The ballast water in the national economy
Let’s say the Korean economy is a ship. In order for the lump of steel to float in the water and sail safely, scientific design is critical. The design needs to make sure that the ship can safely sail with a maximum load of cargo and people on board. The ship design for the economy should be the most effective and stable economic structure. The balance of efficiency and safety should reflect the characteristics of the sea the ship is sailing. The key to the safe voyage is filling up the ballast water. The ballast water in national economy is the job and income. When employment is maintained appropriately, the ship can sail stably without being tripped over by waves.
The ballast water is not in sight, while passengers and cargos are visible. So it is tempting to reduce what’s not in sight and increase what’s obvious. Jobs and income don’t grow instantly. But speculative businesses and real estate investment can show immediate economic boosts.
However, Korea is a low-growth country with an average growth of 3 percent. Without some kind of magic, the low-growth trend is likely to stay. But even when we move forward slowly, we need to prioritize adding jobs and increasing income. Job sharing and the redistribution of income need to be expanded. It is expected that jobs requiring a college degree or higher are likely to be in shortage, so the education policy should shift the focus from college admission to vocational training in high school and professional schools.
The captain of the ship is the president of the Republic of Korea. And the crew members are the government and the National Assembly. If the captain and the crew members illegally change the design, overload the ship and reduce the ballast water, someone must control such an act. Who can stop them? Only the citizens, the owners of the ship, can do it. There are over 50 million owners, but many of them don’t even realize their ownership. They are only treated as owners for the election, but once the election is over, they are treated like the third-class passengers suffering from seasickness in the shabby cabins of the illegally expanded ship.
There is no election this year. And the citizens will not get treated as the owners. But it is also an opportunity for the ship owners to prove their existence. The owners need to order the captain and the crew members that we can sail slowly as long as the journey is safe.
by Jeon Sang-hoon, CEO of Egis Communications
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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