[EDITORIALS]Economic needs urgentThe Bank of Korea announced that the economy recorded only 3.7 percent growth in the first three months this year. This means that the difficulties the economy is experiencing now are more serious than anyone anticipated. In practice, Korea’s gross domestic product recorded negative growth in the first quarter, leaving the economy supported by growth in the construction sector and exports.
Looking back on the track record of the government, we can see there are reasons for such a poor economic performance. The new government has pursued labor friendly policies, changed its stance on important policies and made irritating statements to the United States. Korean businessmen lost incentives and investors avoided Korea, because group egoism was rampant and the business environment faded as a result of the government’s attitude. While the world economy still struggles in a swamp of depression, the threats from SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, and the North Korean nuclear program persist, and huge amounts of credit card debt pose potential threats to the economy.
The Korean economy is losing its vitality fast. An increasing number of factories has ceased operation, and commodity markets have lost customers. Worse, there is no immediate solution to this trouble. Since money is overflowing in the market, there is no need to supply more. Even if more money is supplied, it will only aggravate speculation in real estate.
But we still do not recognize the seriousness of the situation. The economy is on the back burner while society is engaged in conflicts of ideologies, regions, generations and social strata. Only some businessmen and grassroots people are concerned, but politicians and interest groups are busy taking their own shares.
The government must emphasize a strong “economy first” policy. It is urgent that illegal labor activities and violations of social order disappear from our workplaces. The government must show by action that it respects market principles. If Korea is trapped in another economic crisis, the entire nation will suffer under the hardship.