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[Editorial] Cheer Up, Korea

Posted December. 18, 2006 07:04,   


Alvin Toffler and Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric (GE), gave a few pieces of advice to Korea on Friday. Toffler, who was visiting Seoul, said that Korea will have no future unless it changes its whole education system in order to produce creative human resources. Meanwhile, Welch said during a video lecture organized by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy that Korea should treat product innovators as heroes. We should keep their advice in mind. In particular, Toffler said that Korea’s homogeneous education system is ruining the national economy, pointing out the problems of the country’s education crisis

There are also many old Korean proverbs that point out the importance of good education. The government should have paid greater attention to public consensus before making education and economic policies. The government, however, has put too much emphasis on equality of education for political benefits, classifying the public into haves and not-haves, as well as educated and uneducated. Instead of lifting regulations to revitalize the economy, the government has stubbornly interfered in the market as much as possible. These are the causes that made the last four years of Korea a “lost four years.”

However, it is too early to panic. While the two figures were criticizing Korea, Clarkson, a British research institute specialized in the shipbuilding market, announced that Korean shipbuilders have dominated all the world’s top five positions in terms of the volume of residual orders for the fifth consecutive month in the second half of this year. This has proved once again that Korea is the world’s mightiest shipbuilding powerhouse. In addition, Samsung Electronics also recently announced that it has successfully developed One DRAM for the first time in the world. One DRAM is a fusion memory chip that combines data transmission memory of mobile DRAM and SRAM. Samsung Electronics forecasts that the market for One DRAM will reach 2.5 billion dollars until 2011.

In that sense, Toffler and Welch, the world’s renowned economists, should pay careful attention to the success stories of Korean businesses. Korea has not only built the world’s first LNG re-gasification vessel, but also an LPG vessel onshore for the first time in the world. No one can underestimate Korean shipbuilders’ creativity and challenging spirit. Hwang Chang-gyu, the chief of Samsung Electronics semiconductor division, has introduced memory chips of twice bigger capacity for the seventh consecutive year. This phenomenon is now recognized as “Hwang’s law” and his achievement is now considered one of the world’s greatest achievements.

Koreans have very strong potential. Once they are determined, there is nothing that can stop them. If an environment that can encourage Koreans to maximize their potential is created, Korea will see more of these spectacular achievements. The government officials, including the president and low-ranking civil servants, should keep this in mind. They are the ones who should pay greatest attention to the advice of Toffler and Welch.