[EDITORIALS]Job creation should be goalKorea’s government has announced its blueprint for this year’s economic policies. In the report, the government lowered its 2007 economic growth target to 4.5 percent, saying spending and investment will shrink compared to last year and that exports will slow. Despite such woeful signs, we see few remarkable solutions for creating more jobs or increasing investments. The policy blueprint, which also says the government will spend most of this year’s budget earlier than scheduled to boost the economy, lacks substantial measures. What’s worse, President Roh Moo-hyun emphasized that the government “will not permit factory construction in Seoul suburban areas, except in a very few cases.” His comment did a really good job of crushing the hopes of local business groups seeking to expand their production facilities in underdeveloped areas.
It really makes us wonder how the government will create 300,000 new jobs with all of these old-fashioned restrictions. The government said it would create 300,000 to 400,000 new jobs through state-led projects by doubling this year’s budget. But the jobs created by such projects are never the solution for the unemployment problem. It is the private sector that creates genuine jobs for the unemployed.
Korea’s economy is in peril. The currency market is volatile, and the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, as well as the presidential election, are increasing uncertainties.
The government needs to get desperate and further tighten its grip on the economy.
According to the Korea Development Institute, about 80 percent of local experts said the best way to create jobs is to revitalize investments. Increased investment means more jobs, more income, more spending and certainly more businesses flourishing. What does the government have to do? Create an environment where companies can freely make investments. What makes things worse is the government’s ideal-driven policies that lacks business-oriented thinking. This administration, which considered equal wealth distribution and equal provincial development to be its biggest goals, only made the lives of ordinary people and people in the provinces more difficult. Nearly 1.26 million Koreans are jobless and 530,000 of them are perpetually looking for jobs. If the government really feels their pain and desperation, it needs to be ready to do just about anything to spur corporate investment and create more jobs. One year is not a short time. The government still has a chance.