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In 2010 Inkrispena conducted a Particpatory Research on social protection on and consumption patterns of women workers groups in 5 industrial districts in Java, Indonesia. The background of the research was the organization’s concern towards the socio-economic crisis – which had reachrf the household level – caused by the capitalist system. Aside from that there is also no adequate social protection instrument to protect the majority of the people in timed of crisis. The significance of the research was that it served as a tool to support workers in their struggle with social protection and it also functions as an input in developing a roadmap for an integrated production-distribution-consumption social protection.

1.      The Social Protection and Indonesia’s Economic Systems

a.       Social protections: Mapping the Paradigm

Generally, the Social protection paradigm entails a diminution of the social protection concept, from the broad social protection concept – which includes a set of socio-economic policies that create a socio-economic safety system – to the narrow implementation of social insurance and cash transfer programs.

The so called “social protection” in its narrow implementation has many different shapes, depending on where the programs are implemented. But in general, the nowadays existing implementation of social protection is based on a neoliberal market transactional logic, in which it deliberately neglects the norms of equality and solidarity as social policy.

In the case of Indonesia, there are three main features of social protection as it is currently conceptualized and implemented by the government.  At present these become a debated issue amongst many parties – such as: workers activists, trade unions, NGOs, and government agencies – because of its tendency to derive the existence of social protection from its broad concept and function in the society. The first feature is an excessive focus on the target group, which is considered to have the right for “social security”. The result of this first feature is the effort to claim “universality” from each implementation technique. Though, at present, the universality of the implementation technique does not cover all social protection problems that exist in the production, distribution and consumption chain. There are no social protection programs directed to maintain the sustainability of the production sector, which employs the majority of poor people. An example would be the , protection against pest-resistant crop seeds, which are developed independently by farmers. The second feature is the preference to strict targeting methods in order to reach the target group, which has an implication on disruption of data validity and target group data manipulation.  The third feature is the refusal to challenge the neoliberal economic framework, which is the main cause for the deepening of poverty and for the disappearance of non-statutory social protection within society.


b.       The Indonesian Economic System at a Glance

The present economic system in Indonesia can be traced down to the year 1998, which marks the end of Suharto’s developmental dictatorship. From 1998 onward, the Indonesian economy entered a neoliberal phase, characterized by restructuration, deregulation, and liberalization through IMF Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP). At that point, Indonesia’s economy was integrated into the global market, and in consequence the role of international trade became crucial for the Indonesian economy.

Under the neoliberal economic system, Indonesia is experiencing rapid growth. According to the neoliberal regime, between 2009 – 2013, Indonesia’s average economic growth is reaching 5,9%. But this rapid growth is not supported by a balanced development, finally resulting in social unrest. To understand Indonesia’s growing economy and its social contradictions, we need to review the mode of profit accumulation that the regime in power implemented.

Basically, the capitalist economic motif is profit and profit maximization. In order to gain and maximize profit, a certain “mode of accumulation” is required. The “mode of accumulation” refers to the relation of production and consumption patterns, which is reproduced by the regime in power during a certain period of the capitalist economic process. In Indonesia, there are two major components of the accumulation mode. The first one is the exploitation of natural resources, which is characterized by the growth of the extractive industry with wide and substantial estates as a prerequisite. The second is the appropriation and exploitation of productive human resources.

Since profit accumulation does not always correspond with social needs, the prerequisite of the first mode of accumulation is often met through expropriation, resulting in the expulsion of many people from their productive estates or land. This expulsion is conducted by the state on behalf of the territorializing of capitalist production relations. Many conflict cases are arising as a result of this accumulation mode as in Mesuji, South Sumatra or Alas Tlogo, West Nusa Tenggara, where the residents of the area attacked a palm oil company and protested against the local government, as an expression of dissatisfaction towards policies which prioritize the interests of the extractive industry

The second mode of accumulation, human resource exploitation, is strongly connected to the first accumulation mode. Land-grabbing causes the expulsion of productive forces from their productive space, hence the productive forcers experience proletarization and they become part of the free labor force. But that does not necessarily mean they become part of the working class, because if they fail to enter the capitalist production relations they become unemployed.

