[EDITORIALS]Underwhelming Economic DecisionsAfter two days of agonizing discussions, the ruling and the opposition parties finally came to several agreements at an economic policy coordination meeting. It is fortunate that the two parties stopped their political strife, at least for a moment, and came to decisions on how to address the current economic conditions. The two parties agreed to expedite exports and investments and stabilize the livelihoods of the people.
Yet, we are still disappointed at several points. First, the agreement about restructuring is dismaying. The ruling and the opposition parties both understood that in order to normalize the economy, restructuring should be accelerated and uncertainty in our economy should be eliminated. At the meeting, the two sides agreed to continue restructuring and adopt an expansionary policy to revive the economy at the same time. Such a lukewarm agreement is extremely disappointing because it lacks tangible resolutions and strong determination.
Furthermore, we were bewildered because of the agreement about easing regulations on large business groups. The two parties agreed to "consider" changing regulations from controlling the top 30 largest business groups to controlling companies with more than a certain value of assets. We cannot understand how politicians plan to encourage investments by large business groups by easing regulations with such a general plan.
Even at the meeting planned to discuss how to overcome the economic slump and plan the future of our national economy, both sides failed to free themselves from the popular sentiment that all conglomerates must be firmly regulated across the board. Keeping the regulations on large business groups ignores the changed management environment, such as global competition, strict antitrust controls on conglomerates and better monitoring systems on management.
Many experts advise that loosened regulations are needed in order to revive and sustain exports and investments. Haven't the ruling and the opposition parties also made the same point?
If transparent, responsible and sound management was the fundamental purpose of reforming and regulating the chaebol, the government should at least loosen regulations for companies which have strived to improve management. That would be a good first step.