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Koreans Regard Cronyism More Than Competition

Posted May. 16, 2001 10:46,   


Korea Development Institute (KDI) recently released the result of its survey on the people’s consciousness of national economy, which reveals, disappointedly, the cronyism is more imminent than competition in the economic activities compared to the survey result of two years ago. It is a very unfortunate finding that, after painful struggle to improve economic foundation since the foreign exchange crisis of 1997, the economic consciousness of Koreans has retrogressed to feudal cronyism.

Right after the financial crisis, the government established a plan to improve Korean economy operating system from then retarded economic system to the market economy system of international standard. As for the concrete plans, the government has repeated the significance of the creation of fair competition circumstances and the transparent management.

However, the outcome is disappointing. Fair competition has been still overruled by regional relations and school relations. And consequently, the transparency of the business relations have worsened more and more as time goes on. People now witness the humble result of the government’s effort for the reformation.

From the outcome of the national consciousness research, it seems not clear whether the government has failed in the market reformation or the market system is not operating properly even after the successful reformation of the system. However, the obvious fact is that people do not experience positive result of the reformation. The propagandized achievements of the reformation are only acknowledged as fading and superficial.

The government needs to reflect why its market reformation policies give such impressions to people. The top-down hierarchical management has continued without regard to the public criticism. Preponderant personnel management of high rank officials based on a particular region convinced people to believe the importance of cronyism. The government cannot persuade people to follow the rules when the government itself is obstructing the rules.

According to the research, the need for the consciousness reformation of the government officials has increased since 1998, which shows the reformation in the public area has not reached the people’s expectation. In this circumstances, there is no base for the government to drive the private industries to continue their reformations.

The echelon for the reformation achievement of this administration is revealed in the survey showing a daily downgrade for past three and half years. But more serious problem than the low grade of this administration is that the quality of Korean market economy has not improved.

To establish a market order based on fair competition, the administration has to put a priority on the morality and transparency in the human resource management and the policy establishment and performance. The only way to acquire of the support from people is for the to government establish a fair personnel management system and performs policies in honesty.