[EDITORIALS]Time to listen, Mr. RohPresident Roh Moo-hyun does not seem to comprehend the seriousness of the government’s poor ability to manage the economy, which is serious. The current economic difficulties are attributed to a lack of principles and consistency in the government’s economic policy, which has created mistrust among companies and the people. The government’s economic team has failed to take the initiative and wavered to the demands of interest groups and political interests. Mr. Roh did the unexpected by mentioning that a new system was being launched when uncertainties rising from a lack of strong leadership are the main cause for the anxiety.
A few days ago at a Blue House meeting, influential leaders in business circles expressed concern over the lack of leadership in managing the nation’s economy. The leaders proposed that the deputy prime minister and minister of finance and economy have greater power in mapping out economic policies. Mr. Roh replied, “Although the new system seems to lack consistency and is in a chaotic state, it will take time for that system to take root.” The remark gave an impression that the president is defending the current system.
We believe what Mr. Roh dubbed the “current system” is loaded with problems. A stronger minister of finance and economy is not always the best solution to all the problems. But under a “normal system,” economic ministers approach pending issues based on market principles, and mutual consent of ministers are pushed forward without being shaken. There is something wrong with the current system in which an influential non economic figure in the Blue House intervenes in economic issues. Political considerations are the priority in such interventions instead of economic considerations. This is the reason why companies are suspending investments and why the economy remains slack despite government efforts to stimulate it.
The economy will not perk up unless the government makes efforts to understand the economic anxieties and corrects the situation. Mr. Roh should listen carefully to the leaders of the business community.