[EDITORIALS]The right economic focusThe government has presented its economic plan for 2004. Considering that the Korean economy is losing vitality due to high unemployment among the young and a lack of investment, the government has taken the right step in deciding to focus on job creation.
Compared to the past practice of painting a rosy picture, the government is trying a realistic approach of encouraging investment and easing regulation. It plans to promote service industries in its job creation plan, but the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector must be encouraged, too.
It is no exaggeration to say that 2004 will be a crossroads for the Korean economy, determining whether it can have a second takeoff or if it will fall into the quagmire of recession.
Despite an international economic recovery, the Korean economy is trapped by various obstacles and has failed to find a way to revive itself. It suffers from labor conflicts, political struggles, high wages, credit defaults and the insolvencies of credit card companies, poor domestic consumption, high unemployment and real estate speculation. On top of that, international factors, such as the opening up of markets and competition from China, are threatening the economy.
The world is riding a tide of change and economic recovery. If we fail to join the trend, we will become dropouts. Industries and workers must regain vitality and labor-management relations must be stabilized. The government and politicians must give confidence to the public and vision and hope for the future to both business and labor.
The government’s economic team must solve problems through close cooperation. It should not be swayed by politics, even though the legislative elections are coming.
The president’s approach to the economy must be changed. The past year was an experimental period in the hands of an amateur government. Economic issues were put on the back burner, and today’s quagmire is the result. We must end the experiment. The president must keep in mind that “the economy is most important” and give power to his economic team.