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Stick to Market Principles No Matter How Twisted Situations Get

Stick to Market Principles No Matter How Twisted Situations Get

Posted July. 23, 2004 22:09,   


“Stick to market principles no matter how twisted and difficult situations get,” said Lee Hun-jai, minister of Finance and Economy (MOFE), on Friday.

“Given the current economic situation, we will not persist in overachieving this year’s tax revenues,” the minister said. “We will also control the degree of tax investigation.”

The minister emphasized the principles of market economy again during the regular press conference at the Gwacheon government complex. “A market is important but not perfect, so we have to implement policies that can correct market flaws while abiding by market principles.”

“No matter how difficult, multifaceted efforts should be made to enhance flexibility in the labor market,” said the minister.

With regard to his comment that a real market economy might not take root in Korea, the minister explained that he spoke ironically, stating that we should do more to achieve a better market system.

“My remarks show that the Korean economy has matured,” argued the minister when he was asked whether such remarks would negatively affect Korea’s international credit rating.

Over his critical comment on the so-called 386 generation, the minister said, “I did not specifically point out the 386 generation. I just mentioned that people in their 30s and 40s should play more important roles and bear more responsibility.” The 386 generation refers to people who were born in the 1960s, attended college in the 1980s, and were in their 30s when the term came into vogue.

Minister Lee added that he would meet the 386 generation lawmakers when the right time comes, but would not arrange the meeting now.

In regard to the introduction of aggregate land tax, the minister announced that he would not change tax rates to ease tax burden and artificially defend the exchange rates to boost exports.

During the press conference, the minister strived to appease controversies over his skeptical comments on market economy and the economic ignorance of the 386 generation.

Chi-Young Shin higgledy@donga.com