Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Let’s Go Glocal!

by Berly

I agree that the term “globalization” is probably the most overused, misused and abused term in the last ten years (“millennium” surpassed it briefly in 1999 though).

A derivative term is made by combining the centralizing force globalization with centripetal force of localization, resulting in a somewhat awkward “glocalization”. Wikipedia defines the term as “The creation of products or services intended for the global market, but customized to suit the local culture.” It also explained that the terms come from Japanese business practices and brought to English speaking world by a British sociologist named Roland Robertson in the 1990s.

A quick online search by Google revealed that the term has over 117000 hits. There is even a Conference on Glocalization that will conduct the fourth annual meeting this year. So, I guess we must accept that the term is here to stay.

The reason I go an extra mile to explain the origin of the term is simply that I want to describe glocalization at work in medieval city that I am living now.

If you pass Siena’s main street to Il Campo, you would not miss a neat and spacious modern supermarket like store own by Consorzio Agrario Siena (Agricultural Consortium of Siena), the windows has writing in English "Specialist Grocery Store - Typical Foods and Wines".

The majority of the products come directly from the local farm and most of the packed goods were packed up locally. You can find local fresh meat and wines together with more gastronomically palatable delicacies. Marmellata di mandarino (orange jam) taste great on any bread while funghi porcini (mushroom sauce) is suitable to almost any dish. Or you have a royal taste bud, then salsa tartulafa (black truffle) and ragu di capriolo (tomato sauce with and deer mince meet) is yours to taste.

Consorzio Agrario Siena is a farmer co-op that founded in 1901. Since then it has grown to provide various services from wheat grinding to specialty store, from agricultural technology consulting to gas station. It even has its own protein certification labs.

I have yet to study its history, membership and profit sharing method with it is very close to an ideal in term of production. It buys directly from farmer and sells directly to costumer. By cutting cost of unproductive middle man it can (and should) give more profit share to the farmers. Furthermore, the by obtaining the form of modern organization it can extend the reach beyond its borders. I am sure they also serve numerous specialty shops around Europe.

What does it take to bring it to other (especially developing) countries?

1. Heterogeneous products

The scheme would not work as well if they only sell olive oil and bread. The types of products need to be sufficiently numerous (beside few local specialty) to be able to command attention of customers.

2. Costumer taste

Designated customers need to develop a taste for “genuine” and “biologically friendly” products. After all, in term of production scale it is hard to compete with giants such as Nestle and Parmalat. Most likely that the price in CAS store’s can not be set to be lower than those giants. Customers need to have enough reasons for such a premium.

3. Modern organization

Having a vertical food processing company required modern management technique with high regard for efficiency. Family relationship should not be the main factor of employments. The need to obtain capital through banks or capital market also demands a professional and open organization.

4. Export oriented

The big money is out there in other countries. So are the customers with consciousness and willingness to pay. If local producer can tap those markets, it will greatly increased the sustainability of the co-op. After all, it is a natural next move for a glocalization phenomenon. The entire barrier to export and possible assistance to find global market from government is appreciated.

World need more glocalization! And while we are at a far flung part of the world looking for market access for a local producer, let also search for a better term for it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Teriakan dari pelajar yang stress menghadapi ujian dan thesis...........

Dear guys,

Sorry for the late response from us. We are still in the middle of a hectic situation here. Some of us still dizzy with incoming exams, while others have to write some new and academically provoking idea of research questions. Therefore, we would like to share some of our "kusut-ness":D.

Monetary Economics :

1. Is it theoretically and empirically effective to have one currency for Indonesia under decentralization era?

fact :
"In Europe, in order to have a good and stabile one currency policy under different fiscal policies, there are some major consideration. Quite same fiscal deficits, slightly homogenous rate of inflation are some of main consideration"

2. Is it relevant to argue the ineffectiveness of the monetary policy in Indonesia

Fact :
"Theoretically, monetary policy is not effective under different specific shocks across regions. For instances, the tsunami catastrophy in Aceh Province , Social conflicts in Maluku and Papua, etc. All of these lead to different shocks, that implies to a different rate of inflation as ultimate monetary goal of central bank."

Development Economics :

We would expect that LDCs should have a better level of health in order to get a higher economic growth, thus, a faster rate of convergence. Unfortunately, under TRIPS agreement, poor country are forced to pay higher price for drugs. Is it fair for both developed and developing countries?

Industrial Organization :

1. Theoretical research of Cartel Stability seems to omit the existence of consumer behaviour in their analysis. Intuitively, we could see that the more searching the consumers are, the less stabile the cartel is. (The previous literatures on cartel stability argument implicitly -not explicitly !!!- assuming that the consumer search intensively (perfectly). Thus, consumers will react perfectly if there is a price changes of the good). Will cartel behave the same way if this perfect search assumption is relaxed? What is the optimal behaviour of the firm inside the cartel under the different (not perfect) search behaviour of the consumer?

