[EDITORIALS]‘Reform’ and ‘real reform’

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[EDITORIALS]‘Reform’ and ‘real reform’

In his first public address after his reinstatement, President Roh Moo-hyun put special emphasis on perking up the troubled economy and stabilizing public welfare. This is an important change. It is our heartfelt wish that obstacles to an economic recovery, such as the confusion of policies among government agencies, will be cleared.
But a closer analysis of the president’s announcement leaves much to be desired. President Roh’s words gave the impression that he has yet to see the situation of our economy accurately. There were still traces of distrust of business in his speech. It is no wonder that businesses both welcome and worry about President Roh’s return.
The president assured the public that he would not use the turmoil caused by the impeachment bid as a means to gain personal advantage. He also stressed political reforms. In his words, the government should not hurry with policies in an attempt to be popular.
But our economic growth rate is 3.1 percent and credit delinquencies and unemployment make Koreans desperate. There is little investment or consumption, and businesses have lost the urge to do business. Government policies are drifting toward populism and social strife in increasing. External factors are even more serious. Everyone is having a hard time, so why is this not to be called an economic crisis?
We do not oppose reform, but we oppose certain types of reform ― those that are not market-friendly are not true reforms. Only those that leave the market healthy and let businesses make profits are true reforms. Only those that survive criticism are true reforms. Critics of economic policies should not be labeled “anti-reformists.”
We should not dismiss the complaints of businesses as a “conspiracy” and put them down only to corporate selfishness. Only when we try to listen to the voices of businessmen can we come up with solutions to our economic problems.
The president is planning to meet the owners of the 20 largest businesses in the country. We advise him also to listen to opposition leaders and to other voices as well.
Solutions will be found only by listening to everyone in our society and crafting plans that will put us back on the road to prosperity.

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