[EDITORIALS]Listen to business ownersThe distrust businesses have in the government and the political community has reached a serious level.
“Our average income is $10,000 per capita yet our distribution policies are those of a country with an average income of $30,000.” “How could the government expect businesses to increase their investment when they make it so obvious they hate business?” “The government acts as if it doesn’t care if businesses die out as long as it survives.”
These are some of the complaints voiced by business owners to the Uri Party’s policy commission leader, Hong Jae-hyung, at a forum Saturday hosted by the Federation of Korean Industries. Some of the concrete complaints expressed in the forum were about the inconsistency of the government’s economic policies and the confusion this brings in managing businesses.
The atmosphere in our society these days seems to condemn business owners and thus make them shrink from actively engaging in business activities. The complaints and dissatisfaction voiced in Saturday’s forum on Jeju island were a reflection of how distorted society’s view of business has become.
Unfortunately, the government and the governing party do not seem to be taking these complaints seriously, and even make light of them as the whining of the established rich. Mr. Hong asked the business owners to clarify what they meant by inconsistency in policies and exactly how that made them nervous. His attitude made one wonder whether he genuinely wanted to hear the opinions of the business owners and see a bigger picture of reality.
The government has repeatedly claimed that the biggest national task this year is to create more jobs by encouraging corporate investment. And yet it has failed to persuade business owners to use the funds they have at their disposal. Businesses are not investing because society has become so unpredictable.
The government and the government party have failed to convince businesses that they will uphold the principles of the market economy. This is because the government seems more interested in distribution than growth even when our average income per capita has been stalled at $10,000 for nearly a decade. Unless the corporate spirit is revived, our economy will dwindle. It is not the time to dismiss the complaints of the business owners as frivolous whining.