Ini ada sejarah singkat tentang pulau jawa yg cukup ringkas, bagaimana perkembanganya dari masa VOC, CulturStelsel , Liberal Free Market lalu dilanjuti oleh Ethical Policy.

Banyak yang lupa sebenarnya kalau Indonesia yang sekarang mengadop policy 100 percen Neo-Liberal Policy, sebenarnya hal ini merupakan pengulangan sejarah 130 tahun lalu ; dimana setelah masa Culturstelsel , belanda mengadopsi sistem Free Market Liberal, dimana kepemilikan kekayaan alam Indonesia sebenarnya tidak 100 persen dimiliki oleh Belanda, melainkan dimiliki enterpreneur2 dari banyak negara. Kalau saya tidak salah, sekitar 60 persen kekayaan Java saat itu dikuasai oleh enterpreneur Belanda. sisanya dibagi2 ke enterpreneur Jerman , Prancis, Inggris, AS dan Jepang. Lalu dimana masa inilah taraf hidup orang di pulau Jawa turun drastis selama 30 tahun. Dan baru nanti pada 1900, muncul kesadaran untuk ngebenerin kondisi sosial ekonomi yang sudah teramat rusak.

by Robert Van Niel Associate Professor of History Russell Sage College


In 1900 Java was a principal part of the Dutch colonial empire. Ultimate control over Java and other parts of the empire had resided, since the middle of the nineteenth century, in the hands of the Netherlands’ parliament, or States General, as it is called. Practical control over colonial affairs was in the hands of the Minister of Colonies who was one member of a cabinet responsible for its actions to the States General. The Minister of Colonies carried out the general colonial policy of the government. This general colonial policy was formulated, since mid-century, by public opinion as expressed through the States General. This general policy was relatively constant and was not basically altered by changes of cabinet or parliament. The Minister of Colonies was responsible for implementing the general colonial policy in a fashion compatible with the colonial aims of his party and any other parties included in the cabinet. To assist him in this task he had a Colonial office or a Ministry of Colonies in The Hague in which many persons with colonial experience were employed. These persons were often able to influence the decisions of the Minister of Colonies.

Political parties in the Netherlands were anything but indifferent to colonial affairs. Each political party had its colonial experts, usually men with experience in the colonies, who formulated the party’s colonial program and defended it in the parliament and in the press. The colonial program of many parties about 1900 bore little relationship to their position within the political spectrum of domestic politics. Virtually all parties were agreed on a humanizing reorientation of colonial policy at this


time, but there were differences on means and methods of applying this new orientation. 
The most far reaching in their desire for alterations in the colonial policy were the socialists and the conservatives — both of whom had come to regard the prevailing liberal ideology with distrust.

In 1900 no political party advocated a termination of the colonial tie between Java and the Netherlands.

By 1900 the Dutch had been on Java for about 300 years. During this time they had tried only a few long term policies in regulating their relationship to the bulk of the island’s inhabitants. Basic to each approach toward the colonial relationship was a desire to keep regulation as indirect as possible and an implicit understanding that the relationship must be as profitable as possible for the Netherlands. The Dutch East India Company ( 1602-1798) had assumed sovereignty over most of Java in order to protect its commercial and mercantile position. The company’s chief interest lay in obtaining and exporting and selling certain basic commodities grown on Java. Political and administrative control was ancillary to this major interest, and consequently assumed an indirect form which almost bordered on indifference. 

During the Napoleonic Wars the Dutch lost control of Java to the English for a few years, and when they regained control of the island in 1816 they discovered that a new system of monetary land tax and more direct administrative control had been instituted. The Dutch attempted to continue the former and to modify the latter, but this makeshift system proved incapable of producing revenue to meet the unusual expenses of war on Java and war with Belgium. 

In order to raise more revenue the Forced Cultivation System (Cultuur Stelsel) was introduced in 1830. This system reverted to taxation in selected produce. This produce was to be grown and partly processed by Indonesians under the supervision of their own administrators and under the watchful eye of European civil servants. The produce from this controlled system was to be delivered to the government in lieu of monetary taxes. During the first decade of operation this system raised great amounts of revenue for the motherland, but during the


early 1840’s certain unfortunate occurrences within Indonesian society connected with the impact of the system came to light. When the King of the Netherlands lost his personal control of colonial affairs to the States General in 1848, a gradual review of who was making money and how it was being made on Java began to take place.

