Feeling better about businessThe anti-corporate sentiment that has penetrated Korean society like an epidemic has been weakening over the past years, say local news reports. It is fortunate that the prejudice and misunderstanding about businesses is lifting. According to a poll conducted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Hyundai Research Institute, respondents gave a score of 50.2 on a scale of 100 for the Corporate Favorite Index. The index is a gauge of how survey participants feel about a business. The figure is up 12 points compared to 2003, when the poll started. The poll result still stands at a level not satisfactory enough, but it is noteworthy that the mark exceeded 50 for the first time ― an indication that more people now feel positive about corporations than negative.
The portion of surveyees who answered that the aim of corporate activities is “turning a profit” has grown from 53.5 percent in the initial poll to 57.3 percent. The people who think “people should rely on companies the most, for the economy to prosper” amounted to 76.1 percent. It means the general public has started realizing that improved corporate earnings will lead to more jobs, thus contributing to the national economy. It seems that the increased number of poor and a reduction in jobs have prompted people to lose confidence in the incumbent administration. That has, in turn, led people to expect more from businesses.
Now the government’s role has become clearer. Companies will have to take the lead in job creation, while the government should focus on stabilizing labor-management conflict and lifting restrictions. The government should help businesses to fully show their capacity. Resorting to populism promises no future. More than 80 percent of chief executives say that entrepreneurship has shrunk ― meaning the spirit of businesses has bottomed out. Koreans should recognize their efforts at transforming themselves in a more positive way. That way, not only the government but also the citizens and businesses can prosper. Businesses are partially to blame for the spread of anti-corporate sentiment. It is hoped that they can get away from undesirable practices such as accounting fraud and unethical management. They should halt such wrongful acts in order to grow into global-scale firms. Korean citizens have begun to root for them. Now it is high time that they rearm themselves with passionate, challenging, innovative and creative entrepreneurship and make this country more advanced.