[EDITORIALS]Economic leadership neededThe Federation of Korean Industries has said the Korean economy is in a crisis and expressed regret over the lack of “strong leadership.” It is unusual for the organization, which is cautious in criticizing the government, to make such a comment. We can imagine how serious and desperate the economic situation is.
The federation said that the Korean economy is in its worst state in 40 years. As the economy hit bottom, the typhoon has given it a severe blow, and growth this year could be below 3 percent. Young people are searching for jobs. Businessmen are gradually losing their will to manage businesses. Consumers are tightening their purse strings. The younger generation is eager to find a chance to emigrate. Since both individuals and businesses feel anxious, consumption as well as investment is shrinking.
Why is this happening? It is due to the lack of leadership. Even amid hardship, if there is reliable leadership, people will gather their strength, hoping for the future. Although demonstrations of collective egoism such as labor strikes and protests against nuclear waste facilities, and other social conflicts, continue endlessly, the government fails to play the role of coordinator. Things have changed a bit now, but until recently the government has shown an attitude of indifference, or rather sympathy, to the expression of collective egoism and anti-business sentiments. How can we expect the economy to recover under such circumstances?
It is fortunate that the business community has shown a will to lead the move to revive the economy. The government, or rather President Roh Moo-hyun, should not ignore the voices of the business community. He must give weight to its leadership and its effort to revive the economy. And he must lead the move. Job creation should be the top priority and efforts should be made to create a business-friendly environment. He must persuade labor and interest groups to join hands, and he must stand firm on law and order. The participation of politicians is also a must. With their participation, the driving force for growth will be reactivated.