At present, massive unemployment can be seen throughout the city outposts in Indonesia, and unsurprisingly this functions as an economic pressure to the wage level, because labor supply is exceeding its very low demands. Although many unemployed people spontaneously create new economies through informal initiatives, many also fail and have to re-enter the labor market or stay unemployed.

As part of the program to overcome unemployment, the neoliberal regime created a flexible labor market system, in which the accumulation process through appropriation and exploitation of human resources can be maintained. Through a flexible labor market, the unemployed can still access employment relationships, but they will not be able to influence the wage rate, because they can easily be replaced by other unemployed people.

Though the informalization of labor was accompanied by a process of deindustrialization in the urban centers, migration from the rural areas to the city has not decreased. On one hand, along with the recovery of the economy on the national level and the booming of the extractive and agricultural industries, agricultural land at disposal to the rural population is becoming rarer so that the rural population is forced to migrate to the cities around or to those islands where there is still an industry to absorb their labor force. On the other hand, the workers who had been working in the industrial cities before are generally contract workers who experience uncertainty regarding the extension of their employment, so that they’re often slung to the urban informal sector. In consequence, the number of productive laborers in the cities, particularly the urban centers of the big islands, who live in slums, is accumulating.  At the same time, in situations of crisis, laid-off workers would return to the rural areas. By relying on their families, they hope to find work in the agricultural sector. The remigration into the rural areas is made a myth, in which the village is framed as a social safety-net region for laid-off workers. But the reality of life in the rural areas is that even the parts of society who never left the rural areas compete hard with their neighbors in order to seize job opportunities in the agricultural and plantation sector.


c.       Types of Social Protection Model in Indonesia

In the midst of the social contradictions related to the rapid economic growth in Indonesia, the state established several social protection instruments:

  • Social Insurance. This instrument involves cash contribution by the protected poor society. Social insurance includes social security and health insurance. However, this instrument is not well implemented since the corporations, which work as state partners in the implementation, often consider that the risk of protection is too high, because the great majority of the poor society that is supposed to be protected through this instrument work in the informal sector with irregular income.
  • Bad Crops Insurance. This instrument functions as a safety net that gives indemnity to the poor peasants in case of harvest damage or harvest failure. This instrument also involves cash contributions from the protected poor peasants.  But for those who use their harvest for personal consumption and not for selling it, it is impossible to provide contributions for this insurance program. The bad crop insurance was launched in mid-year of 2010, not by the state but by PT. Asuransi Bumiputra Muda 1967, the subsidiary company of PT. Asuransi Bumiputra 1967, one of the oldest insurance companies in Indonesia.
  • Health Insurance. This instrument is highly needed by the poor community, considering that nowadays health and medical cost is expensive.  Poor countries mostly provide the secondary form of health services.  That means, state covered health insurance only includes health service for illnesses that do not require hospitalization. However, if hospitalization is required, partnerships with the private sector are needed in order cover the high costs. At present both private enterprises and the state provide health insurance. The state health insurance for the part of society in employment (Asuransi Kesehatan – Askes) is funded through participant contributions, while poor communities are covered with Community Health Insurance (Jaminan Kesehatan Masyarakat – Jamkesmas) funded through the State budget. In terms of implementation of the health insurance program there is a high opportunity for mismanagement, corruption and fund embezzlement.

The two different state provided health insurances overlap in their implementation. For instance, laborers who generate an income equal with the Regional Minimum Wage (Upah Minimum Regional – UMR) are covered by Jamsostek program, but at the same time they are also entitled to be covered by the Jamkesmas program, since related with their wage they can be categorized as part of the poor communities who need to be protected by Jamkesmas. In addition, the number of state enterprises, which are believed to deliver health insurance programs separately, also indicates the that the implementation of health insurance programs is highly uncoordinated. The problem of overlap and the lack of coordination amongst others stem from the misconception that the state health access and insurance programs that depends on the contribution of program participants, access to health nowadays is not a universal and funded through taxes and foreign debt.

