Are We More Interconnected Today Than 20 Years Ago. If So, Are We Better Off?

As an archipelagic country of 17,508 islands, Indonesia is well known as a multicultural country with various diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and languages. The strategic sea-lane position as well as geographical position fostered inter-island and international trade since a long time ago in Indonesian history. Back then trading history of Indonesia started when Indonesia led by many kingdoms in order to connect or interact among islands, we can see the value of trading has been initiated long before globalization.

Even though the way of implementing the trading value was so traditional, but the essence of expanding the connection was already there. That value is not only about Indonesia’s connection among islands, but Indonesia has started to collaborate or even cooperate with some neighboring countries in order to develop the relations internationally by starting to promote the exchange value of trade. For example the agreement between the Sriwijaya Kingdom with China a long time ago for trading purposes. The interest among both parties has led them to build strong relations as part of the interconnected world. So yes, we can say Indonesia has started to connect with the world since the kingdom era and it is more connected now to be sure. Why is that so? Because of political situation, as well as an economic development, has started to improve in order to welcome the globalization era in the 21st century. Rapid changing and a lot of Indonesia moves in the past decade already projected Indonesia for the next 25 years ahead.

Today, people are more concerned about the rapid development of Asia countries especially Southeast Asia countries which people believe that for the next 50 years ahead, Southeast Asia countries will take an important role in running the world economy. The reasons are quite different based on several perspectives. One of those is because of the demographic bonus which is the productive ages of the citizen will benefit certain countries or even just because of the emergence of economic reasons. All of those reasons make sense if we try to dig deeper the current condition of Southeast Asia countries.

Talking about Southeast Asia countries meaning that we talk about Indonesia as well, as one of the countries that will be an important key player on international scale. Since we know that globalization has given Indonesia a benefit of sustainable economic growth by liberalizing its economy in order to be more connected to the world whether for investment purpose or even for the export reason. The competition among states already motivated Indonesia to step further in order to make its economies more attractive to global investors. Meaning that Indonesia became more connected o the world.

It is not something new that Indonesia is currently active to participate in some regional or international economies groups such as AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area); APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and WTO (World Trade Organization) in order to proof that Indonesia is implementing an economic reform specifically for trade and investment liberalization. The rapid international integration of markets made Indonesia really concern to take a role in the global market by competing with other countries such as China, Vietnam, and India for foreign direct investment in order to improve the connection in the international arena. Indonesian membership in several regional or international economic forums with so much prestige certainly provides a golden opportunity to advance national interest especially its membership in the G-20 forum is taking a unique position and responsibility as one of the representatives of developing countries.

Now we see the huge difference between 20 years ago and nowadays of Indonesia’s participation at the international level. The strong cooperation and integration of Indonesia with international alliances proof us the global competitiveness among states makes Indonesia be more connected to the world especially in the terms of trade. The rise of digital technology, entrepreneurs in Indonesia also contributed to welcome Indonesia in the global market. At the end, we can conclude that Indonesia is more connected to the world nowadays rather than 20 years ago

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