Economic FirestormIt's all a coincidence, the massive forest fires in Kangwon Province have barely been extinguished and stock markets in the United States plummeted at the same time as the Korean General Elections finished. The fires in nature has been extingished, but when will a fire break out in Korean politics or the economy.
As soon as the elections ended, there was talk about national conventions for the Korean political parties. The Grand National Party (GNP) has their's planned for May or June and the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) plans to hold one in September in preparation for the 2002 Presidential Elections. Some people are asking, "Elections already?"
For the scorched forests to regain their former glory experts estimate a period of 40 to 100 years. Like the effort it will take to regenerate the forests, the same energy will be needed to revitalize the economy damaged by the elections. The blackened mountains are visible, but it's impossible to see how badly damaged the economy is.
Elections are like regular fires to Korea's economy. Whether the damage is big or small, it always leaves it's mark. The currency crisis that Korea went through in 1997 was the result of a conflict between the ruling party and opposition party before the presiential elections.
In the General Election this year, some areas in the economicy of Korea have started to burn. As rumors about the national debt on the rise and national wealth leaking out start, the labor unions at car companies did not miss their chance to add to the problems.
It's hard enough to take care of the damage done by the elections, but a huge fire has started in the United States which could easily spread to Korea.
The GNP, the majority party, started to criticize the government over the national debt, but the question of whether the party should pressure the government when the stock market is having a hard time must be asked. Should the government delay in taking care of insolvency in the market because they're afraid of the national debt? And should insolvent firms be kept from being sold to foriegn companies because of worries about national wealth leaking out? Should the goverment raise interest rates, just to keep consumer prices from rising?
If the problems with financial firms and companies are delayed any further, the present problems will only grow. Insolvent companies need to be taken out of the system to get rid of the uneasiness in the market. Now that the elections are over, both parties need to brainstorm together on how to acquire the funds needed to straighten out insolvent firms. The problem with the national debt is next in priority.
Both parties must cooperate in order to restore the environment we live in, as another crisis might rise up and there isn't much time with people who are already thinking about the nest elections in just a little while.
by Kim Su-gil