  • Social Assistance. This form of social protection is usually given as a free-tax cash transfer program donated directly to the needy families. Beside cash assistance, the form of support given can also be distribution of primary supplies or capital for community business, e.g. subsidies in fuel or staple foods. There is a tendency to decrease this form of state assistance to society, such as in fuel subsidy, but here the impact on society is worrying because transportation costs – and transportation is something the whole society depends on – are drastically increasing. Furthermore, the quality of subsidized food staples may be bad, as is the case with the Rice for Poor People Program (Beras untuk Rakyat Miskin – Raskin). This is related to the centralistic organization of the program, which opens the opportunity for embezzlement and corruption. Finally, the Indonesian Direct Cash Transfer programs show that citizens who live in or below poverty are understood as people who need to be sympathized with charity. This understanding stands in contrast to the idea that Social Protection is a citizens’ right. The Direct Cash Transfer Program creates dependency to the government and also disempowers the community to live in an appropriate way and with dignity.
  • Labor Market Interventions. In general, this intervention is done by the state, for example by increasement of the regional minimum wage levels. This intervention is intended to enhance workers’ economic capabilities. Wages are determined by the Wage Board, a non-structural institution with tripartite characteristics, and the wage determination process is also accompanied by academics. The wage level is determined by calculating the rate of inflation, currency devaluation and in consultation with certain pro government trade unions. It is problematic that the increase of the minimum wage levels are not accompanied by the increase of the workers purchasing power because in determining the wage the increase of prices of consumer goods, which usually follow the increase of the minimum wage level, is not taken into account.

Another form of intervention is the creation of jobs. Currently this is seeked by encouraging foreign investment and international trade. In fact, this is not an appropriate measure to handle unemployment especially because it is detached from an improvement of the education system: Jobs created through foreign investment and international trade absorb the educated labor force with a university degree, but in contrast the highest share in the unemployment number is of people with no education at all up to people who obtained a high school diploma.

The review of the range of social protection instruments in Indonesia shows that these instruments in reality do not provide the society with security, that they are often prioritize interests of the private social protection providers and not the needs of society, and that they do not conceive beneficiaries as citizens with rights and agency, but as needy poor society. Inkrispena seeks to establish an alternative by establishing a social protection network in the production, distribution, and consumption sectors, for the purpose of connecting the three sectors into an integrated statutory or non-statutory social protection program.


2.      Methodology of Social Protection Research

a.       Participatory Research

Participatory Research aims at involving the research subjects actively as co-researchers during the whole research process. The life worlds and perspectives of the co-researchers should be represented in the concepts, the implementation and the results of the research.

Participatory research is used by state institution as bases to make participatory development planning or by community institution to assist participatory development. The methods were developed under the framework that in order to create good governance (at any level) and to develop the wellbeing of society (at any regions); first, people aspiration and needs should be taken into account, and second, the government needs to involve the people in the development process. In other words, the state needs to involve people as a subject of development, not just as object of development. Inkrispena builds on some of the principles of participatory research in development planning, but makes use of it, not in with the aim of improving existing policy instruments, but to create alternatives from below and integrate it into workers struggles.

Under the above framework, participatory research is seen as a tool for development planning, because society or community development need a direction, systematic methods, and good-planning in order to increase the people access to a better quality of life and social-economy-political condition. With participatory research as the bases for development planning, it is expected that social changes can be systematically planned and coordinated; can be consistent to its goals; and also create sustainable changes.

There are several methods of participatory research, which are:

  • Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) is a method used to comprehend about the situation in certain locations by learning from, to and with the community in order to comprehend, analyze and evaluate existing threats and opportunities. Usually the process involves knowledge and skills from various disciplines in order to gather, structure, and examine the data for the purpose of decision making.
  • Participatory Learning & Action (PLA) essentially refers to learning from participatory action or mutual learning and action or participatory action and reflection. This method reflects a dynamic dialectic between learning and action. Usually, those who participate in this method will have an equal functional position.
  • Participatory Research and Development (PRD) is a method, which focuses on the effort to help community members who have similar interest to work together in identifying mutual needs and taking action in fulfilling those needs.
  • Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) is similar to PRD, the difference is that RRA is conducted by people from outside the community (outsiders); and it does not involve the community in the process except that they are perceived as research object.
  • Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a method, in which theories are established based on rational and critical studies toward social practices. PAR provides critical analysis of a certain situation that occurred as a result a program or project implemented by certain institutions. PAR is based on several principles, which are: (1) PAR has to be seen as an attempt to correct social practices by creating change and continuous learning from the impact of changes; (2) The process requires an authentic participation and the continuation of the process (from planning to implementation, observation and reflection) and can be described in the form of a spiral; (3) PAR is a collaboration of all parties who are responsible in creating changes and their involvement will also increase their capacities; (4) PAR is a systematic learning process, in which the participants critically analyze and review their action so it will brought impact socially; (5) PAR involves the participant in creating the theories based on their own experience.
  • Comprehensive Participatory Rural Condition (CPRC) is a method used to identify the problems which exist in a community, the cause of the problems and seek ways to be solved by using local resources on the basis of community empowerment principle with the following guideline: (1) information is gathered by the local community to be used by certain persons or institutions that will help the local community; (2) the study on the rural condition and the life in it, is obtained from and through the local community; (3) Information obtained through this method is used as bases to make plan for rural community empowerment; (4) CPRC implemented by involving community, local government authorities, and researcher as facilitators.
  • Methodology for Participatory Assessment (MPA) is a method developed to assess a community development project. MPA developed from different participatory methods, which have proven to be effective in involving the community to participate. MPA have the following characteristics: (1) it aims at both the implementing institution and the community in order to achieve effective result which could be implemented continuously; (2) It uses a “sector specific” indicator to measure variables such as: sustainability, needs, gender, etc; (3) The result of MPA is a set of qualitative data on the rural level, which can be converted into quantitative data through ordinal system and can be statistically analysed; (4) Through this method, data between communities, or between projects, or from different periods of time can be compare and analyzed for larger scale project or program.

Specifically related with Inkrispena’s Research on The Social Protection and Consumption Pattern of Women workers Group in five Industrial Districts in Java Indonesia, the research used Participatory Research and Development Methods.

The research is intended to criticize the social protection program and instruments implemented by the state by probing deeper into workers basic living needs, how the workers cope with their living needs under the present economy, and how the social protection instrument effect the workers consumption pattern.


b.       Stages of Participatory Research on Social Protection in Women workers

Inkrispena’s research on social protection and consumption patterns of women workers was built of several stages and it took the researchers and the workers group into a period of learning process.  These stages reflect the principles mentioned above such as the identification of social realities and existing problems, the orientation towards action and empirical analyses as bases to answer theoretical questions, as well as identifying common interests of a community.

  • Preparation Process. At this process, the researchers are learning from workers activists who are involved in minimum wage negotiation and who organize workers for minimum wage and other social issues related with workers. The discussion process is necessary to be conducted in order to formulate a research design and research proposal. After the research design and research proposal have been formulated, other administrative tools (such as: request letter to workers group or trade unions) are made to involve the targeted workers group into the research process.

When the targeted workers groups have given their consent to participate in the research, the coordination process starts. During the coordination process each of the targeted workers groups are asked to choose one person to coordinate the data collection process. At the same time, the research team also develops a social protection paper (to be used as learning material for the workers group) and research instruments for the data collection process, which includes a question list for workshop and focus group discussion; and a questionnaire for survey. Aside from that, mechanisms for data collection monitoring; data flow for processing; and data processing categorization for open questions are created during this stage.

  • Data Collection Process. This process is started with the distribution of the social protection paper to the targeted workers group. The paper serves as learning material for workshops with the targeted workers group and also as a tool to stimulate the targeted workers group’s curiosity in relation with social protection issues.

During this process, data collection is started by conducting a workshop on social protection, where participants from each industrial sector are invited to Jakarta. In the workshop process, both researcher and the participant of the workshop learn about the workers economic situation and their consumption pattern. In the workshop, the participants give feedback to the questionnaire on consumption patterns that they fill in. The feedback is then used as input for questionnaire revision.

After the revision, the data collection continues with field survey, during which the questionnaires are sent to the targeted workers group leaders and then distributed and filled in by the workers. Afterwards the questionnaires are collected and sent back to the research team.

The final step in the data collection process is Focus Group Discussion. In this step, representatives from each group are invited to share with research team on how the workers cope and deal with their economic situations, and identify actions to be taken took collectively in their struggles for better economic conditions, and how their employing company would  respond to their actions.

