What we need is the chutzpah spiritThe growth engines of the Korean economy are fading away. Latest economic growth rates are something we’ve never seen. Recent economic indicators, from the growth rate to the unemployment rate, are less than satisfactory. In the 2014 global entrepreneurship index, Korea was ranked at 32nd place among 120 nations. Considering the size of the economy, it is absurdly low. Korea was rated lower than Colombia and Latvia.
At this juncture, what we desperately need to break through the situation is the Israeli spirit of chutzpah.
In Hebrew, chutzpah means audacity, boldness and gut. It is the power that has made today’s Israel. Chutzpah is comprised of seven elements, including informality, questioning authority and learning from failure. Israelis boldly ask questions without being influenced by authority or status, convey their ideas boldly, are not restricted by formality and persistently challenge. And they use the experiences of failure for encouragement and improvement.
Just like Korea, Israel is not blessed with natural resources. It is a small country, about the size of North Gyeongsang province, and has a population of eight million. But Israel used all its shortcomings as a blessing. Israel has the third most number of Nasdaq-listed companies and one in 800 people start his or her own business. 22 percent of Nobel laureates come from Israel. Venture capitals around the world flow into Israel, and Google, Microsoft, Intel and many other multinational research institutes are located here.
In the rapid paradigm changes of the fourth industrial revolution, the structure and success formula of the past is not valid. Rather than be disappointed and frustrated by the challenges of the present, we need to use them as opportunities to move towards a Korea with greater dreams for the next century.
Professor at Ewha Womans University School of Business