Go to contents

[Editorial] Come Together to Overcome Hardship

Posted July. 26, 2008 03:30,   


The economic growth rate in the second quarter is estimated at 4.8 percent year-on-year (0.8 percent compared with the previous quarter). Domestic consumption rose by only 2.4 percent, the lowest in three years, compared with 4 percent last year. Facility investment grew by only 0.8 percent.

The government claims that stagflation has not yet come but it has already set in. Many experts see that the phase will continue one more year. It is difficult to defend the 10 billion won mark in current account deficits and there are few options available for boosting growth due to inflation.

Under the circumstances, all economic players must go back to the basics and restructure. Restructuring may remind us all of layoffs but the cost structure of businesses, the consumption structure of households, and the spending structure of the government should all be subject to review. National energy consumption also deserves our attention.

We should make efforts to improve productivity as well. In particular, labor and management should work together to bring productivity up to the highest level. The government and the National Assembly must speed up and improve efficiency in supporting policies and laws that create a business-friendly and sound consumption environment, and relieve the pain of ordinary citizens. The public need to unite to fight against those who stand in the way of the national effort to overcome and revive the economy.

The government must promptly make each economic player a to-do list. The top priority should be on reform in the public sector. Most people are furious about state-run corporations, the breeding ground of corruption and embezzlement. But if the government is hesitant about reforming them, people’s distrust of the government will grow and economic recovery will be impossible. Regardless of party lines, politicians should help reform in the public sector to enhance national competitiveness. It is not the right time for political or strategic arguments.

Park Jae-wan, the senior presidential secretary for political affairs, said in a lecture Friday, “Korea’s future depends on whether it passes the 30,000 dollar mark in per capita income from its current 27,000 dollars.” If the government has the will and determination to cross that mark, it should come up with voluntary restructuring plans and ask its people for sacrifice.

Creating even 200,000 jobs seems difficult this year and job insecurity is highly likely to amplify given the political and social situation. Labor, management and the government must come together to find solutions before it is too late.