[EDITORIALS]A second financial crisis?

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[EDITORIALS]A second financial crisis?

Five years have passed since Seoul applied for relief funds from the International Monetary Fund. Recently there are evaluations from overseas that Korea has overcome the crisis, and the shameful image of Korea is also changing. But it is too early for us to feel reassured that we have succeeded in turning a crisis into an opportunity. Rather we are in a situation where we have to worry over the recurrence of another crisis.

After the outbreak of the foreign exchange crisis in 1997, we poured a huge amount of public funds into our financial institutions. But the outcome is miles away from what we expected. The present economic instability is rather a product of the current administration's greed to boost the economy. The rapid increase in household loans threatens the foundation of the financial sector. We should also keep an eye on the rising amount of short-term loans from overseas. Despite sustained reform efforts, the basis for large-scale insolvencies remains. The gap between rich and poor grows wider, and unemployment among the highly educated work force rises.

The IMF funds were necessary for relief of the liquidity crisis. But the core of the problem was the inability of our inefficient and outdated economic system to meet rapidly changing international economic trends. In order to be on our feet again, we have to dig into the roots of the problem and reflect on our past deeds. We have already lost a chance to do so by abandoning without fruitful results parliamentary hearings on the economic crisis and investigation of the bail-out fund. Nobody is free of responsibility for the economic crisis; we, officials, businessmen and laborers, stayed in our seats like bystanders.

The urgent task is not simply to overcome a crisis but to find the source of the energy needed for sustained economic growth. Economic instability in the administration's final days should be tackled so that the problem will not be handed over to the next government. The foreign exchange crisis is not remote history. No one can assure that it will not repeat.
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