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[Editorial] Economic Recovery: Will President Keep Repeating General Principles?

[Editorial] Economic Recovery: Will President Keep Repeating General Principles?

Posted October. 25, 2004 23:12,   


The government and its political leaders have been saying they would concentrate on economic recovery several times since the birth of this administration. However, why hasn’t the economy and the livelihood of the people improved? Now that I heard his administrative policy speech, I would like to question President Roh again. The president’s speech dealt mainly with economic issues. However, I cannot help but feel frustrated with his theoretical approach to the problem

Politicians were busy creating political wrangling and conflict when they brought up issues that the majority of people would not approve of. As the administration wasted the time and energy that were supposed to be spent on solving impending economic difficulties, government economists have started to sound like critics. They addressed important issues, which had to be dealt with concrete policies, based on their own impetuous interpretations of the problems. My deeper concern is that prolonged political strife and confusion have mainly caused uncertainty among economic agents, the biggest enemy of the economy.

Let’s recall the situation five or six months ago right after the ruling party won the parliamentary election and the president escaped from his parliamentary impeachment. In those five or six months, the government should have put their efforts on taking care of the livelihood of people rather than lingering on pushing the capital relocation, investigating into past injustices and pro-Japanese groups during the Japanese rule, repealing the National Security Law, and disturbing the opposition and newspapers which provide critical insight. If the government had done so, the nation’s credit rating would have been enhanced, and more overseas investments would have been made in the market.

Again, I ask the politicians to push forward in building a practical environment for economic recovery and preparing subsequent policies. The president cannot just force the CEOs of the chaebols to make promises and predict that the nation’s gross national product will reach the $20,000 mark in order to lure more investments and create consumption and more jobs.

I do not understand why Mr. Roh said, “The problem is the economic system.” However, what is most important is to secure the free market system and self-control in the market. The current regime tends to interfere with the market and corporations, putting more value on transparency, fairness, equality, and distribution. At his administrative policy speech yesterday, he only repeated his general principles of lifting regulations.

Although, he said, “I would like to lead a society which recognizes and honors a person who does his or her best,” there have been a lot of cases that have dampened competitive motivation in social and economic fields. Even when the government pledged, “We are going to foster international-level universities in order to create key human resources,” the educational vision that undermines competitiveness prevailed in reality. With this political system and its policies, we will not be able to develop human resources and technology, create open competitiveness, and strengthen the nation’s competitiveness in the way that the president has emphasized.

Mr. Roh said, “Most of all, social and political stability is the priority.” Then, the government has to ask itself who is causing the instability and who is disturbing the establishment of the order of law. When the government and the ruling camp admit their responsibility and amend their faults, consumer sentiment may improve in the end.