  • Data Collection Monitoring Process. This process relates with the need to ensure that data collected are in line with the data required for the research. In the survey data collection process, the researchers are not at close range and cannot directly assist the workers to fill in the questionnaire. In this process the researchers have to depend to the workers group leaders or workers who attended the workshop to assist their friends in answering the questionnaire. Another alternative is to provide assistance through phone or email communication.
  • Data Processing and Analysis Process. After the data collection process is done, the data processing and analysis will be conducted by Inkrispena’s team. The result of this process will be used in the research report.
  • Reporting and Validity Process. Preliminary reporting is a report created in order to validate the data obtained throughout research process. This preliminary report is distributed to the targeted workers groups in order to be validated. If the targeted workers group finds misinterpretation from the data at this step, they should inform the research team and ask for correction. After the validation process is complete, correction will be made and final report will be developed.


c.       Intended and Unintended consequences of Participatory Research Process

As stated above, participatory research requires participation from the targeted group. With participation as requirement, several consequences – such as: improvement related with knowledge, skills and ability which can be obtained through the learning process in the participatory research; or even community mobilization in taking action in order to make social changes – are something to be expected to occur.

The consequences, which are expected to occurre, can be categorized as intended consequences from participatory research. An intended consequence is something that could be targeted to be achieved through the participatory research process and at certain condition it also could be measured.

But there are also consequences that occurred without being targeted. We categorized this as unintended consequences. This type of consequences has a very wide range and can have positive or negative impact to society or community.

Inkrispena’s Participatory Research with women workers groups, entailed some intended and also unintended consequences. Two main consequences, which can be seen clearly from this research are:


(1)     Participatory Research as Means to Organize the Workers Group

Since the target group was involved in the research process, it was to be expected that it would learn from the process and use it as a means to organize themselves and others who are in the same situation as they are. Some of the intended consequences were: (a) the workers would learn to manage their household expenses and basics of organizational bookkeeping; (b) the workers would use the lesson they learn in the research process to organize and involve more people in their struggles for their rights as workers and as citizen of the state: (c) the issues of social protection would be spreading and starting to become an issue of discussion amongst the workers; and (d) solidarity amongst the workers would arise.

As for the unintended consequences, some are: (a) the workers not only used the social protection issues amongst themselves or their workers group, but they also used it to coordinate with other non-workers group, such as: rural poor community, students, NGO’s. This resulted in an expansion of the network, which provides support to the workers group; and (b) there were also growing initiatives to organize for solidarity economy, such as workers cooperative, in order to support the workers’ family and friends who were laid off and became unemployment.

(2)     Research Socializations to the Workers as Means to Build Workers Awareness

In the process of reporting and validity, it was intended that the workers would learn from the description illustrated in the report, and it was also expected that they would give rational critics related with the reports. When the report is finalized and socialized to the workers, it is also expected that they will use it as tools to build awareness amongst them and socialized the issues.

The unintended consequences were that the workers were critical enough to use the research result as argument in their struggles for minimum wage issues, such as workers group in Tegal, who are involved in the participatory research. Because through the socialization process that the workers conducted, more and more workers became aware that they are deprived from their rights and they should fight for it.


d.     Obstacles in Participatory Research

The obstacles Inkrsipena experienced during the research process, and which most likely other participative research also face, are related with knowledge, work and culture. The knowledge-related obstacle mostly come from self-inconfidence because of most of the workers have low education and they tend to be shy in the interaction with people with higher formal education than them. With regard to work-related obstacles, Inkrispena had to face the fact that many workers are still avoiding trade unions or workers group in their struggles with their economic conditions, in fear that they will be in trouble or even losing their job. Concerning culture related-obstacles, many workers, especially women workers tend to be shy or need their husband’s permission to participate in the research; and aside from that, it is not convenient to many workers to share their household expenses and their debts, because matters related to money are often kept from other people’s knowledge.

In order to cope with the obstacles in the participatory research process, steps to support the workers were taken through phone or email communication. Beside that the workers tend to support and encourage each other, through their interaction and communication. But if it was considered to be required and or the workers group asked for it itself, direct assistance from trade union facilitator was given to them.


