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[Opinion] Revenge Transfers

Posted March. 17, 2007 07:43,   


Japanese tend to use many English words in their daily conversations. The word “revenge” is one of those words. While the word has a negative meaning in Korea, it carries a neutral meaning in Japan. With the recent revitalization of the country’s economy, Japanese office workers are leaving their companies to move to other companies that offer better working conditions. They call this phenomenon the “revenge transfer.”

The Koreans envy Japan’s economic recovery, which has led to the creation of quality jobs and empowers office workers. Companies who lost workers might be not happy, but such a phenomenon will revitalize the overall economy and society for sure. Talent placed at the right time in the right place raises productivity for corporations and the country. Increasing individual income leads to increasing consumption, which in turn accelerates economic recovery: a virtuous cycle of economic revitalization.

Indeed, what is happening in Japan is more of the result of the booming economy, rather than revenge by office workers. It is fair to say that the entire country is taking revenge for the “lost decade.” This shows how great an impact the economy has on the everyday lives of people and how important market-based leadership is.

In contrast, the policy Korea is pushing ahead with is almost like “revenge” by those in the government, rather than one based on good intentions and a universal approach. The real estate tax is a shining example. The multiplying real estate tax sends a message to taxpayers: “You can move, if you don’t want to pay that much.” It also urges the public to hate those who are better off.

The government does not run advertisements in major newspapers critical of it. This is another form of revenge. It is natural that newspapers with a large readership offer high advertisement effects. By not running its advertisements in such newspapers intentionally, the government reaches fewer readers with its ads, which is a misuse of taxpayers’ money. This kind of revenge against “critical newspapers” is tantamount to a violation of the “people’s right to know.” The government should make implementing normal policies to create jobs its top priority, if not encouraging the “revenge transfer” phenomenon. But it is deplorable that the government just turns a deaf ear to such advice.

Hong Chan-sik, Editorial Writer, chansik@donga.com