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[Editorial] Stop Support for Anti-business Civic Groups

Posted September. 27, 2008 09:13,   


Finance guru George Soros launched his philanthropic career in the late 1970s when the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain began to show signs of rupture. He said being stingy in investment in peace is a mistake while wasting on war. Soros said the role of companies and entrepreneurs goes beyond simply helping the poor and involves fostering those who believe in capitalism. He offered students in former communist countries scholarships to study in Western countries, and established a university teaching market economy in his home country of Hungary.

Korean companies are often said to be unwilling to loosen their purse strings for market economy, free democracy and rule of law, but offer financial assistance to leftist groups that spread “anti-business, anti-free trade and anti-market” rhetoric. Under the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration, a number of corporations had to offer “assistance” to groups fanning anti-business sentiment for fear of being targeted by the groups close to the left-wing government. Consequently, the companies provided ammunition and nurtured the forces that oppose market economics and capitalism. Though they did not intend such results, such behavior is nothing short of inflicting self-injury on and denial of Korea’s democratic values.

According to a survey conducted by ruling party lawmaker Kim Yong-tae on the status of corporate support for civic organizations, leftist groups such as the Korea Federation for Environmental Movement have received significant aid from companies and public enterprises. One civic group got overseas tuition fees for 30 activists of about 40,000 U.S. dollars per head. These civic groups are allied with the Korean Alliance against then Korea-U.S. FTA (free trade agreement) and the People’s Association for Measures against Mad Cow Disease. A considerable number of leftists played a role in disturbing the market economy by denying the right to wealth and rule of law and stigmatizing corporations as societal villains.

Our nation needs more figures like George Soros who willingly invest in spreading confidence in free economy and free trade. For business to defend and expand free economy values, they should make consistent investment and defend such values. Korean society is seeing the emergence of a host of anti-business forces and the people’s perception of the economy has been badly distorted. Corporations are also not free from criticism since they, driven by a desire to pursue their interests, joined hands with anti-business groups in the past.

The leftist groups should be ashamed of their dubious behavior in that they enjoy corporate assistance behind the scenes while espousing an anti-free market and anti-business stance on the surface.