The New Rich

Economic inequality, Consumerism, Dutch East Indies

The term 'new rich' is used to describe the new wealthy class that has emerged out of the industrial change in Asia , and in the last twenty years have fully integrated themselves into modern consumer culture . The most significant changes of rapid industrialization and urbanization in Southeast Asia is the substantial growth of the new rich. The new rich are further internationally orientated; they express their individuality through a blend of cultural beliefs and global cultural trends. Doubtless the emergence of the new rich in Indonesia during the period between the 1980s and 1990s has had dramatic socio-economic implications for Indonesian society. This essay will focus on the new rich in Indonesia, analyzing its origins, social relations, consumption and lifestyle, and religion and rituals.

At the end of the colonization by the Dutch in Indonesia, the traditional rulers and the colonial government made changes to allow wealthier families' children to get further study in Dutch such as medicine, law and engineering. This was the beginning of the formation of a modern Indonesian ‘new rich’. After independence, the new government began to recruit more civil servants, which provided opportunities for educated people with government jobs. The creation of the new rich can be seen as one direct effect of this increase of the civil service. Some research said that the most government officials were members from the new rich. . The inequality between some of newly rich families and different level poor families were perpetuating the gap between them. The 'New Order Regime' encouraged extended education, the expectation of fixed income and the expansion of consumption, forcing wealthier classes into a newer and more consumer driven class. . The culture of the new rich lies in a division between themselves and the lower sections of the society. . The nobility in Indonesia was slowly replaced by an educated class; this 'intelligentsia' emerging from the new rich...
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