[EDITORIALS]No more innovationA few days ago, Byeon Yang-kyoon, the president’s senior secretary for national policy, said the government would have a “second phase plan for balanced regional development” ready during the first half of next year. Once again, the government has come up with yet another regional development plan, following the new administrative, business and innovative cities, not to mention plans to move government organizations to regions outside the capital ― policies that have been enthusiastically introduced, but poorly practiced. Mr. Byeon said, “The government will have innovative incentives so that businesses, schools and even the people will rush to move to regions outside the capital.” Based on the secretary’s statement, the Blue House looks to have specific plans already set, and not just words.
The will and passion to have regionally balanced development is quite understandable. But why is the government hurrying with a second phase when the first phase has not even been properly carried out yet? The ground has yet to be broken for the construction of the administrative city. Construction of business and innovative cities are making slow progress, and only bringing side effects. Do we really need another plan at this time? The end of the current administration is close by and the presidential election is right before that end. Is there a desperate reason for the administration to bring out a new policy?
The government’s idea of “balanced development” was only to regulate and prevent development in the capital region and instead prop up regions outside the capital with huge development projects. That drive is not over and there is still more to be accomplished, but the results so far have been wretched.
Government policies are driving domestic investors, who were interested in putting their money into businesses in the capital region, away to offshore markets. Various development plans stirred up real estate prices across the country and compensation for properties within the areas to be developed flowed into the real estate market in the capital region, raising real estate prices there. Balanced development was not achieved through government policies; instead, they turned the entire country into a speculative market and made, in monetary terms, the regions outside the capital underdeveloped. It is not the time to come up with a new policy, but to ponder the existing ones and try to implement them while minimizing side effects. We need no more “innovative” solutions for the startled people.