Go to contents

Is Kim Sang-jo qualified to lead the fair trade commission?

Is Kim Sang-jo qualified to lead the fair trade commission?

Posted May. 31, 2017 07:07,   

Updated May. 31, 2017 07:14


The Fair Trade Commission is a quasi-judiciary organization that establishes the basic order of economic activities by guaranteeing fair and free competitions among companies, the basic principle of a market economy. The organization which regulates cartel and unfair business practices is called an “economic prosecutor” due to its powerful punitive authority as it has an exclusive right to charge businesses for violations. President Moon Jae-in said, “We cannot overcome the economic crisis with the unfair market system,” when he nominated Kim Sang-jo, a Hansung University professor, as the KFTC chairman, who has taken the initiative in civic movements for the chaebol reform.

However, it is doubtful whether Kim is qualified for reforming the unfair market system when you look at his personal history. Kim reported a lower apartment price to the government by 100 million won (88,890 U.S. dollars) when he bought and sold an apartment in 1999 and 2005. This raises a question that he intended to save some acquisition, registration tax or real estate transfer tax.

It is doubtful that Kim’s wife got a position to teach English at a public high school in Seoul in 2013. She was the only applicant for the position and got the position without competition though her TOEIC scores were not high enough to meet the criteria and submitted her application and relevant documents 15 days later than deadline. His son is also controversial as he had changed assignments three times since joining the military in 2011 and used five to nine days of leave every month until he was discharged as an administrative clerk.

The Center for Scientific Integrity, a private verification organization identifying cheating in academia, said it identified at least four cases of self-plagiarism in his academic papers. His paper released in the March 2006 edition of “The Economy and Society” overlaps with the other paper released in the Asiatic Research in September 2005 to some extent and more half of the conclusion is identical. It makes us think that he was not committed to his research, his job, while actively engaged in civic group activities, his side job.

Kim is a participatory scholar who got a nickname a “chaebol sniper” while serving as the head of the chaebol reform supervision team and the head of the economic reform center of the civic group People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a civic group. If a person who is closely connected to fairness and reform has lived a life closer to unfairness, we should ask a question whether he is qualified for leading the Fair Trade Commission. He should reflect on the standards he applied to himself and others.