Expulsions Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy
London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014, 225 pages.
This book is interesting for deploying the notion idea of “twin spheres” of exclusion process in which the first spheres accustomed to describe situation where the so-called evil forces such as capitalism bring larger inequality to the society. The book, however, open possibility for our respected values within the societies such as intelligence and knowledge could be organized for expelling the unwanted. In our present day, the immaterial possess detrimental risk. Exploring this idea, the author provides strands of diverse condition and local specifics of study cases of expulsion events both in developed (chapter 1) and developing countries (chapter 2). She noted the play of predatory formation in the process of expulsion. Meaning that such process is not solely be blamed to individuals, firms, or government decision and action or technological and knowledge application but should wisely put them into larger assemblages of elements, conditions as well as mutually enforcing dynamics to get clearer identification (p:77). By performing such observation, it avoids narrow framing of power asymmetry in analyzing exclusion process, which definitely misses formally accepted routes designed by those in power. Further, it helps us escaping from traditional perspective of causality between national sovereign degradation and increasing presence foreign power in respective region in concluding the process.
Clarifying to this understanding, the development of Indonesian palm oil especially in Riau is highlighted as an illustration in chapter 2. The author view that since 2006, there is an increasing foreign (land) ownership in the country that disrupting local economy and national sovereignty. This increasing is explain to be conditioned by both global demand for arable land for palm oil plantation and Indonesian government development plan for the lucrative commodity but yet lacking in defining land rights and applying insufficient land registration system (p:112). As the result, land conflict frequently appears between operating company and community and most of the time displaying act of violence. However, does those routes is the only entrance for land conflicts? Other system such as community mapping promulgating by non-governmental organization to clear up the land right issue might be at work for slowly excluding people from the community. Legality in communal lands is also means legal clearance for further financial transaction. As the communal institution weakening, monetization process in the community left out moral valuation and move towards the provision of profit. This book does not specifically exploring this issue. Nevertheless, it provides a framework to think in that way. The readers should be enlightened with this idea.
Luckily, chapter 3 exploring another aspect for expulsion, finances. It gives reader another working system at play. It sees financing as organization and institution that has been penetrated many to our private life. Basic necessities that commonly obtain through swapping relation such as borrowing, bartering, accommodating have to be processed with set of sophisticated form of capital finances. To some extent, this form of incorporation could help in distributing capital such as through investment in manufactures or infrastructures. Unfortunately, using this capital finances to make more financing will leads to massive concentration of wealth and power (p:147). As crises strike, massive default is common problem to be seen. To show the reader how systematic system of expulsion, chapter 4 depicts our environmental lifelessness. The mentality of making profit is conjunct in our common problem, climate change. Carbon trading as the proposed solution has not been able to reduce massive environmental degradation but emphasizing government rights for further destruction (p:209). In chapter 5, the authors concluded that in the present day, Keynesian epoch of incorporation through mass production and consumption is not the vocal depiction rather massive expulsion of people, economies and life spaces (p:222). The book left message for further exploration on the space of expelled (Bondan Widyatmoko is P2SDR Researcher and Ph.D Student at Asian African Studies, Kyoto University)