[EDITORIALS]Wake up to economic realityCan Korea’s economy find a way out? Will it crash? We cannot hold these concerns back, seeing the ominous shadows that loom across the economy. Lately we have heard only gloomy news. Various economic indicators, including capital spending and consumption, warn of a further slowdown of the economy. In other countries, there is growing pessimism that the global economy will peak and that its growth will slow next year. There are many additional negative factors, such as the tightening of China’s economy and high crude oil prices. If such conditions last, even Korean exports, which alone have bolstered our economy, will be threatened.
The Korea Development Institute and some other think tanks have already warned that the nation’s economic growth will drop sharply to an annual rate of about 4 percent in the fourth quarter of this year. Their outlook for next year is darker. The pessimistic view that growth next year will slide to between 3 and 4 percent, below the nation’s potential growth, is spreading. Consumer sentiment about economic conditions has already passed the point at which there could be any argument about whether this is an economic crisis. More problematic, the government’s financial and fiscal correctives have been used to their limits; the government has no more special measures to employ.
Do the government and the political sector fully understand the gloomy reality? It seems they do not. The president will not be able to solve the economy’s problems by calling and pressing the leaders of large conglomerates, or by visiting one or two plants.
He should lead companies to invest their cash reserves in facilities, and persuade consumers to loosen their purse strings ― taking into account their perspectives and concerns ― rather than scold them for not taking his word for it that everything will be OK. And the political sector should abandon the argument over whether those who say the economy is in crisis are engaged in a “conspiracy.” The administration’s economic team should be courageous enough to point out the economy’s problems and be active in solving them.
Korea is already falling behind the global economy. It will be difficult to overcome the current crisis even if everyone in the nation acts in concert. The current administration should make up its mind not to be remembered by history as a sinner.
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