[EDITORIALS]Keeping jobs at homeKorean companies who see China as a good investment destination have rushed out ― about 22,000 Koreans firms operate there and employ about a million Chinese.
On the other hand, about 100,000 jobs left Korea with those 22,000 firms. This year, about 12 Korean firms a day are joining the China rush.
In a global economy, there is little difficulty for a firm to set up shop in another country. Even considering that the productivity of China’s workers is lower than that of Korean workers, the wage levels in China, a tenth of those here, make emigration a winning proposition. Cheap real estate prices, the full support of the Chinese government and the burgeoning Chinese domestic market make the decision to go there an easy one.
But the Korean industrial base is getting weaker with each day, and the jobless lines are getting longer and longer. Something has to be done. The exodus of firms to China has left our domestic industrial landscape barren. The number of jobless Koreans has hit the 800,000 mark; even more disturbing, a lot of that joblessness is among younger Koreans. Many people have simply given up looking for jobs recently. In the first eight months of this year, 330,000 jobs have been lost because of industrial downsizing and factory shutdowns.
If this trend continues, there will be no future for the Korean economy. Even with a recovery of the global economy, there is a high chance that we will be left out in the cold. Our economic structure does not permit us to survive solely on the services and financial industries. In the end, we have to resurrect our manufacturing industries; only then will we be able to create enough jobs and make our economy go.
The only solution is to make Korea a business-friendly country. Then companies would not have to go to China and foreign investors would create more jobs here.
The solution is obvious. We must rid ourselves of utterly inconsistent policies, crack down on militant labor unions, keep labor costs in check and get rid of most of the maze of regulations we have built.