CNBC Insight Successful Expert Reveals the Mystery of Pesugihan, Does It Really Make You Rich? Entrepreneur – 4 days ago


Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Becoming successful and living well is every human's dream. Humans are willing to work hard to achieve it all. The methods are also varied, some include working overtime and investing.

However, there are also those who achieve it by taking shortcuts, such as committing crimes or perhaps doing supernatural and mystical things. Especially for the second one, quite a few people carry out various rituals of communion with Satan. Call one of them pesugihan.

Pesugihan can be interpreted as an attempt to gain wealth by making a pact with supernatural beings. This method does not only exist in Indonesia, but also occurs in various other parts of the world.


Australian anthropologist Michael Taussig in The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America (1970) conducted long research on this matter when visiting South America, specifically Colombia and Bolivia. Taussig saw the phenomenon of pesugihan (Taussig called it an alliance with the devil) in these two areas.

On a Colombian plantation, Taussig heard the myth that farmers did magical things to increase crop yields. Namely by performing magic acts and becoming a slave to Satan. Both have special contracts.

If farmers make a profit, it must be diverted to consumerist activities such as shopping for luxury goods. If violated, they will die suddenly.

Taussig certainly didn't believe this, but as an anthropologist he had to find the answer. Long story short, he succeeded in uncovering the mystery of pesugihan by providing a different perspective.

It should be noted that the majority of experts reveal that phenomena like this are based on jealousy. In short, poor farmers are actually jealous of people who get sudden wealth. So, they accused the nouveau riche of being in league with Satan. And this is actually logical.

In a different article entitled “The Ghost in the Machine” (2018) in Jacobin, Taussig explained that this myth emerged as an effort to criticize workers for the proliferation of capitalism. For them, capitalism uprooted people from their ancestral lands because it succeeded in destroying traditional economic practices.

“The pesugihan story was produced to understand their isolation [..] and in response to the massive social disruption caused by the emergence of private capital accumulation,” he said

Then, at this point, imaginative stories emerged in society that the rich man was in league with the devil. The story actually has a mitigation message so that farmers do not become rich and continue to survive with the traditional economic system.

It could be said that the guise that they would die because they failed to sign a contract with Satan was purely to scare them. So that they stay away from evil capitalism.

Capitalism itself is seen as the devil or the devil because it causes fear. If Satan creates fear in the human imagination, then capitalism causes fear of exploitation.

Thanks to this research, Taussig was later awarded prestigious awards such as the Berlin Prize and Guggenheim Fellowship.

With Taussig's findings, we know that the narrative of pesugihan or other methods such as babi ngepet and tuyul which are commonly produced in Indonesia are purely imaginative stories. And it can be concluded that supernatural powers as a way to gain wealth usually flourish when capitalism appears in an area.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

(mfa/mfa)