[EDITORIALS]After the euphoria fades

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[EDITORIALS]After the euphoria fades

The World Cup finals continue for Korea. We have been building a new sense of boundless confidence in ourselves and awakening to the potential we were not so sure we had. But the World Cup games are not the be-all and end-all.

We are free to enjoy the matches, but it is time we start to regroup and prepare to use that potential to tackle the reality that lies before us.

We do not have to be reminded that the greatest task after the finals are over will be to push our economy to the world's center stage, just as we did in soccer. That was just the topic of discussion at the Blue House on Wednesday among the president and business leaders meeting to find ways to maximize the economic effects of the World Cup.

But history has shown that playing host to the World Cup games does not guarantee success in the years following. Argentina after 1978 and Mexico after 1986 saw their economies retreat after hosting the games, and France is still struggling to escape a slowdown four years after hosting the last event.

The best way to guarantee a fine outcome is in determination. Just as in 1988 after we hosted the summer Olympics, we have planted the seeds for an upgrading of the country. How those seeds are cultivated will determine whether they bear fruit.

The business sector ought to be gearing up a global marketing campaign and the government should put together a post-World Cup program. The World Cup has proved that we are a major player in the world, fully capable of competing on the world stage and winning. It is time for our economy to take a similar leap by becoming more globally oriented and moving closer to the center of business activity.

Many people are already worried about July, when the World Cup finals will be over and political catfights back in the spotlight. Will there be anything to live for? We want to stress that the country's leadership must take charge and produce a vision and political and social programs that can excite the people once again, and at the same time strengthen the economic foundations of the country.
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