[EDITORIALS]Gift-giving to end the slumpThe national holiday of Lunar New Year starts here in nine days. Traditionally, the holiday meant that people would dress up in their best clothes, and share New Year’s resolutions and pass along good wishes. Expectations of plentiful food was also one of the joys of the Lunar New Year. Although the weather can be cold, hearts are warm.
But it is a different story with this year’s holiday. The economy is failing to show any signs of making a comeback, and the uncertainty surrounding job security is growing as the days go by. The thin wallets make it burdensome for adults to prepare goodies for children, and there are also forecasts that many people will not be able to make it home for the holidays due to the poor economy.
In order to lift the sluggish mood this year, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Park Yong-sung suggested actively exchanging gifts during the holiday period. He asked for the eager participation of member companies in the campaign through a letter, emphasizing that the public, through greater consumption, must put some life into the economy. Some might lament that the chairman for the chamber of commerce would suggest such an idea to its members, but from a different perspective, this kind of simple and earnest notion can be an important first step in aiding the economy. A nation is heavily influenced by public sentiment and negative thoughts only lead to further economic stagnation.
Although many people point out that there was a lack of spending, Koreans spent more than $10 billion overseas last year. In short, lack of money is not preventing spending. Despite opening up wallets easily overseas, there is almost no urge to spend domestically. If all the spending outside Korea had occurred domestically, the situation wouldn’t have become as bleak as it has.
The campaign to exchange gifts can act as an opportunity for the public good. A gift is an expression from the heart as well as a productive economic act. Once presents are bought, it will help the circulation of cash flow and eventually the economy.
This, however, must not bring back the convention of giving expensive presents as a form of bribes. We hope that presents that are small, but full of sincerity, will open everyone’s heart. We ask the wealthy and companies to step forward in exchanging gifts this Lunar New Year.