[EDITORIALS]From the horse’s mouthYoon Jeung-hyun, chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission, commented critically and as if he has already made up his mind on the way the administration is managing the economy.
At a seminar Sunday on economic policy, Mr. Yoon said, “Between the choices of economic growth and distribution of wealth, the most important is a consensus among members of society. Ultimately, the pursuit of distribution and equality can only be done through economic growth. We must check whether [the government policies] have resulted in wasting social resources by pursuing unattainable ideals.”
That is courageous criticism of the logic of government policy that is tilted too much toward distribution and equality. Mr. Yoon has also presented a desirable policy direction for the administration in the future.
Mr. Yoon’s remark is nothing startling. Whenever we have had opportunities to comment on government policy, we have repeatedly said the same thing as Mr. Yoon. But President Roh Moo-hyun, his economic advisers and government officials at economic ministries have ignored such comments or glossed over the reality with sophistry. There is the theory they advance of “forces that spread economic crisis”; they say that if only distribution were fair, economic growth would be possible and that all the economic problems are already solved. While the nation was engaged in futile debate on whether distribution or growth should come first, the first half of Mr. Roh’s presidency slipped by. In the meantime, the economy has slipped into a mire of stagnation, and innocent middle-class and grass-roots people have suffered from that stagnation.
Mr. Yoon emphasized that government intervention in the economy should be limited and the entrepreneurial spirit of businessmen should be encouraged. He said, “[The role of the government] is encouraging autonomy and creativity in the private sector, while minimizing its interventions in the market by concentrating and making choices of good policy.” He is telling the truth, but the administration is moving in the opposite direction.
We regret that such sound criticism and alternatives were not reflected in policy decisions earlier. What have government economists been doing? Why didn’t they object to economic policy that was biased by ideology? Were they busy synchronizing their “code” with that of the president? The Blue House and ministries should keep in mind the criticism by the head of an important financial institution.