Gentlemen, start your enginesNearly half of Koreans who voted supported Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday, making him the 17th president of Korea.
They want Lee to revive the economy. Despite Lee’s numerous scandals and flaws, they chose Lee because of that desire.
The Roh administration has repeatedly said that our economy has never been bad. Most people, however, feel the country’s economy had been lackluster during the last five years. It does not mean the economy actually collapsed, but it lost steam and became stagnant. The country’s economic spirit is barely surviving.
Korea’s economic growth rate stayed between 4 percent and 5 percent for the last five years, below the world’s average.
The biggest victims of the stagnant economy are young adults and the poor. The earnest desire for jobs by desperate young adults and the yearning for a better life by the poor erupted like a volcano during the election.
What has been lost in the last five years is not just economic growth expressed in numbers. The public lost the will and passion for economic growth, which is very sad.
What the new administration should do first is to break the prevalent sense of powerlessness and breathe life into our economy.
To break away from low economic growth, the government should present a vision for the country. It is not a matter of instantly achieving high economic growth but a matter of reigniting the economic growth engine. Then companies and individuals will be equipped with new hope and a strong will to move forward.
Once the economy can sustain itself, then it will create new jobs and lead to a higher quality of life.
For that, what is most important is deregulation. It is impossible to ask companies to invest when the government holds them back with regulations.
Another thing is to find new growth engines and support them vigorously. The government should concentrate on nurturing future growth engines. These include information technology, biotechnology and cultural service industries, where the country has strengths.
The first thing president-elect Lee said after he won the election was that he is going to revive the economy no matter what. We and the public will watch to see if Lee keeps his promise.