Indonesia: The most amazing development story on Earth?

Noah Smith in his Substack newsletter:

I’ve been writing a series of posts about economic development. The last 20 years have seen a marked acceleration in the rate at which poorer countries — not just China, but many countries — are catching up to richer ones. Among the success stories I’ve profiled so far are Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, and Poland. But today I want to talk about the country that might impress me more than any of the others: Indonesia.

Indonesia’s growth has been solid, but not amazing. Compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, it’s pretty middle-of-the pack in terms of both the growth rate — an increase of 160% since 1990 — and in terms of per capita GDP. At around $11,000 a person, Indonesia is solidly in the middle-income category.

So why do I find Indonesia to be such an impressive growth story? Well, several reasons. But first of all, the deck was really stacked against Indonesia in a number of ways.

More here.