[EDITORIALS]Ten crucial years

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[EDITORIALS]Ten crucial years

Experts say the next decade will be critical to Korea’s evolution into a fully advanced country. Heightening Korea’s competitive power could pull the nation’s growth rate up to 6.1 percent over 10 years; per-capita gross national product could reach $36,700, bringing Korea into the world’s top 10.
By contrast, falling behind in global competitiveness could pull the growth rate down to 2.6 percent, and per-capita GNP below $10,000, putting us in the company of South American nations.
That forecast was provided by the Samsung Economic Research Institute Wednesday. The report clearly states that the next 10 years will decide the nation’s fate.
We see only one choice: continuous growth, with the goal of developing into an advanced country. There is a schedule involved in the growth of an individual, and that applies to a nation’s development as well. Physical and mental growth as a youngster makes one a healthy, capable adult. A country should accumulate power when it is in the middle of development in order to make the leap to becoming an advanced nation. Once the moment is lost, the opportunity will never return.
For the past decade, Korea has failed to make it over the wall of $10,000 per-capita gross domestic product. The country has wasted its time. The next 10 years will be its last chance.
But the opportunity will not simply be given to us. Conditions at home and abroad are still very poor. China’s emergence as an economic giant is narrowing the window. Our society’s rapid aging and the enormous cost of unification will be serious burdens. To overcome them, we should start focusing the nation’s power now.
The government’s recent actions, however, make us skeptical about its willingness to do so. The Roh administration spent half of its term debating whether to focus on distribution or growth. Its economic policy amounts to controlling real estate prices in Gangnam. The government pays no attention to promoting growth; instead, it is busy trying to move ministries and public enterprises to areas other than Seoul, in the name of balanced development.
If this state of affairs continues, Korea will not be able to maintain its present state of development, let alone become a fully advanced nation. However belatedly, the nation should make nurturing growth its top priority.
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