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[Editorial] Will `One Percent Of Budget On Culture ` Collapse?

[Editorial] Will `One Percent Of Budget On Culture ` Collapse?

Posted July. 09, 2001 09:26,   


As the government was reported to plan to cut the budget on culture next year, the cultural circle is resisting the plan. This is nothing but the backward culture policy since the government promised the `1 percent budget on culture`.

Through its first review on the 2002 budget of 1.6 trillion won requested by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Budget and Planning selected many items, such as the aids for the local culture cultivation, funds for the establishment of the local cultural hall, and the fees for purchasing the public library resources, as the targets of the budget cut. If this is carried on, the budget on culture is to be less than the budget (1.045 trillion won) of this year, and it does not reach the 1 percent of the government budget.

What is the true nature of the culture policy, which has been advocated by the government? When the government allotted more than one percent of the government budget on culture in 1999 for the year 2000, it said that ``this budget reflects the government’s firm advocate on the culture policy.``

President Kim Dae-Jung said at the dialogue with the people in March, ``For the first time since the civil government, the budget on culture exceeded 1 percent. Culture has strong power not only in terms of the mental richness but also in terms of the economy. It is worth supporting culture for the economic profits as well.``

When the budget on culture is to be cut, such a remark is to become empty words. Among the items on which the budget is to be cut, there are many items in regard to the cultivation of the local culture. This is contradictory to the government’s goal to improve the local cultural conditions under the slogan of the `year of the local culture`. This is so because the budget cut means the disregard of the local culture.

Moreover, it is hard to comprehend why the government decided to cut the budget on the local culture while it emphasized the importance of it. For example, the budget cut on the fees to purchase the library resources indicates that the government is not aware of the basic fact that the true cultural contents are embedded in books in the digital time. Our cultural reality is still barren. The level of the budget on culture per person belongs to the lowest among the OECD countries. Culture needs the national and social support more than any other areas. Korea’s national pride in culture, which began with the `culture budget of 1 percent`, should not be frozen again by the standardized economic logic, which does not consider the `particularity of culture`.

Since there is still time until the decision is finalized, Ministry of Culture and Tourism can hopefully discuss this matter with the government. Investment on culture is the investment on economy and future.