[EDITORIALS]Criticism that’s worth heeding

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[EDITORIALS]Criticism that’s worth heeding

Kenichi Ohmae, a renowned Japanese commentator on economic affairs, on Friday warned at a forum in Seoul that Korea will not be able to achieve its goal of raising per capita gross domestic product to $20,000 under current conditions.
Mr. Ohmae spoke at a forum sponsored by the Economist, a Korean weekly business magazine, to mark the publication’s 20th anniversary. In his speech, he identified such factors as unstable domestic politics, social conflict created by tension between generations, collusion among politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen and relatively inferior technological power hold back Korea’s leap to the rank of the advanced nations.
He also said excessive concentration of power in the president’s hands kept past presidents from retiring with peace of mind and made it difficult for businesses to manage stable business for fear of political power.
It might not be nice to hear such cutting comments, but his observations were accurate.
He also pointed out that an industrial vacuum was created because Korean businesses preferred to relocate factories to China to reduce expenses, an easier solution than trying to improve their operations.
His criticism that we have no vision for reunification is also a vital point. Although the Korean economy cannot bear the cost needed to achieve German-style unification, there is no debate in our society over the future course of the nation after unification.
His advice to create a big market by maintaining an equidistant policy toward the United States, Japan and China, and his opinion that moving the capital will not help solve the population density in the Seoul metropolitan area are worth heeding.
We should not be upset by criticism of an expert from abroad or turn our heads away as if his words did not mesh with reality. We have to realize that his suggestions are useful to us and accept them. One can see the forest better from the outside.
We should listen to Mr. Ohmae’s advice that political stability, dissolution of generational conflict, a vision for national unification and a balanced policy toward the United States, Japan and China are the conditions for Korea’s second economic surge.
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