3.      The Social Protection and Consumption Patterns of Women workers’ Group in Java – Indonesia

Inkrispena’s research on the Social Protection and Consumption Pattern of Women workers Group in Java – Indonesia, started from the concern that the crisis create by capitalist system already reached household level and deprived many people into poverty. The research was designed to be participatory in nature; from the early process Inkrispena’s research team collaborated with workers organizers and activists.

The research focused on women workers, because socially, often it is a women’s “task” in a family to manage household finances and provide financial support to the family. The research used quantitative and qualitative aprroaches in seeking for patterns and obtain a deeper understanding on the women workers’ perspective on their economy and how they cope with their economic condition.

This participatory research was aiming to understand workers’ family consumption patterns; and to find answer to the questions: host do the workers themselves perceive social protection?; how do workers’ families survive under the minimal impact of the social protection instruments provided by the government?; and What kind of adjustment methods do they implement to meet their needs?.

Inkrispena was aiming to understand consumption patternd in order to obtain clearer picture of expenses spent on basic needs and reproduction costs, which should be covered by social protecgtion instruments provided by the state. There are other investigations on workers’consumption patterns, by trade unions or NGO’s, but they don’t give a clear picture on existing social protection instruments, neither do they use participatory research methods.


a.       Measuring the Income and the Basic Needs

In order to understand workers’ families’ consumption patterns, ways we also need to have a look on how the workers groups gain their income in order to fulfill their basic needs. In many workers households, both the husband and the wife are working in order to be able to fulfill their basic needs. Depending on the size of the family, often the husband or the wife or both are required to take a side job to add up to their main income. But even so, the side job would not give adequate income and workers have to take out a loan, in order to fulfill their basic needs. In this research, debt is considered part of income because it is used to fulfill basic needs, but it is also considered as consumption because it is also part of expenses. Although the workers who took part in the research were beneficiaries of social protection instruments to support them, these did not have much effect on them because the amount of benefit is very low, thus expenses, for example health care,  only decreased, but not dissapeared from the workers expenses cost.

Regarding consumption, Inkrispena’s research found out that people’s basic needs are growing because in the current situation costs of social reproduction have to be taken into account. People are not just in need for food, clothing and housing, other things such as health care, child care, educations, transportation, communication, social relation and recreations have to be calculated as part of the consumption expenses, because it is also basic human needs which determine human production and reproduction process.

As for the workers family, their expenses priorities are as follow: (1) foods; (2) children’s  education; (3) transportation; (4) paying debts; (5) medical treatment; (6) social relations; (7) clothing; (8) housing including household needs and sanitary; (9) recreations; (10) mild medical care; (11) health care and supplement; (12) body sanitary and care; (13) communication; (14) child care; (15) adult Education; (16) health treatment; (17) child birth control; (18) other expenses.

Particularly with regard to the health expenses, it should be noted that in Indonesia there is medical treatment and alternative treatment (non-medical treatment). Medical treatment refers to doctor attendance and or hospitalization, while mild medical care refers to doctors’ care for mild illnesses. There is also health care and supplement, which refers to the usage of medicines which are sold free without a doctor’s prescription and suplements such as vitamins, energy drinks, etc. Health treatment usually refers to alternative treatments like massage or herbal medications given by local shaman or alternative medication practitioners which is cheaper than medical treatment.

With regard to the category of other expenses, it should be noted that most of the workers’ families do not have the habit of recording their financial expenses, they mostly only remember their expenses and allocate the money based on their priority, which results in undetected expenses. This undetected expenses could be used for many purposes, for example: give away to family or friends in need, non-routine needs which incidentally occure, or even for savings which cannot  be allocated specifically.


b.       The Growth of Basic Needs VS Decreasing Real Wages

Under the present economic conditions, the growing needs put a heavy presure to the workers familes. It is a commonly known that the minimum wage is not adequate to support the workers basic living needs, especially if they have family. The existence of a minimum wage is more like an economic and political tool in the labor market, but it doesn’t serve its purpose to the workers, because although there is a minimum wage and wage increase from time to time, in reality, the real wage that the workers received keeps on decreasing because of inflation and increasing customer price index.

