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Restructuring of the Korean Economy is Needed

Posted December. 24, 2004 22:40,   


“To revive the Korean economy, proper restructuring is needed.”

Seoul National University President Jeong Un-chan, a close correspondent to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Ministry of the Finance and Economy Lee Heon-jae, has bitterly criticized the economic policies of the Roh Moo-hyun government.

President Jeong said, “Leave the economy to those who can restructure it,” and even asserted the necessity to replace the current economic team.

He added that the participatory government’s slogan of a seven percent economic growth rate and national per capita income of $20,000 could be a “trick of coefficients” and requested not to cling to economic boosting policies that focus on numbers.

He is planning to hold a special lecture on such matters under the subject heading of “The Korean Economy and Universities Through My Eyes” sponsored by the lawmakers’ gathering, Economic Research Association for People’s Livelihood (Chairman: Lee Seok-hyun), on December 27, at the National Assembly.

“To Revive the Korean Economy, We Must Begin with Restructuring”-

President Jeong indicated “constitutional reform through restructuring” to be the most urgent of problems that need to be solved.

He said, “The main body of economic reform needs to be properly established,” and proposed that someone who senses the urgency of the necessity of restructuring and who has the ability to promote it should supervise the economy.

President Jeong pointed out, “Many policy managers of the national government and the participatory government have said, ‘All problems will be solved on their own accord if you leave it to the market; why does the government constantly interfere;’ however, in an economy such as that of Korea where the market economy has not sufficiently settled in, some interference on the part of the government is needed.”

He also emphasized, “Whether it’s corporations or financial companies, restructuring is an urgent necessity. They need to be transparent about their activities and abide to the ‘law of survival of the fittest.’”

He indicates that the solution is to change the constitution of the economy through restructuring and in the process establish a social security system for the unemployment problem, not by artificially attempting to revive the economy.

“Seven Percent Economic Growth Rate and $20,000 Gross National Product (GNP), a Trick of Numbers”-

President Jeong said, “The high-speed growth of the past is impossible now. At the current economic scale of 500 trillion won of annual GNP, we must forget the growth legend of the past.” Regarding the $20,000 slogan, he criticized, “At a time when restructuring is needed, the economy should not be looked upon in the view of economic boosting.”

Concerning the current economic situation, he remarked, “Through an injection of the Ringer’s solution, you can force life into a weak constitution and maintain the temperature, but this does not connect to improving it.” He is indicating that the economic situation is so difficult due to the fact that over the last 40 years, policy managers have been negligent of strengthening the economy’s constitution.

President Jeong diagnosed, “By emphasizing makeshift measures to boost the economy, both economic boosting and micro restructuring have been a failure,” and, “Even the forecast of economic recovery after next year is obscure.”

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com