[FOUNTAIN]Ensure flow of wealth to everyoneLand prices represent value. But the price is different from the land itself, for the price can change while the land remains unchanged. The price of land is a man-made figure but the land belongs to nature.
The source of Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hun-jai’s power as a high-ranking public servant must be his ability and character he has cultivated for decades. However, the power that improved the financial status of Mr. Lee was the increase in the price of land he purchased 24 years ago.
Money originates from labor. Money was created in the course of exchanging the products of labor. Therefore, money means work, and we used to believe that money earned without labor is unjust.
In the times when such beliefs prevailed, unearned income was considered sort of a sin.
Westerners used to have ethics of honest wealth. They had a social belief that hardworking, diligent people could accumulate a large fortune. In society, unearned income was criticized, and the members of the society believed that money came along with labor. The undivided conviction might have been naive, but the people had a higher sense of happiness.
Today, we are living in the age of split values, where the world of money is on a different level from the world of labor. Once money is separated from labor, people tend to have more respect for the value of money than that of labor. People might be working at your workplace, but they are still pursuing money elsewhere.
When the value of money is predominant, the ethics of time change accordingly. At any rate, we cannot condemn public servants for accumulating a fortune in a year. They should not be criticized for being paid their wages or profiting from stock investments. The social norms are changing too rapidly and drastically to judge the private wealth of public servants with the traditional standards.
However, as we live the age of money, we have to make sure that everyone gets a fair chance to make money, ensure the flow of money is maintained transparently and those making illegal profits are strictly punished. The impartiality, transparency and legality are the three conditions that constitutes the age of money. When these conditions are not met, we might experience a clash of philosophy, loving the money but loathing the people who made it.
by Chun Young-gi
The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.