[EDITORIALS]Chasing capital awayAt President Roh Moo-Hyun’s meeting with corporate executives, a lot of complaints were heard about why corporations avoid doing business in Korea. A representative from Carrefour Korea said, “We were refused consent four times for reasons that are beyond our comprehension.” Carrefour particularly cited the radical labor culture here; its representative said, “Eventually we gave up investment in Korea and increased our presence in China.” The fact that H&T, a domestic company, moved its factory to China shows that Carrefour’s arguments are not entirely unfounded.
The fervor to attract foreign capital is intense in all countries. In China, if someone from a foreign company comes, the mayor invites him to meals, and deals with obstacles on the spot. Hyundai Motor says it was impressed by the government support and labor cooperation it found in Alabama, in the United States. To attract foreign capital, government, civilians and labor work together, so jobs can be generated and economies revived.
In Korea, on the other hand, not only do we turn away investment, it is an everyday occurrence to see existing companies leave. Endless regulations, demands for high wages, radical demonstrations, anticorporate sentiment, chaotic politics and lack of leadership are making not only foreign companies, but domestic firms, fed up with Korea. In a time when we need to pave the way for foreign investors, we are asking them to build playgrounds before investing. What company would want to invest here?
The world is running at high speed. The United States’s third-quarter growth rate was 7.2 percent, and Japan has high hopes that its “lost decade” will soon end. In contrast, Korea’s growth rate remains at 2 percent, and we are losing vitality due to increasing unemployment and loss of efficiency in the manufacturing sector. We are in a crisis. If we continue like this, there is no future for the Korean economy. If all the corporations leave, what will we live on, and what will happen to future generations? The government, politicians, workers and the people must seriously worry about this matter.