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[Editorial] Economy, Action Must Come First

Posted January. 14, 2004 22:50,   


Economy and action has to come first.

In his New Year’s news conference, President Roh announced that employment is the best public welfare and that he would make job creation his number one policy in 2004. Following this, he also mentioned the need for Korea’s economy to address urgent tasks such as strengthening state competitiveness, improving labor-management relations, improving the investment environment, supporting new technology and the talented, and lessening the effects of speculation. Economic recovery and growth, which is a prerequisite for the creation of more jobs, was not included in his speech. This happens sometimes, however.

Throughout his news conference yesterday, we believe that President Roh tried hard to address the question of whether growth or distribution comes first, Roh inclined policy, seen at the beginning of his presidency and the corresponding worries of domestic and international investors alike, centered on this. Roh has decided to focus his economic policy on solving problems of basic needs through the market system.

On the other hand, President Roh has to turn his eyes and see how the collective selfishness of lawmakers and administration opportunism preserves harmful regulation before stating, “Disintegrating policies, made with vision, will result in the system breaking down.” Furthermore, rather than acting sensitively to criticism about the uncertainty of policies, Roh has to turn unfaithful minds about the vagueness of policy target and government ability of solving pending economic problems into faithful ones by acting accordingly.

A government with the will to repair the economy is not enough. Setting a clear policy based on modest reality checks, mobilizing available means, and putting consistency into practice and a leadership that will bring a result of economic bodies compromising, sacrificing and understanding has to all come together.

Even if jobs are created, it is hard to expect huge economic successes just from meetings of economic leaders or creating a labor-management progress roadmap. For example, specific solutions and actions that could lift fundamental obstacles such as excessive employment protection of regular jobs and massive companies’ labor-union centered collective egoism are in need. A muddled policy that vacillates between abandoning and centralizing at the point when collective national and partial wealth meet, cannot solve any problems.

President Roh proclaims that change needs time. However, time is not infinite. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has emerged recently as well, is re-tooling Brazil’s economy into a world growth engine in short period of time. Roh has to keep his promise of not disturbing the economy due to the presidential election by putting his promises into action.