[EDITORIALS]Equality is good, but not for usOn the ideological line of the present government, economists made critical remarks one after another. At an academic symposium organized by the Korea Economic Association, participants said: “The current government is a leftist government, and it is trapped in the leftist values,” and “the reform-led economic growth the participatory government pursues is not feasible at all.” Jwa Sung-hee, president of the Korea Economic Research Institute, said, “The Korean economy is trapped in egalitarianism.”
Why do the economists raise questions about ideology? Managing the capitalist market economy, we can adopt either leftist or rightist economic policies. And there are countries that emphasize distribution and equality, while there are countries that emphasize growth and efficiency.
The essence of the criticism from academics must be in their judgement that it is too early for Korea, at its current stage of economic development, to introduce European style social-capitalism.
In the economy, it is difficult to pursue both growth and equal distribution at the same time. As is the case with most other things, the emphasis should be on either one of the two.
South American countries are the examples that had spoiled the economy by adopting leftist policies at the stage of a $10,000 per capita income. In that sense, it is inevitable that, up to a certain stage, we make our economic pie grow bigger and enhance the efficiency of our economy.
The evidence is appearing now. Why is our economy starting to fall like this since the present government took over power? Why don’t businessmen invest although they have enough money? As was claimed by the economists, it is because people feel uneasy about the government’s leftist policies.
Key members of the government, including the head of the presidential policy planning council, retorted, “How can we be called socialists?” But they have to understand that their words and deeds failed to gain the confidence of people.
They shouldn’t make the nation suffer any further from their anachronistic idealism. They must listen to the advice of academics who say, “By putting emphasis on equality than efficiency, on distribution than growth, Korea will fail to be internationally competitive in the globalization era.” Don’t dismiss their views as a “conspiracy of the conservative forces.”