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[Editorial] Politics that Creates Jobs

Posted August. 25, 2009 07:28,   


The Korean economy is receiving mixed signals. Rising stock prices, improving consumer sentiment and increased foreign direct investment in the country are fueling optimism. Yet domestic corporate investment and employment remain in a slump. The country’s 10 biggest companies in market capitalization invested 13.8 trillion won (11.1 billion U.S. dollars) in the first six months of this year, down 9.1 percent from the same period last year. The prospects of hiring by major private and state-run corporations remain dim.

While the roles of government and business in investment and job creation are important, the political circle should also help. Political stability, rule of law, and legal and systemic support for investment and job creation are urgently needed. It is outrageous to ask businesses to invest and create jobs in a country where politicians resort to violence and illegal measures while misleading the public with false agitations.

The Grand National Party won 48.7 percent of votes in the 2007 presidential election, earning 5.3 million votes more than its rival, the Democratic Party. The ruling party also won a parliamentary majority in last year’s general elections despite its internal feud over candidate nominations. It has, however, been weak in handling key bills on the economy and the people’s livelihood due to factional feuds and fear of new groups with vested interests that grew powerful over the country’s 10 years under leftist governments.

The main opposition Democratic Party and the progressive Democratic Labor Party always talk about caring for the lower income and middle class. In reality, they often get in the way of efforts to create jobs out of intent to attack the incumbent administration and the ruling party. A case in point is their opposition to media reform, which will help create quality jobs and correct chronic biases in reporting by networks.

The two parties seek political gains by protecting the vested interests of terrestrial broadcasters that have ignored the journalistic ethics of respecting the truth and conducted lax management by colluding with leftist administrations. In addition, the parties often fan public antipathy against big business or promote class conflict while joining hands with groups resorting to violence. Such behavior also burdens the economy.

The political circle should quit futile arguments that have nothing to do with the people’s lives. It is time for parties to compete in formulating policies for creating jobs while minimizing fiscal spending. The conflict between democratic and anti-democratic forces seen in the days of authoritarian governments exists no longer. Politics geared toward drying the tears of people who wish to work but have no jobs is the politics of national unity.