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[Opinion] Single-Mindedness

Posted May. 15, 2005 23:24,   


A single-minded person is someone who directs all his or her attention to one purpose or goal no matter what the cost. Unfortunately, single-minded people are leading many of the policies of the participatory government. As a result, the Korean economy is staggering.

Since its inauguration, the participatory government has made a fuss about reform. The purpose of this reform was to exclude the privileged class from the policy-making process. The targets were the chaebols, the wealthy, residents of Gangnam (the most privileged area in Seoul), prosecutors, bureaucrats and media who were accused of being conservative, infringing rules, and ruining the country. So-called new and progressive people replaced them. They have become the new mainstream of the country. Rather than dedicating themselves to enhancing national competitiveness, however, it is regrettable that they still seem to focus on undermining the privileged.

As various policies failed to stabilize real-estate prices over the last two years, the participatory government declared war against real-estate speculation and implemented ultra-tough regulations, such as the new real-estate taxation system. However, it is doubtful if such regulations would stabilize the elevated housing prices in Gangnam area because the fundamental reason for increasing realty prices is the current high school entrance system, which compels students to go to schools near their residence.

Since the early stage of its term, the participatory government has pursued a self-reliant defense policy. It has tried to solve the North Korean nuclear issue by courting North Korea and China, thus damaging the ROK-U.S. alliance. However, North Korea is threatening the world with its nuclear power under China’s support, and South Korea is in even greater danger.

As single-minded policymakers have worsened the military tension on the Korean peninsula, even the recovering economy seems to be affected. It would be difficult to achieve the goal of joining the ranks of advanced nations with a single-minded attitude that shuns a particular group of people. It is the time for them to have an open mind.

Na Seong-rin, Guest editorialist, Economics professor at Hanyang University, hwalin@hanyang.ac.kr