[Viewpoint] We must take a quantum leap

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[Viewpoint] We must take a quantum leap

I’ve never felt that life was full of as many deceptions as I do now. Until very recently, you would be treated like a fool if you didn’t know about mutual funds. Now, people just hate to hear mention of the word “fund.”

When Jack Welch was CEO of GE in the early ’80s, he claimed that the duty of a CEO was to maximize shareholders’ value, and so the stock price had to be evaluated every quarter. Now if a CEO were to cling on to such a short-term result, he would be treated as if he were out of his mind.

Wall Street worshipped Welch for nearly 30 years, but now it has lost its direction.

It was only yesterday that you were treated like a fool if you did not subscribe to the free market.

Now people making that argument cannot be found even in the United States and the United Kingdom, the birthplaces of neoliberalism. Governments are debating whether to nationalize banks, and now the Financial Times in an in-depth analysis, “The Future of Capitalism,” reveals doubts on whether capitalism is capable of riding out the global economic crisis.

We Koreans follow theories pushed by economists in some foreign country, but when they take back their words, we are left helpless. Is there such a thing as an objective truth?

The Korean Association of International Studies recently published its Treatises Collection Volume 48, Issue 4, which contains an interesting paper that looks at international politics from the perspective of quantum physics.

In traditional physics, the universe was considered to be moving mechanically according to solid rules, and discovering the rules was the challenge. However, modern physicists looked into the world of quantum mechanics and found that such objective rules did not exist. Sub-atomic particles are not visible to the human eye and their mass and amount cannot be measured. These particles appear and disappear like ghosts.

The quantum world is altered by the presence of the observer at the moment of observation.

Physicists discovered that the intentions of the observer influenced the objects, and there was no constant and unchangingly objective entity. The hypothesis of the paper was that it might be the same in international politics.

If there were scientific objective rules for international politics, at least a few scholars should have predicted events like the fall of the Soviet Union and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The chronic illness of Korea is the confrontation between the left and the right. Through conservative eyes, society should be run by conservative theories. To the leftists, the truth is on the left. Therefore, the two sides cannot reach a resolution.

Even if a social apparatus is created in the National Assembly to handle the media laws, we cannot escape from factionalism in the end. When you read a newspaper, you feel like it is telling you the truth. But then you watch television, and it says different things about the facts.

When quantum physicists conduct an experiment, light is seen as a particle if they wish to look at it as a particle, and it is seen as a wave if they intend to look at it as a wave. Take this perspective to the everyday world, and everything happening to you becomes merely dependent on how you look at it. If you take a step further, you will feel that there is no objective reality, but that your consciousness affects and creates reality.

We are going through a very hard time. You might think it will be all over once we overcome this crisis, but the future of Korea will depend on what we think as we get through the crisis.

The future of the country will be created according to our will. Just as in quantum physics, the intentions of the observer will be realized in the real world. Therefore, what we need is a vision we want to pursue.

The exchange rate, growth rate, size of the supplementary budget and foreign currency reserves are important, but we need to have a clear post-crisis picture of ourselves beyond mere numbers.

A magnificent and beautiful structure can only be built when the architect begins with a clear design in his mind.

The free market has failed, and capitalism is in crisis. Now, the world is changing into a place where left and right are meaningless.

What kind of country do you wish to live in?

We need to create a country where capitalism is acknowledged yet ethics are respected, where the freedom of the market is defended but greed is not tolerated, and where economic efficiency is respected yet social justice is not ignored. We will begin to see realistic actions right away.

The hard-line Korean Confederation of Trade Unions is in the midst of self-examination, and the executives of Hyundai Heavy Industry have voluntarily cut their salaries.

We can find an opportunity for the left and the right to reconcile amid the crisis. The future of Korea will be exactly as we envision.

The writer is a senior columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Moon Chang-keuk
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