Economic warThe economic debacle is jeopardizing the livelihoods of the Korean people and the future of the country.
If a nation and its people are at risk, the government should naturally respond in a serous manner, as if the country were at war. In the face of a war, the government would operate a war room to map out around-the-clock contingency action.
President Lee Myung-bak recently observed that our current economic plight is of an unprecedented scope. He is not exaggerating.
But it’s hard to believe people in his administration share the president’s sense of urgency. In government offices, it appears to be business as usual. Even with the looming economic perils, government officials are displaying the usual enmities, irresponsibility and selfishness. We hear shouts of discord and finger-pointing from policy makers and endless quarreling from politicians.
This is not how the government of a country readying for a war with an economic menace should look. It is high time for the government to realize the gravity of the ongoing economic crisis and mobilize a war room, so that it can give its undivided attention to fixing the situation.
It needs to keep a close watch on the progress of the current economic volatilities so it can immediately come up with and execute policies.
There can be no room for policy confusion or friction among government offices. All branches of the administration related to the economy or the regulation of financial markets must move in synch, under the direction of the economic contingency war room.
In war times, there are, inevitably, victims. Things are no different in a time of economic hardship. As the economy is crippled, we must undergo restructuring and jobs must be slashed. If the government does not stand determinedly at the front lines willing to self-sacrifice, it cannot ask the people to do the same. The administration needs to explain the economic turmoil clearly to its people, and then call for cooperation.
President Lee urged public officials to work as their ancestors have, who were willing to put their life at risk to help save their country when it came under attack. But words have failed to move officials before. So this time, the government needs to revamp its organization to make the bureaucrats work more efficiently.
This is the reason why the economic war room must stay open until the last flames of the battle go out.