Regulation is a necessary vice

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Regulation is a necessary vice


The strongest of all regulations, save prohibition, is the permit system. A permit system is found in almost all societies and in 1978, a very strict permit system with regard to land deals was introduced in Korea.

In areas where land prices skyrocketed or speculation was rampant, purchasing land was allowed only after getting a permit from the mayor or the governor. Even in a capitalist society, it became near impossible for rich people to buy land on their own. In August 2004, the government introduced a permit system that regulated the employment of foreign workers. Under the system, an employer has to prove to the Ministry of Employment and Labor that it made efforts to employ domestic workers for at least one month before hiring a foreign worker.

There was even a permit system that regulated the right to appeal to a higher court. The system was introduced in 1981 to reduce unnecessary social expenses caused by indiscreet appeals. However, it was abolished in 1990 because it limited the right to have three trials, which is guaranteed by the constitution.

Like so, many regulations are repeatedly created and dismantled. But circumstances always arise when regulations are urgently needed. For instance, right now, the government requires farmers get a permit to breed cattle because of the rampaging foot-and-mouth disease.

And the government plans to introduce a regulation that requires farmers who breed cattle or fowl in a space larger than 50 square meters (538 square feet) to get a livestock industry permit. The government believes that FMD broke out because farmers who neglected to take necessary measures after travel overseas spread it in Korea.

The livestock permit system has long been used in Denmark and the Netherlands, the forerunners of the livestock industry. But small-scale farmers are strongly opposed to the new regulation. To stop the shameful cycle of burying millions of livestock alive and restore the country’s “FMD free” status as soon as possible, extraordinary measures are needed.

Otherwise, our meat market will be flooded with imports. Neighboring China is the largest pig breeder in the world with a total of 460 million heads. Our refrigerators are already filled with meat imports from the United States and Australia. If we don’t take action now, we may have to give up the sweet, sweet taste of Korean beef and pork.

*The writer is an editorial write of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Shim Shang-bok
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