Intellectuals blast campaign pledges

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Intellectuals blast campaign pledges

Hundreds of scholars, lawyers and other opinion leaders voiced concerns yesterday about presidential campaign pledges aimed at reining in large conglomerates, saying “impromptu” populist measures would only hamper business activities.

As the December presidential election nears, both ruling and opposition camps have upheld the slogan “economic democratization,” which centers on overhauling the nation’s all-powerful conglomerates, or chaebol, in a bid to appeal to voters unhappy with the growing income gap and soaring household debts in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

About 600 professors, lawyers and writers, who are considered conservatives, gathered in downtown Seoul to issue a statement to criticize the political parties’ chaebol reform moves.

“It is a self-destructive act to have companies’ hands and feet tied at a time when the government should craft strategies to raise their global competitiveness,” the statement said. “Economic democratization is an impromptu policy aimed at voters, which would seriously shrink [Korean] companies and the economy.”

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