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[Editorial] Covering Ears on Concerns about the Roh Regime

[Editorial] Covering Ears on Concerns about the Roh Regime

Posted August. 19, 2004 22:19,   


While public livelihood is at its nadir, there seldom is talk about future and hope. What prompted such senior figures as former presidents and former prime ministers as well as economists to speak out is their sense of crisis: As things as they are presently, divisions in the public and a falling economy will slide into an irreversible crisis.

“Why do you divide the public into progressive and conservative at every opportunity?” former Prime Minister Kang Young-hoon [indirectly] asked President Roh Moo-hyun at a seminar. He added, “The conservative camp should not be condemned as a corrupt bunch.” His remarks probably oozed anger over President Roh’s attacking of the past governments as part of a topsy-turvy history and as corrupt dictatorial bunches, instead of being impartial about their upsides and downsides.

Those who are at the center of the current government appear to be captured with illusions that they have monopolized reforms and that any opposition to them is anti-reform. The way they attacked those who have a difference in view suggests that they are not that different than the past dictatorial regime, which they claim we should make a complete break with.

We can meet no one who is not worrying about the economy these days. However, the government and the ruling party appear to blame the press’ smearing campaign on the public’s perception of a bad economy or understand it as a publicity stunt by opponents to its reform drive. At a meeting with GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye, former president Kim Dae-jung, who had been cautious in commenting on politics since he left office, said, “If things remain as they are presently, the economy will be in a considerable risk.” How can we understand Kim, who said 80 percent of the public worried about the economy, if the perception of a bad economy was manufactured by the conservative press?

The country’s five major business lobbies also spoke out and said, “The measures adopted by the government and the ruling party run counter to the free-market principle.” Economists have begun to raise concerns about the government’s pro-labor and anti-corporation culture, which will lead to a falling international competitiveness, and economic policies that are held hostage to the leftist values stressing distribution and equality.

The government should stop favoring “reform reports” made by its peripheral organizations, which share the same political “code” and open its ears to various opinions. In this way, it can forestall the failure that is caused by its own collective thinking. A failure of the government results in the misfortune of the public and the country.