Getting back to businessAmid profound sadness and frustration over the Sewol disaster, the sixth local elections have ended. Now is the time for us to exert all our energy to revive our economy, which nearly shuddered to a halt after the tragic sinking of the ferry. The entire nation has been feeling unfathomable shame and guilt over the tragic deaths of hundreds of innocent students aboard the ship. After the disaster, consumers closed their wallets and companies postponed the release of new products and investments.
The latest available statistics say it all. Industrial output across the board in April fell 0.5 percent compared to the previous month, followed by a one percent decrease in the services sector, which is mostly comprised of mom-and-pop businesses in local neighborhoods. Despite an urgent need to revitalize the sluggish economy, our politicians were totally engrossed in blaming each other for the Sewol tragedy. As a result, our economy has lost momentum to rebound — despite a slight sign of recovery from the beginning of this year.
But we cannot be in mourning forever. Deep grief and anger cannot prevent a recurrence of such a disaster, and they may only lead to a more serious crisis of prolonged economic slowdown and a fatal loss of a new growth engine for the economy. Keeping people from slipping into poverty and unemployment is as crucial as ensuring their safety. Of course, the government must do its best to resolve the crises in our inadequate attitude toward public safety. But it must also rejuvenate the economy.
We urge both the ruling Saenuri Party and opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy to stop fighting and roll up their sleeves to enact laws to help improve citizens’ livelihoods.
The central government must immediately reactivate President Park Geun-hye’s ambitious threeyear plan for economic innovation to rekindle a failing light for recovery. Businesses and citizens also must get back to businesses. That’s one of the surest way to hand over a better nation to the next generation.