[EDITORIALS]A hasty and flawed plan

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[EDITORIALS]A hasty and flawed plan

How much will it cost to move the nation’s capital? What effects will the move have and how will it contribute to Korea’s competitiveness in the future? Seeing the plan to move the capital being carried out at a full gallop, we wonder whether the government has analyzed the cost and benefit of the move and whether we can cover the cost.
The government says it will cost 45.6 trillion won ($39.4 billion) to move the capital and that it will have to cover only 11.3 trillion won of that total. But the argument has many errors. The 45.6 trillion won is no more than the cost of developing 76 square kilometers of land, which will accommodate 500,000 residents. And it will cost much more to equip the new government office buildings and to construct roads to the new capital.
In addition, the government has proposed moving many government institutes to the provinces and building new cities in various parts of the nation. This will cost a lot. The “Five-year Plan for Balanced Development of the Nation,” which the government announced a few days ago, will cost 116 trillion won over the next five years. We are curious whether the government has analyzed the side costs and the social cost of moving the population, whether it has estimated the changes in the creation of added value and jobs if Seoul remains the center of financial services, information and the economy, and whether it has thought about how to use the buildings that the government agencies and public institutes will vacate.
The government insists that it has made a full examination of the issue, but that is difficult to believe. The government has continued to change its words about the cost of moving the capital, and the various plans for balanced development of the regions seem to be inconsistent. Some foreign countries have experienced serious negative effects from moving their capitals, even though they made elaborate long-term plans. Korea, with its plans made carelessly for the short term, will face much more serious negative effects.
The government should show its blueprint on the economic propriety of moving the capital. It should examine how much it will cost, how it will secure the money to finance the move and what cost and benefit will follow from such a move.
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