Posted January. 13, 2005 23:01,
President Roh Moo-hyun made it clear yesterday in his New Years press conference that the economic recovery is the first priority among national agendas. There are no people who do not want to see the government focus on solving economic problems and yield tangible results. It is hoped that President Rohs resolution will take root as the direction of the national agenda and become a driving force in the revitalization of the economy and peoples livelihoods.
However, the economic tasks that the government touched upon are no different from those of last year and two years ago. Rather, it is fair to say that the accumulated problems only worsened. If the administration does feel responsibility for that, it should learn lessons from reflection on its poor economic management so far and transform itself, rather than just vaguely say that it plans to do a good job from now on. In addition, it should draw up detailed measures based on clear prioritization and reasonable budget planning rather than repeatedly speaking about general goals and tasks.
President Roh confirmed the effective stimulus package in the press conference, including focusing on investment in the first half, and earlier implementation of a comprehensive investment plan. The investment, employment, and consumption environments would have been improved had the government sought balance between countermeasures against real estate investment speculation and measures to revive the construction industry, and tried to deregulate reflecting appeals from the business sector to the law and to the system. Moreover, the economy would have been in a better shape if the administration had looked less unstable and encouraged investment and consumption sentiment in terms of ideological leaning, perspectives of the market, business, industrial relations, classes, and rich and poor.
It is important that the government accept the working principles of the market and economic psychology as they are without being preoccupied with political or ideological stance. For instance, the government will find it hard to revitalize the market if it maintains stubborn policies in the name of some causes like speculation and discrepancies are evil. If that happens, growth and distribution cannot go hand in hand. It should acknowledge that it is more effective to remove roadblocks for the private sector to increase investment than to put forth a government-driven investment plan designed to induce abundant private money into public investment ventures.
The ruling and opposition parties must not consume their energy with counterproductive political bickering in order to help the governments practical approach to economic recovery to be successful. In addition, large conglomerates should be considerate of small-to-medium-sized companies, and labor unions should be considerate of weak workers and the jobless, to grow the pie of the economy. Also, cooperation between various opinion groups is badly needed.