Action to ensure fair societyThe presidential office hosted a conference on the theme of building a “fair-share society” - the new platform President Lee Myung-bak promised to focus on during the remainder of his term - at the Blue House.
A guest speaker, Yoon Pyong-joong, professor of philosophy at Hanshin University, said the governance goal to create a fair society is well-timed and in tune with the global trend. He suggested that the government should trot out policies that can broaden equal opportunities and fairness in many aspects in the lives of ordinary people.
In his annual Aug. 15 Liberation Day address, President Lee envisioned his policy direction at creating a fairer society. Inviting a liberal scholar to speak on the theme may showcase how serious the conservative government is about expanding equity in various fields in society.
Our society is not alone engaged with the colloquy on the theme of fairness. Michael Sandel’s lecture on justice has been one of the most popular courses at Harvard University, and his book “Justice, What’s the Right Thing To Do?” became a best-seller as it reflected American people’s interest on the subject.
The talk instantly struck home with the Korean public because our society has long thirsted for greater justice and fairness.
Why do so many crave for justice and equity in a society that has accomplished so much in modernization and democratization in less than two decades? It is because the society could not afford the spiritual luxury of compassion and tolerance while whipped to race toward faster and bigger accomplishments during the rapid growth process.
The recent confirmation hearings on cabinet appointees underscored that the progress in the economy and democracy does not accompany justice and equity. Justice and fairness are particularly hard to find among the elites in our society.
Lee is particularly weak in the aspect of fairness. He, too, has been criticized for false reports in residence and employment. He, therefore, has greater duty to enforce fairness in governance. As a matter of fact, he had shown efforts by donating his personal wealth for charity.
But in appointing high-profile officials, he has done poorly in the area of fairness. His promises and words on fairness will come across hollow if he recruits elites whose track record is a far cry from fairness and justice.
He should ruminate on his own words during the latest meeting at the Blue House. He had said “to ensure a fair society, action is most important and the Blue House must set the example.”