2. The problem above will be more complicated if we include the Anti Trust (AA) Behaviour. If AA can detect the cartel existence differently, based on several characteristics (this is again a correction from the existence literature where most of them assume fixed probability of detection), then the cartel faced two big consideration: a. The behaviour of the consumer as mentioned in Question 1. b. The detection of the cartel from AA. How could we model cartel stabilility in this case?

Note : All questions have equal weights. You may consult your books. *Ujian mode : on !!! :P

Best Regards,


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pemerintah Gagal Melindungi Petani

Kontroversi seputar impor beras kembali meruncing setelah pemerintah mengambil
keputusan impor beras. Kita mempertanyakan kelayakan pertanian, khususnya padi
di Indonesia. Ada dua faktor, yaitu kondisi pasar beras dunia dan perlindungan
sosial yang dibangun melalui good governace, membentuk cara pandang terhadap
masa depan padi di Indonesia.

Pertama, struktur pasar beras di level international dimana Indonesia adalah
salah satu negara pengonsumsi beras terbesar. Ekspansi beras sebagai makanan
pokok sangatlah kuat walaupun di beberapa wilayah di Indonesia Timur
masyarakatnya mengonsumsi umbi-umbian. Beras, secara sosiologis, kemudian
identik sebagai simbol kemakmuran.

Produksi padi Indonesia menyumbang 8,5% dari total produksi dunia. Pada saat
yang sama, impor beras kita menyumbang 13,5% dari produksi dunia. Bandingkan
dengan Bangladesh dengan kontribusi produksi sekitar 3,4% tetapi mengimpor 4,5%
dari total produksi dunia. Hal ini mengindikasikan kebutuhan pangan kita masih
berada dalam keadaan siaga. Jika produksi beras dunia tidak mencukupi, bencana
kekurangan pangan di dalam negeri bukan suatu kemustahilan.

Dalam konteks global, ketersediaan beras sesungguhnya lebih dari mencukupi,
yaitu 21,8 metrik ton (MT), sedangkan permintaan beras untuk impor hanya 8,5
MT. Berdasarkan hitungan di atas kertas, tidak ada masalah antara ketersediaan
beras dan permintaannya. Namun terlihat dalam perbandingan jumlah negara
pengekspor dan importir beras bahwa struktur pasar beras dunia sangat rentan.

Solusi Jangka Pendek
Amerika Serikat, Thailand, India, Vietnam, China dan Pakistan adalah 6 negara
pengekspor beras utama sedangkan negara importir lebih banyak yakni Uni Eropa,
Brasil, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Federasi Rusia, China, Jepang, dan

Oleh karena itu dalam keadaan misalnya bencana alam, perang saudara menimpa
salah satu negara pengekspor, kehadiran pemain impor baru akan mempengaruhi
ekspektasi harga internasional terhadap permintaan yang tiba-tiba ini. Alhasil,
harga beras akan melonjak tajam sehingga mudah diduga dampaknya terhadap
pemenuhan pangan nasional. Harganya akan naik dan menimbulkan krisis baru
akibat merosotnya cadangan devisa yang dipakai untuk impor.

Pada masa Orde Baru, beras digunakan sebagai alat stabilisasi sosial politik.
Disediakan dengan harga murah demi menekan kerawanan sosial di tingkat bawah.
Pada saat yang sama petani mendapat subsidi sebagai insentif berproduksi. Pasca
krisis ekonomi 1997, pemerintah mencabut berbagai macam subsidi yang berkaitan
dengan pertanian.

Lalu lembaga seperti Bulog yang awalnya berperan sebagai stabilisator, tidak
bisa berbuat banyak menghadapi harga beras yang berfluktuasi. Solusi yang
ditawarkan akhirnya lebih bersifat jangka pendek dan mengikuti mekanisme pasar,
yakni impor beras.

Impor sebagai solusi akhirnya menempatkan petani sebagai aktor yang paling
rentan. Ini bisa dipahami sebagai proses interaksi antarkomponen yang
menyebabkan manusia berada dalam keadaan terancam jiwanya. Dalam jangka panjang
interaksi ini membentuk berbagai tingkat kesiapan menghadapi bencana.

Wisner et.al.(2003) mendefinisikan komponen tersebut, yaitu kekuatan dan
ketahanan mata pencarian, kondisi dan kesejahteraan sosial, perlindungan diri
sendiri, perlindungan sosial dan tata pemerintah yang baik (good governance).

Pemerintah Gagal
Mata pencaharian merupakan perlindungan dasar yang dimiliki dalam skala rumah
tangga dan jangka pendek. Posisi petani masih sangat rawan terutama jika
terjadi perubahan kebijakan pemerintah. Perlindungan sosial adalah tanggung
jawab pemerintah karena mencakup skala yang lebih luas. Fakta di lapangan
menunjukkan pemerintah telah gagal memberikan perlindungan kepada petani.
Sebab, kebijakan impor beras sama saja dengan mematikan ruang gerak petani.

