[EDITORIALS]Understanding businessesA representative from the Federation of Korean Industries held a meeting with a group of Uri Party lawmakers; so-called reform-minded representatives who were elected for their first or second terms. The lawmakers’ remarks at the meeting, as reported by the FKI representative, allow us to see the nature of the anti-business sentiment instilled deep in our society.
They said: “Anti-business sentiment stems from the original sin committed by the Korean businesses. You shouldn’t blame others for that.” “We feel it’s a burden to put the highest priority on the economy.” “Businesses do not invest, because there is no place to invest.”
The tainted history of business development, such as the collusion between business and politics, is certainly at the root of anti-business sentiment. It is also true that investment hasn’t been growing because businesses can’t find suitable projects. But these views don’t reflect the whole picture. Why don’t the Uri lawmakers understand the aspects that were unavoidable in the course of development?
Politicians or civic groups shouldn’t constantly blame businesses of today for the bad legacy of the developmental dictatorship of the past, and businesses should work to eradicate anti-business feelings. However, as long as businesses are cited for their “original sin,” the Korean economy will continue its downward spiral.
The reason for poor progress in investments can be found in the absence of suitable businesses, but we can’t deny that society’s anti-business attitude contributes as well. We have to move ahead to the future and stop harping on businesses for their “original sin.”
A lawmaker was quoted as having advised businessmen that “profits shouldn’t be only things businesses pursue.” But businesses’ ultimate goal is to maximize profits. Through profit, businesses make progress, and through businesses’ progress, jobs are created and society grows prosperous. Social responsibility and contributions are ancillary to profit.
In any case, it’s good that FKI and reform-minded lawmakers of the ruling party met together like this. Even though their positions are different, they can understand the other side and narrow the gap through dialogue. We hope the ruling party lawmakers will exhibit an attitude of seeing things more broadly and thinking deeply about the future.