The Forced Cultivation System collapsed during the 1860’s under the weight of internal corruption, under the pressures placed upon it by private business and commercial interests who had grown politically powerful in the Netherlands, and under the ambitions of European entrepreneurs on Java who wished to terminate governmental land control so they might make individual fortunes. The economic rationale was supplied by the dwindling revenues from the system, and the moralistic rationale appeared in the form of illiberal treatment of the Indonesian people whose energies had made the system work. The parliamentary speeches of Baron van Hoëvell and the writings of E. Douwes Dekker (Multatuli) which were directed against various aspects of the system found great response among the people of the Netherlands.During the 1860’s the government allowed private enterprise to enter the island of Java. In order to avoid economic chaos or collapse, the Forced Cultivation System was dismembered slowly: by 1870 the major products and plantations had been placed in the hands of private entrepreneurs, but the last vestiges of the system were not swept away until 1917. 

After about 1870 the policy of the Dutch government toward Java comes to be known as the Liberal Policy.

Under this policy the island (and eventually the entire archipelago) was opened to the penetration of private capital. 

The wealth of Java was now no longer to flow into the coffers of the government, but instead was to benefit the Dutch middle class who had now also come to control the political process in the Netherlands. From 1870 to 1900 private entrepreneurs made and lost fortunes in Java. 

Those who were successful became financially powerful — those who failed often became managers for the successful. The economic fortunes in Java were such that by 1900 most enterprises on the

island were owned or managed by a nucleus of corporations and banks in Europe. These financial interests exerted great, though not exclusive influence, upon Dutch colonial policy and practice.

The Liberal Policy of the Dutch government toward Java also had a strong humanitarian impulse. After 1870 measures were taken to protect the Indonesian peasant against the full impact of a free functioning money economy. Indonesian landholding was protected against foreign acquisition; a leasehold arrangement was the most that was permitted to non-Indonesian interests. The European civil administration in Java now showed an increasing concern for the welfare of the people of the island. Yet, despite these safeguards, the prosperity of the Indonesian people seemed to be declining, and it was feared that Javanese social solidarity would be affected. Both humanitarian and financial interests were concerned by the decreasing welfare of the Javanese: the former, because of the inability to rectify social and economic injustices; the latter, because of the growing need for markets for produced consumer goods. As early as 1874 the conservative ( Anti-Revolutionary Party) statesman, 
A. Kuyper, was speaking in the States General of a humanized capitalism which would fulfill a moral obligation to the peoples of the East Indies.8 This urge toward a new orientation of the existing policy grew not only in the motherland, but in the European sector of East Indian society as well.

After 1870 the composition of the European community in Java began to change. This change was largely the result of the rapidly increasing numbers of private citizens introduced into an area that had previously been the exclusive preserve of government civil servants and administrators.8 The new group of Europeans, working either for themselves or for corporations, began to create for themselves in Java another type of life than had existed under a society made up of government employees. Urban centers became not only commercial centers, but came to be centers of European society as well. Better educated and middle class Europeans brought their Western way of life with them, creating a microcosm of the West in the urban centers

of Java. About 1900 European women began to arrive in Java, and from that date forward European society grew more exclusive with regard to other ethnic groups in Java. European society on Java now came to have a new internal solidarity of its own, and also came to have ideas about regulating its own internal affairs on Java and about the colonial policy of the motherland.

The European community on Java was not only concerned about the diminishing welfare of the Indonesian people, but was also greatly irked by the completely centralized control of the government over Europeans in Java. 

The newly emerging European society wanted to regulate its own internal affairs and demanded from the government a greater degree of financial autonomy and local self government. This demand was principally viewed in terms of the European community on Java, but it was only a short step to envisioning similar rights for Indonesians who through heightened prosperity and increased education would eventually be placed on the road to self government. In 1888, P. Brooshooft, editor of the Semarang newspaper De Locomotief, openly voiced the desire for greater local autonomy and improved conditions for the indigenous peoples of the East Indies in an open letter to a number of influential Netherlanders. This started a series of articles against the economic liberalism of the prevailing colonial policy which was culminated in 1899 by C. T. van Deventer’s famous article on the “‘Honor Debt.'”11 This article called upon the Netherlands to make a financial settlement upon the needy colony as partial recompense for the fortunes that had been withdrawn from Java under the Forced Cultivation System. As of 1900 Van Deventer estimated the sum involved slightly under two hundred million guilders. Attacks on the government were also occurring within the States General where the colonial authority for the Social Democratic Party, H. H. van Kol, took the lead in harassing the government on matters of colonial policy and practice.

