcoming No. Editors: Charles H. Anderton and Jurgen Brauer


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This chapter sketches the build up to the mass killing (politicide) of communists and communist sympathisers in Indonesia, during 1965 to 1966. Our key contribution is to explain why ordinary individuals, not belonging to the elite, might wish to participate in the act of murder. The mass murder aided the consolidation of the new order autocratic regime of Suharto, but his ascension to power cannot be separated from the cold war politics of the time. Over three decades of authoritarian rule did bring about broad based economic progress. In time, the authoritarian contract sustaining the regime became untenable and the contract lacked credible commitment in the absence of the transfer of some political power to the new middle class. This mirrors the modernization theory of endogenous democracy, which states that at higher level of income, the pressure for democracy becomes inexorable.

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