[EDITORIALS]Sift agendas for ideas

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[EDITORIALS]Sift agendas for ideas

One of the most striking phenomena of this presidential election year is that national agendas for Korea's future are sprouting like weeds after a rain.

The Korea Economic Research Institute, an affiliate of the Federation of Korean Industries, has released a report that can be considered a business agenda for the future; it proposes a set of policy tasks for the next administration.

The report, the first of three that the institute plans to issue, covers four major areas: political, public corporation and fiscal, judicial and government administrative. The institute argues in the document that in order for Korea to join the world's most advanced nations, we must promote a market-driven economy and establish the rule of law by making reform of political processes a priority.

Such proposals, although made by the business community and aimed primarily at improving the business climate, have a universal value. Political parties, which the paper says need to be reformed, also agree with the political reform proposal.

Some of the paper's arguments should be publicly debated for example, it calls on businesses and politicians to confess to the public their dark past of slush funds. After such revelations, a blanket pardon would be issued and political fund-raising reforms put in place. The paper also calls for the system of hiring government administrative and judicial officials to be overhauled to make those institutions smaller and more efficient.

Also worth considering is the proposal that state-run broadcasting companies such as KBS 2 and MBC be privatized as part of the government's efforts to retool the public sector. But some of the report's suggestions of a new constitutional order, including a four-year, double-term presidency, would require a national referendum.

When the JoongAng Ilbo proposed a 10-point national agenda at the beginning of this year, it stressed that such tasks were part of efforts to select a president and a government that meets national goals. In the same vein, the business community's proposals should be examined and, if they are found to be good ideas, put into government policies or be used as a yardstick for evaluating candidates for the presidency.
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