From this widespread dissatisfaction with the prevailing policy a new orientation emerged after 1900. This new orientation in the colonial relationship was called the Ethical Policy. It found

wide acceptance among all groups, for while continuing to advocate development of the colony by private capital, it also sought to increase prosperity and welfare and to extend autonomy. Such a policy contained something for persons of virtually every political inclination. In addition, the Ethical Policy would also provide the Netherlands with an irreproachable colonial policy toward the East Indies. This was sorely needed, for some foreign powers, viewing the desultory conflict in Atjeh ( North Sumatra) which had been going on without decision since 1874, were wondering about the application to other areas of the rule of ‘effective occupation’ which the Berlin Convention of 1885 had established with regard to African claims. 13 The Ethical Policy would provide the Netherlands with a proper moralistic foundation from which to ward off any foreign claims. The greatest advantage of the Ethical Policy, however, was its ability to inspire Hollanders toward a more glorious colonial future in Java while also opening the way for Indonesians to share in the glory of their own future.

The government which controlled affairs on Java in 1900 and against which the European community on Java was raising its claims for autonomy, was the Netherlands Indian government. It was indeed a centralized government with ultimate control residing in a governor general who stood at the head of an administrative hierarchy which branched down into the local districts. This government had been designed to deal with and control Indonesian society; by default it had for the past couple of decades been obliged to control the newly emerging European society of the urban centers on Java. The administrative corps of the Netherlands Indian government probably had no serious objection to granting autonomy to local communities who were in democratic fashion able to provide for their own needs. Soon after 1900 the legal basis to make this possible was provided (see below, p. 42 ). The administrative corps for its part was principally concerned with Indonesians, even though its members were part of the European social group and, as such, subject to pressures and influences from that group.

The governor general who stood at the head of the Netherlands

Indian government was appointed by the Crown upon recommendation of the Minister of Colonies. A governor general normally served a five year term though this was not legally prescribed and might be shortened or extended as the situation seemed to warrant. The governor general was responsible to the Crown for the implementation of colonial policy on the spot: he was the supreme authority in the colony.

In practice, of course, he was expected to follow the instructions of the Minister of Colonies from The Hague, but his advice as the man on the scene helped in turn to shape these instructions. In actuality his position was an extremely powerful one, for the distance from the motherland allowed him great freedom of initiative. His power, just as that of all administrators, was dependent upon the assistance and cooperation of others — he could not personally supervise all activities. That a governor general was sometimes sheltered from the stark realities of events by subordinates or was subtly influenced and pressured by close associates is probably true. In general, however, most of them managed to have a fairly accurate picture of the state of affairs within the colony. This does not mean they always accomplished everything they wished.

Next to the governor general was a high ranking advisory body known as the Council of the Indies. The governor general was president of this council ex officio, but his relationship to its members was that of primus inter pares. The Council of the Indies was composed for the most part of high ranking civil administrators with lengthy colonial experience. The degree of reliance the governor general placed upon the Council varied with individual cases.

In general by 1900 it can be said that the Council of the Indies was losing power and importance while the governor general’s General Secretariat gained correspondingly. The burgeoning governmental tasks after 1870 found the monolithic Netherlands Indian government ill prepared to deal with them. The first, and for many years only, functioning bureau of the government was the General Secretariat. All correspondence, reports, requests for interviews, orders, legislation and official suggestions directed

to or from the governor general passed through this body. By 1900 it had interjected itself between the governor general and all his relationships in and out of the government. It was generally regarded at this time as the most powerful organ of the government. 14 Gradually as departments of government were created it acted as coordinating agent for the work of these departments. Not until after the First World War when the creation of the Volksraad (People’s Council) made frequent oral contact between the governor general and the chiefs of departments imperative, did the power of the General Secretariat decrease.

Conducting the actual operation of the functions of state in 1900 were various departments of the government. Each department had its chief, its staff employees, advisers, and clerks. The great majority of the persons were Europeans (many were Indo-Europeans); few were Indonesians. In 1900 the departments of the Netherlands Indian government were: Finance, Internal Administration (which controlled the administrative corps and police), Public Works, Education, Religion and Industry, Justice, Military Affairs, and Naval Affairs.

Administering the island of Java and forming the sinews of the colonial government was the European administrative corps. Since earliest times the Dutch control of the Indonesian population had been based on a concept of indirect rule. The Dutch were merely to act as advisers, as big brothers if you wish, to the Indonesian administrators who functioned within the pattern of the traditional hierarchy. In practice this theory was more ignored than applied. In order to fulfill the growing demands of the government upon Indonesians during the 19th century the European civil administrators had to assume ever more power and deal ever more directly with the masses of the people. By 1900 the European administrative corps was wielding almost absolute power throughout Java, over both Europeans and Indonesians. 

