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A Question Raised by CFE Head

Posted May. 07, 2001 11:57,   


There is a heated dispute about an email of Min Byung-Kyun, president of the Korea Center for Free Enterprise (CFE), an affiliate of the Federation of Korean Industries and supported by conglomerates, in which he criticized the government. Enterprises, advocating his opinion, praised that it is a brave assertion to protect market economy, while the government and part of civic organizations revealed repulsive responses.

President Min’s act and assertion could not be reproachable if taken consideration into background of establishment of CFE. In democracy, various voices from the interested parties should be respected equally and it is worthwhile to listen carefully in the sense that his assertion is a plea of corporate side which has been constrained.

We cannot help but think deeply about why such an assertion should come out before discussing whether it is right or wrong. All people including the interested parties should consider with deep concern whether there really exist leftist attacks to hinder corporate activities as he maintained, and whether the government has the anti-market policy to the extent that CEOs are threatened.

Min suggested examples such as a private education system whose legal revision is pursued to reduce the power of a board of directors, and chaebol reform which the government represses controlling shareholders of corporations in collaboration with civic organizations. However it is such examples that the government is pushing with all efforts in spite of considerable criticisms from related organizations.

In particular, Min attacked system-reforming social movements which have eroded the root of capitalism. If business persons, constituting one of main bodies of the economy, are so anxious about the system problem, it is not such an easy problem. It is curious to come out such an assertion as rightist should wake up in order for leftists not to monopolize state affairs in our country.

To take a position, pro or con, about Min’s assertion is up to personal freedom. However if the majority of business persons are worried about uncertainty of the market and unstable future as his assertion, the problem should not be overlooked in the sense that business persons’ anxieties do not simply result in contraction of the economy.

In any case, we should be alert to unilateral egalitarianism which violates capitalist market order.

Consequently, I would like to emphasize that in our society, ideologies of extreme rightists and leftists, divided by dualistic standard, should be denounced, and legalism and market economy principle should operate properly on the basis of liberal democracy.