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[Editorial] Chance and Opportunity of the Global Labor Market

[Editorial] Chance and Opportunity of the Global Labor Market

Posted January. 30, 2007 06:47,   


At the Davos Forum in Switzerland, trade ministers from 26 countries have agreed to resume the negotiation of the WTO Doha Development Agreement (WTO DDA). With globalization deepening, DDA is about to catch up with the Korea-US FTA. It is crucial to close the Korea-US FTA and prepare for the advent of a new era.

As China and India have been absorbed into the market economy system, global companies are now crossing borders to look for good and cheap labor force. The Global Employment Era has opened. If a country cannot obtain comparative advantages, its industries and employment will be attacked. The new hiring order is not very favorable to Korea. Korea is now acquiring comparative advantage in technological and capital intensive markets, but it is losing in labor intensive industries. Creation of jobs in simple mass production plants has reached its limits.

And yet, regarding the handling of the situation, the change in the labor market can be a good chance to us, since the quality and potential of the Korean labor force is very strong. Whether a nation or individual, this should elevate the quality of the labor force to create more jobs. By nurturing the manpower necessary for an Information Technology society, we should grow our competitive power in a high value-added service era and small quantity batch production industry.

To lower labor cost, labor-related factors such as employment, lay-offs, re-employment, and salary should be flexible. In Detroit, U.S., the strong labor union has hollowed out the whole city. From this case, we can find the lesson in which the hostile relations between labor and capital can kill the company and workers concurrently. The Korean Confederation of Trade Union, which just has organized its new leadership, should read the new trend of the world and fix the old way of stifles.

German President Horst Kohler said, “The creation of jobs comes first before every national policy.” The governments of advanced countries put their priority in the creation of jobs. Our government has continually said it has been practicing such policies, but the actual policies are completely opposite. The ultimate purpose of economic policies is to promote national interests and the welfare of the people, and job creation is the foundation of economy. To the government, which has reduced jobs and only increased the unemployment among young adults, the people will turn their backs.