The wrong directionThe Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry has criticized the administration’s management of state affairs.
In its report, the KCCI said that the Roh Moo-hyun administration has not tried to reduce the size of government and that there are fundamental limitations to how far the government should regulate a market economy.
In other words, the administration has a different political ideology from the business community and thus it has been pointless to beg the president to ease regulations. The report adds that as the number of civil servants rise, regulations also increase.
Roh’s government has taken pride in being effective. But, as revealed in the KCCI report, people in the field do not share the administration’s opinion.
Companies complain about excessive regulation but the government insists that its measures are effective.
Since the incumbent administration entered office, regulations that distort the principles of the market economy have increased. Regulations on metropolitan areas are still in place, and because of a policy to separate financial and industrial capital, there is a serious lack of the former while the latter is in abundance.
Companies asked for protection from hostile mergers and acquisitions, as other advanced economies have, but their requests was rebuffed.
The government has interfered in the mobile phone market, and the Fair Trade Commission plans to set prices for many goods and services.
This has reduced competition and companies are reluctant to be creative. The gap between the rich and the poor has not been narrowed, either.
The administration can walk away when its term is over.
But the burdens that it has created will be passed to the people.
They include state debt of more than 300 trillion won ($310 billion), an extra 60,000 civil servants and public corporations with bad management.
The government selected some European countries as models but those countries are now going in the opposite direction.
France has decided to reduce the number of civil servants by 100,000 over five years. Germany and Sweden have started to change their welfare systems.
Japan is known as a kingdom of bureaucrats but is now reducing its regulations, and some of its companies that went abroad are now coming home.
Why is the Korean government going in the opposite direction?
The people must demand that the government and its supporters take responsibility for its failed policies.