Indonesians have enjoyed democracy for more than 18 years now. Although collectivist ideas are still widespread in Indonesia, a young generation is taking an increasing interest in the ideas of liberty. The freedom-oriented website SuaraKebebasan.org (“Voice of Freedom”), an Atlas Network partner based in Indonesia, has established a new educational workshop to introduce students to sound economic principles. Mises Boot Camp Indonesia, held on Nov. 26–27 in Jakarta, aims to introduce the ideas of the Austrian school of economics to any young people who are interested in learning more.
SuaraKebebasan.org organized Mises Boot Camp Indonesia to build on the success of Southeast Asian Students for Liberty Conference held in August, which led several prominent student leader to discuss workshop ideas with Rofi Uddarojat, managing editor of SuaraKebebasan.org. The idea evolved during subsequent months into a plan to gather like-minded young people who can use their economic knowledge and commitment to individual liberty to influence the future of Indonesia.
“We firmly believe that ideas are the most potent weapon of change,” Uddarojat said. “We always remember what Friedrich Hayek told [Atlas Network founder] Antony Fisher when the latter expressed his intention to go into politics to fight for the idea of liberty. Hayek told Fisher to establish a think tank instead, because he believed epistemic institutions are the best medium for effecting political change. We wholeheartedly agree with Hayek. We believe substantial change can only be achieved if we first gather a spirited group of young people with a strong conviction in the idea of individual liberty.”
Mises Boot Camp Indonesia included 15 young people who were selected from an essay contest. SuaraKebebasan.org collected about 30 essays in its search for prospective candidates, selecting the most promising prospects for this new independent and lively epistemic community. Uddarojat plans to produce an anthology of essays authored by boot camp participants.
The workshop focused on the theme “The Austrian Case for Markets,” and featured several prominent speakers: Dr. Herdito Sandi Pratama, lecturer in the philosophy department and faculty of humane studies at the University of Indonesia; Sukasah Syahdan, senior lecturer at Prasetya Mulya University and founder of the economics website Akal dan Kehendak (“Intellect and Will”); Rofi Uddarojat and Muhamad Iksan, of SuaraKebebasan.org; and young journalist Andi Anggana, who trained workshop participants in writing skills.
Syahdan presented a detailed explanation of how market and price mechanisms generate efficient outcomes. “There has never been a better mechanism to tell us about the value of goods than the price signals in free-market system,” Syahdan said.
Mises Boot Camp Indonesia was supported by Atlas Network and New Zealand entrepreneur Alan Gibbs, and organized in collaboration with Indo-Libertarian, a young libertarian intellectual group. Many of its members also belong to Students for Liberty Indonesia.
“We hope that many students and young people who join our movement in Indonesia will acknowledge the fundamental ideas of Austrian economics, as developed by Ludwig von Mises, Carl Menger, and Friedrich Hayek,” said Adinda Muchtar, project manager for SuaraKebebasan.org. “This event has been a milestone to our movement in popularizing in-depth ideas of free-market economics in academic communities.”