[FOUNTAIN]Aircraft fly, economies rise and fall

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[FOUNTAIN]Aircraft fly, economies rise and fall

Let’s take a look at an aircraft taking off and landing. When taking off, the nose of the plane will leave the ground first, and then the tail follows. When landing, the tail will come down first with the head still in the air.
The economy’s rise and fall is similar to the behavior of an aircraft. An economic boom does not mean that every corner of the nation would enjoy a brisk market all at once. Some regions will improve soon while the boom will hit other areas later. Similarly, an economic slump will influence each area at a different time.
The fore of the economy is always better off. It will benefit from an economic boom the first and be the last to fall. In contrast, the aft has to struggle more. It will be the first to be hit by a slump and the last to enjoy a boom.
The phenomenon is a result of the varied regional industrial structures. The areas living off growth engines have not much to worry about, but the regions with less flamboyant industries have to endure a long winter. That’s why all the local government bodies work and compete hard to invite high-tech industries in the regions in any country. They all refuse to be the tail of an airplane.
In Japan, Hokkaido is often referred as a tail for its heavy dependence on the agricultural, fisheries and livestock industries and tourism. When the economy of Hokkaido declines, it is generally accepted that the overall Japanese economy will soon be struggling. Similarly, when Hokkaido is enjoying a brisk economy, it means that the entire Japanese economy has recovered.
Recently, the Japanese media is covering the recovery of the regional economies. The Japanese Bankers Association said that the Hokkaido economy was improving continuously. The signs of the economic recovery first appeared at the end of last year. After the nose of the plane took off, it took a year for the tail to leave the ground.
How about the local economies in Korea? The situation is so gloomy that the heads of local chambers of commerce asked politicians to stop political strife and help revive the economy. Some skeptics say that the Korean economy is nose-diving and is about to crash.
After a successful takeoff, the airplane of our neighbor is ready to ride on a stable, ascending air current. Where is Korea’s airplane headed now?

by Nahm Yoon-ho

The writer is head of the family affairs team at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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