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[Opinion] If Not Socialist

Posted August. 11, 2001 08:32,   


Although I am not worthy to contradict the opinions of a highly knowledgeable person who at one time even served as the vice chairman of the Economic Committee, I cannot readily agree with Unification Party member and chairman of the Policy Committee, Kim Man Jae’s `Socialism`. Although Kim uses the example of state controlled finances as the basis for arguing that, although such mechanisms existed during his time as vice chairman, no one called that administration Socialist. The same thing applies when we look at the issue of public funds. If chairman Kim confronted a crisis during his tenure as the committee vice chair, could he find the money to salvage the weakened financial system without relying on public funds?

When the Unification Party came into power, former President Kim Young Sam stated, ``the haves will suffer.`` a frightening statement that conjures up a Fascist, police state rather than a socialist one. The records show that successive administrations in power propounded Socialist rhetoric countless times, but the amazing thing is that no one criticized them as a Socialist government.

Why, then, is there so much controversy over the Socialism debate after the induction of the sole `People’s Government`? Does the administration know why most corporations and business leaders are eyeing the state with anxiety and suspicion despite the state’s strong objections to the contrary? The opposition party’s baseless ideological offensive is reaching the public ear. The ruling party must have an interest in understanding what this might mean.

Even if the Democratic Party, which supposedly is backed by the people, acts according to its word, it can go in a direction different from former administrations. Moreover, if the present administration is building its welfare state policy on the discomfort of the haves, a heated debate in this crude climate is inevitable. In this situation, the ruling party administration reinforced its persuasion efforts but the easily defensive ruling party had little success with the opposition party and public opinion. At a time when their fiscal policies are suspect, this kind of attitude on the part of the ruling party could be said to have caused the whole socialism debate. Even further, the ruling party’s insistence that the current debate is caused by misunderstanding and backstabbing tactics, at a time when many of its problems remain unsolved, cannot win the public’s agreement.

Although it is not my personal view, the global economy has already demonstrated the superior efficiency of capitalism over Socialism. The Winner Takes All philosophy of the market domination approach may be judged as a negative, but the belief that this is precisely what drives people to succeed and society to progress has only gotten stronger with time. The reason why corporations and business leaders are so anxious these days is because they see the current administration’s `Equality-ism` as undermining the very heart of the capitalist system. Corporate businessmen are arguing that many economic policies, when judged from the market standpoint, amount to being anti-capitalist. To analyze whether this is a correct or incorrect assessment through a bi-partisan legal review will turn into a useless debate and such debate is not to the administration’s advantage. The important thing is that the economically driven corporations feel that this is so. Undermining the status and authority of capitalist foundations by reform disputes over private school regulations and market management discussions is reason enough to start an ideological warfare in the market place. But the administration went further and added fuel to the fire by advancing a government-controlled trade committee out of the blue.

Especially worrisome to corporations is the fact that such governmental policies get popular backing from civil organizations. The fact that such display of direct opposition to corporations by civil organizations of the ideological left should trouble the administrations, since there is nothing advantageous in the anxiety and burden that it places on the greater silent majority.

If an administration armed with market regulation and corporate control rules the country, there remains nothing capitalist about the economic system. Whatever the justification or method, when limits are set on private property rights and the rule of equality dominates society, the corporate drive will disappear and economic power weaken. When the economy dies, the world will become a true place of equality and the ruling party will no longer suffer the nightmare of ideological warfare. Perhaps that`s what the administration wants? If not, the party members will know what must be done.

Lee Kyu-Min kyumlee@donga.com