Abstract
This article details the argument for the economic origins of the secessionist challenge posed by Indonesia's four resource-rich regions. The desire of rich regions to retain their own wealth conflicts with the national goal of sharing social welfare for equitable development across the country. The grievances of relative deprivation and aspiration to inequality were related to the distribution of resource rent by the autocratic regime of Suharto. Democratic transition opened up political space in which the resource-rich regions addressed their grievances, pushing the country to the edge of disintegration. The main policy response to the problem was decentralisation as part of the overall democratisation process. The policy has been successful so far in achieving its political objective; however, in the long run, people of the rich regions may be disillusioned because there is a risk that the supposed economic benefits of decentralisation may not materialise.