Deregulation is the key

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Deregulation is the key

As Korea’s industrial structure undergoes a rapid change toward a more sophisticated, high-end direction, startups based on scientific and technological innovation have been increasing. With that dramatic evolution, industries are also experiencing convergence and fusion at a dazzling speed. As a result, an industry bent on a particular technology can swiftly lose competitiveness, while another one taking advantage of technological convergence can take a bigger share of the economic pie. Despite the seismic industrial transformations, however, regulations still remain intact.

Examples of outdated regulations in high technology - exposed by a thorough examination by six related government agencies, including the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety - explicitly show how rampant government regulations are across the industrial spectrum. For instance, a professor at a university hospital developed a mobile application that enables doctors to calculate the probability that a certain type of cancer could occur through his persistent efforts to combine his lifetime of clinical data and information technology. Unfortunately, though, the current law bans doctors and scholars from supplying medical applications to the medical community; only medical instrument manufacturers can handle those gadgets used to diagnose and treat diseases. The professor had to give up a dream of bringing his innovative advancement to society. Such outmoded regulations are abundant: local military software designers face discrimination; Big Data industries are hurt by excessive protections of personal information; and stifling regulations on containers obstruct the expansion of hydrogen stations.

Deregulating is a prerequisite to the emergence of new industries and markets. But existing regulations fail to meet the new industrial environment. Unless all unnecessary regulations regarding information technology, biology, nanotech and robotics are removed, our national competitiveness can hardly improve. Compared to our national competitiveness rank of 19th, our deregulation rank is 96th. Relevant government ministries belatedly vowed to scrap 18 unreasonable regulations quickly. The Park Geun-hye administration has singled out over-regulation as public enemy No. 1 to her “creative economy.” Deregulation on science and technology in particular must be accelerated.
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