In dealing with the decreasing real wage, the workers who took part in Inkrispena’s research took severeal strategies,such as: taking a side job, putting together their wage with other family members and consider it as family income, buying goods through credit system or buying low quality goods, cutting expenses by not buying goods they need, entering the debt cycle, expecting a 13th salary, depend on family support, joining cooperatives, or depend on the solidarity of friends.

All the above mentioned strategies depend on individual, family or group effort. The research result do not reflect whatsoever a reality where workers are part of Indonesian citizens who have the right to receive social protection from the state- This finding results from the fact that social protection is very minimal and has no effect at all to the workers’ economy at certain points.


c.       The Circle of Debts

The debt of workers can amount up to three times of the amount of their monthly salary. This made debts as part of workers’ income and consumption have its own interesting aspects. First, the debt is an evidence that the social protection measures by the state only have a minimum effect not only to the workers but also to the great majority of Indonesian people. Second, the present economic system with its increasing foreign investment, international trade, and international debt which were supposed to create more jobs are proven to have a minimum positive effect in eliminating poverty, on the contrary it preserves the poverty. Third, the neo-liberal economy, for the sake of its profits and maximalizing profits, are encouraging consumption through consumption credit system and making the majority of people entering a never ending debt cycle. Fourth, under the neo-liberal regime with its accumulation mode, the people are driven from productive society into consumption society, this can be seen through the ongoing deindustrialization of the manufacturing sector, which causes that more and more people become unemployed or have to survive through precarious work.

The cirlce of debt that is nowadays chaining more and more people are prove that the crisis is occuring on the household level up to global level. Under this situation of crisis, alternatives for changes are being discussed by workers group, NGO’s, and workers organizations. But the alternative which is needed is not just alternatives to overcome the crisis, because that will not be the real solultions to the problems. The alternatives that is needed, are alternatives which could lead a way out of capitalism logic into socialist logic.

4.      Conclusions

The implementation of social protection in Indonesia is still far from expectation, since there is still a lot of misconception and mismanagement. As citizens’ rights, social protection should be given by the state and not just depend on citizens initiatives Social protection should enable people to live a  dignified life and secure them from socio-economic crisis. In order to achieve this, social protections should be transformative.

Transformative social protection should be defined as: “state action to ensure proper and dignified living standard to its citizen through empowerment in increasing citizen welfare and cohesiveness.” As a concept transformative social protection has the following characters: (1) non-exploitative; (2) dynamic; (3) universal; and (4) culture-based. In order to implement transformative social protection people need to be aware and use their political rights, so they could determine, participate and monitor the implementation of social protection.

Transformative social protection is one of the alternatives that can serve as way out from capitalism logic, but in order to implement it certain national financing strategy is required to fund the implementation. If we review the “accumulation mode” through production pattern, we will see that there are other sources of finance aside from tax and debt which can be used to finance transformative social protection. But argument and evidence need to be presented in order to lead a way out from capitalism market transactional logic and showing the socialistic wealth distribution logic.

The participatory research on woman workers consumption pattern is one way to establish the argument and evidence that transformative social protection is required and that the capitalist logic is keeping people captive in poverty through the crisis it creates. People need to live a dignified life and be secure from socio-economic crisis, which can only be achieved if the state provide social protection and ensure the welfare of its citizen. Participatory Research Methods are an adequate method to develop transformative social protection programs because they empower and enable the subjects involved in the research project. Because these could understand their situation better by being part of the research, they got involved in workers struggles.



Anwar “Sastro” Ma’ruf. The Global Crisis of Capitalism and The Strategic Response of the Indonesian Left Movement. June 2012.

Ayudya Fajri, Irwansyah, Muhammad Ridha, Ruth Indiah Rahayu, Tommy Ardian Pratama dan Y. Wasi Gede Purwaka, Pola Konsumsi dan Pendapatan Buruh Perempuan: Sebuah Kajian atas Dampak Perlindungan Sosial, INKRISPENA bekerja sama dengan Institut for Global Justice (IGJ), 2010.

Muhammad Igbal Bahua. Metode Perencanaan Participatif dalam Pembangunan Masyarakat. December 2007.

Jimi O. Adesina. Beyond The Social Protection Paradigm: Social Policy in Africa’s Development. April 2011.


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