The enlargement of power of the European administration was accompanied by a change in the nature of the corps. The Netherlands Indian administration no longer came to be a refuge

for European social outcasts and adventurers, but instead came to be staffed by well-educated sons of substantial middle class European families. These men were eager to advance and assist the welfare of the Indonesian people, and just because of this were often unable to tolerate the indifference and lack of enlightenment on the part of their Indonesian counterparts. The government adviser, C. Snouck Hurgronje (of whom more later) envisioned a solution to this dilemma by proving Indonesians with good Western education so they might extract from Western culture the virtues which would enable them to assume the responsibilities and duties of European administrators. Gradually the Europeans would be entirely withdrawn and an enlightened Indonesian administration would run the country. This notion ran head on into the newly emerging sense of exclusiveness in European society on Java, and also failed to fit in with the increasing amount of governmental concern with the details of Indonesian life after 1900. The growing concern of the European administrators in protecting and shielding the Indonesian common people led to innumerable clashes with the European financial and entrepreneurial interests on Java. These interests began to use their political power to curb the operations and limit the authority of the European administrators. The twentieth century was to witness a gradual diminution of the power of both the European and Indonesian civil administrative corps.

In 1900 there were about 70,000 Europeans on Java. Probably only about one quarter of these were full blood Europeans who had been born in Europe and made their way out to Java. 

Yet this one quarter contained most of the businessmen and entrepreneurs, most of the representatives of financial interests, and most of the European civil administrators. These were for the most part the people who were voicing grievances and complaints against the government and its practices. With the exception of a few Japanese who had been granted equal status with Europeans in 1899, the remainder, or about 75%, of the European community on Java was made up of Indo-Europeans or Eurasians. The fifty-odd thousand Eurasians regarded as part of the

European community were certainly not all persons with part European blood on Java. Many Eurasians had been absorbed into the Indonesian population and no longer regarded themselves as European. 

The general social and economic position of the Eurasian part of the European community was far from good in 1900. True, some whose fathers had taken an interest in them and provided them with some education had obtained clerical and technical posts with government bureaus and departments or had become artisans and craftsmen in the urban centers. Those so fortunate might be said to make up the middle levels of the European community. But many others, probably the majority in 1900, had been ignored by their European fathers, had been unable to adjust to their inter-cultural position, and had found the government unwilling to do anything for them as a group. These Eurasians had drifted onto the peripheries of Indonesian life where their constant identification with European status, despite their degraded position, prohibited an adjustment. These people became the flotsam of East Indian society. About 1900 the plight of this group was more openly recognized by humanitarian Europeans. Organizations such as the Masons and the Order of Eastern Star and Christian mission groups began to take an interest in the poorer Eurasians. Vocational and technical training schools were started to permit these persons to develop a skill which would enable them to fit into the European community. During the 20th century the Eurasians’ situation gradually improved. 

In summary, the European community on Java was far from homogeneous, yet there was an apparent striving toward a common cultural base. The common ground toward which increasing numbers of Europeans on Java moved was the common denominator of middle-class European social tastes. Such a common ground, while neither especially good nor markedly evil, did provide a certain solidarity and sense of standards for Europeans removed from their home environment but always envisioning an eventual return to the land of their forefathers. But

this social solidarity had the disadvantage of enforcing a marked gulf with the Indonesian community. Even the European civil administrator and plantation manager, through improved communications, could have frequent contact with the urbanized European social milieu. No longer did the European live among the Indonesians on the Indonesian standard as had frequently been the case carlier. 24 This social solidarity sometimes also had the effect of reducing mass sentiments of the Europeans toward the Indonesians to the lowest common denominator. Often little interested in Indonesian life, and finding contact with that life only through household help or hired employees, many of the Europeans developed a certain fear through ignorance of the Indonesian and his ways. Paradoxically enough, those who knew least were often the ones to shout the loudest that they knew the Indonesian, and that his ways were treacherous and deceitful. Naturally not all Europeans believed this — many knew better. But the insecurity within the European community was great enough that sentiments against the native peoples were easily encouraged — rumors, gossip, and petty incidents aggravated all this — until it was impossible for wiser counsels to prevail. A large part of the European community on Java did not hold the Indonesian and his way of life in high regard.