[EDITORIALS]Roh, businesses have duties

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[EDITORIALS]Roh, businesses have duties

President Roh Moo-hyun will meet at the Blue House on Thursday with about 20 leaders of business groups. The gathering is significant because it is Mr. Roh’s first meeting with the business leaders since his return to office and because the domestic economy is struggling due to negative factors inside and outside the country.
Until now, the relations between businesses and the Roh administration have been full of conflict rather than cooperation. The government has continuously put pressure on the business world, regarding it as a target of reform. Businesses have expressed strong dissatisfaction about the government’s regulations and pro-labor policies.
But Mr. Roh disregarded the business world’s warning about an economic crisis, saying that it was “making an atmosphere of crisis on purpose.”
Over the last one and a half years, the two sides have fought over what is more important, between growth or distribution, between transparency of management and stimulation of investment. As a result, investment and consumption have shrunken further and the domestic economy is still struggling.
We want this meeting to be a chance for them to narrow the gap between their ideas and to smooth over their rough relationship.
First of all, President Roh should listen to the advice from the business leaders with an open mind. If he is really concerned about the economy, he should focus on identifying the difficulties of the industries and on finding ways to encourage business activity.
The business leaders should use the meeting as a chance to frankly inform the president of the problems businesses are facing. They should abandon the practice of saying only what they think the president wants to hear and then complain behind his back.
We no longer live under an authoritarian regime. When Mr. Roh asks, “What is making you worry?” they have to answer candidly. If they cannot, we can say with certainty that they are not qualified as business leaders.
Most of such meetings in the past have turned into superficial events. This meeting should avoid this. The public wants this meeting to help turn the economy around.

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