Sebagai syarat tercapainya perlindungan sosial tadi, dibutuhkan political will
dan pelaksanaan tata pemerintahan yang baik. Pada titik ini, belum ada kemauan
untuk sungguh-sungguh memperbaiki sektor pertanian. Kebijakan impor beras
benar-benar bertolak belakang dengan pencanangan program revitalisasi
pertanian, perikanan dan kehutanan.

Keterbukaan proses pengambilan keputusan merupakan suatu keharusan. Bulog dapat
dikatakan telah melakukan kebohongan publik menyangkut proses pengiriman beras
impor dari Saigon. Walaupun akhirnya pengiriman ini dibatalkan, hal ini
mengandung implikasi ada aktor kuat yang berideologi pasar sedang bermain-main
dengan nasib petani.

Dengan kata lain, celah-celah kelemahan institusi dalam mengatur pasar dapat
dimanfaatkan untuk memuluskan kerja sama demi mengeruk keuntungan pribadi. Masa
depan pertanian padi di Indonesia tetap relevan terutama dikaitkan dengan
konteks perubahan global. Ketersediaan stok di pasar internasional bukan
jaminan kebutuhan nasional terpenuhi.

Produksi beras dalam skala gobal ditentukan oleh banyak faktor yang sama sekali
di luar kendali kita. Yang mungkin dan mampu kita kendalikan adalah memperkuat
determinan ketersediaan beras dalam negeri. Ketimpangan akses terhadap lahan
dan persoalan alih fungsi lahan pertanian merupakan agenda panjang yang harus
dipecahkan bersama.

Daripada mengimpor beras, pemerintah lebih baik memperbaiki distribusi faktor
produksi, terutama tanah dan menata rel kebijakan agar sejalan dengan program
revitalisasi pertanian, untuk mensejahterakan petani.

sebuah tulisan yang pernah dimuat di harian sinar harapan 22 des05

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A query from ‘not so green’ Norway

by Dewa

Before I visit and study in Norway, I was being well informed about how “green” Norway is. Friends said that there are a lot of environmental-analyst around the world studied and earned degree from various universities in this country. And in the first month I inhaled Norway’s air as well as the Norwegian approach of environmental economic course, most of that claimed has been proven undoubtedly.

From my point of view, the natural habit of each Norwegian has initially shown this “green” policy. For example, Norwegian have very systematic activities related with hunting animal management for both endanger animal and the usual one, or ‘kommune’ (community or district) based garbage and sewage systems, or attention on renewable energy such as water and wind energy resource. Particularly energy resources, the Norwegian have a strong will to utilize their nature for energy supplier in a friendly way as they ‘discount rate’ on environment inter-generational cost-benefit is quite low. In other words, they are willing to pay more of better environment quality now for future generation.

Meanwhile, that is not a whole perfect story. “Norway actually not so green at all”, that is what Aftenposten reported based on EEA (EU’s environmental agency) assessment. The article said that Norway unleases more carbon dioxide emissions per resident than the European average. Also, Norwegian consumed more energy per capita than the European as well. Although regarding the energy high consumption obviously it has been affected by extreme cold climate that requires a lot of energy to keep the population well.

The interesting part of this EEA’s reports is the report admitted that Norway somehow able to balance those high ‘abuse’ on environment and energy. For example, even though Norwegians generate and throw out more garbage on a per capita basis compare to their European counterparts but their recycling programs is one of the most efficient in Europe and even has more participation among citizen than European citizen counterpart. The same analogy also working for hydropower that supply high electricity consumption with a strict water (including river, rain, and snow related) management to maintain the production capacity as well as the natural conservation.

There are some other natural resource policy and management that apply in Norway. Why it seems that the ‘not so green’ Norway tried to find equilibrium between “to pollute and to conserve”? How actually to conduct such policies? What endowment needed to be able to succeed in this issue?

Since Norway is one of the riches countries, you might say that money is the key, don’t you? Fortunately, I saw that community based approach is the main key in this matter. Despite of ample of money support, the success of environmental policy in Norway is seen on individual/market active participation and local community involvement in designing the policy.

I am still wondering how this mechanism seems working well while in developing countries the “state versus market role” issues still dominating the argument. Why it is so damned hard to cooperate or combine those two parties in the third world??

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Market for Peace

by Berly

In a way, peace resememble market economy. To have a lasting peace, it need incentive to have opposing factions come together for a peace deal and stay in peace (so is love, but that’s for another post). There is a supply and demand for peace.

If benefit for peace is bigger for each group than the benefit of conflict, then peace prevail. The problem is on most conflict the benefit for peace is uncertain while the cost of stopping the conflict is certain (and what if the enemy attack after we un-armed and un-prepared?)

My article in Paras Indonesia (click here) discuss the impact of Nobel Peace Prize nomination for President Yudhoyono and former Finnish President Martti. I put the nomination as additional incentive that change the payoff for peace from government side. The institutional and political side of the Aceh Peace process was analzyed with game theoritical framework in my older article (click here).

So, should we change the slogan from “give peace a chance” to “give peace a nomination” ?