메뉴 건너뛰기

정희수 칼럼

본문시작


  Dr. Joseph Chung - Column
 정희수 칼럼



This miracle was costly; a great part of Koreans were the object of the violation of human rights by the Park’s government. Kim had the impression that the real secret behind the miracle was the docility and obeisance of the Korean people. Kim was proud of the legacy of Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, although the legacy has produced corruption of the leaders. 
Kim remembered that, in fact, according to a reputed economist, these legacies made possible to establish the Confucian capitalism. Under this type of capitalism, the government decides what to produce, how to produce, for whom to produce, how to allocate capital and labor, the type of technology to use; the government replaces the market mechanism.
The advantage of this sort of capitalism is the rapidity of investment, savings and development of the economy. However, it has costs: market disequilibrium and corruption. Nonetheless, it was the driving force of the Han River Miracle. But, we must remember that it was possible, because the Korean people were docile and hard working.
Kim knew that the young generation people in Montreal are not proud of Korea because of the corruption of its leaders. But they should also know that the corruption is a part of Korean culture so that the corrupted leaders do not feel guilty for their corruption. It does not mean that we should justify it, but we should find ways of correcting it. One possibility is Christianity, the true Christianity, the non-corrupted Christianity.
Kim knew also that, in the Asian value system composed of Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, there is no clear cut notion of right and wrong. That is, the corrupted leaders do not feel guilty of their corruption; that is why it is so difficult to eliminate it. On the other hand, Greek-Roman-Christian tradition in the West has clear notion of “good-evil”, “justice-injustice”.
On the other hand, the constitution, the civil law, the criminal law and many other laws in Korea are mostly I ported from western countries; they are based on the recognition of good-bad notion. The difficulty is that these laws are not fully respected because of the lack of conviction among Asian people about good-bad. The only solution would be the rigorous application of these laws by strong political will. This is what had happened in Singapore/
Kim is convinced that one of the urgent challenges faced by Korea is precisely is one of getting of the deep-rooted corruption. Kim knows that unless Korea gets rid of the corruption culture, the sustained growth of its economy will be compromised. In short, as long as Kim is concerned, the fight against the corruption is a matter of survival of its economy
Kim knows has read somewhere that the vision of Singapore is to become a moral power, not economic power. Kim admires the people of Singapore for their such wide vision. Korea has much to learn from Singapore.
Kim often discussed this aspect of Korea with his children and had a reasonable success in convincing them of some aspects of the positive elements of the philosophical and spiritual legacy. Kim thought that he made his children patriots who identify the problems and try to solve them, that is, the true patriots.
For Kim, Korea could become leader in Asia. The economies of advanced countries have not been able to recover rapidly from the global financial crisis of 2008; they lost their dynamism; they are now facing uncertain future.
It is true that the crisis was due to irresponsible issues of derivatives, absence of proper surveillance, cumulated liquidity, undue optimism, illogical mortgage loans and the deep integration of the global financial market. However, the real reason is the end of the golden era of economic propriety based on information technology. Unless one finds another major technology, the economies of advanced countries will remain stagnant.
As far as Kim is concerned, it is quite true that the center of economic gravity is moving toward East Asia. However,  he knew that the rapid economic development of East Asia is made possible by the establishment of the production chain by investors of advanced countries, especially those of the United States and Japan.
These countries have decided to move their firms to East Asia because of the rising production cost, especially labor cost. The rising production cost is the result of forty years of sustained prosperity; it is in fact the result of unprecedented success of advanced economies. In other words, the very success had invited the difficulty of rising production cost.
A professor told Kim once that the East Asian economy has better survived the global crisis than that of the West; it is also true that the economy of East Asia has recovered more easily from the global crisis than that of the West.
But, the prosperity of East Asia is not produced by the creativity of East Asians; it is planted by the West. In most of the East Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand Indonesia and the Philippines, the economy grows owing to the production chain without broad basis in such a way that if the production chain breaks, the whole economy will crumble down.

Therefore, it looked obvious that it is necessary for the East Asian countries to broaden the basis of economic growth through the diversification of industries, development of high technologies, the improvement of productivity of the economy and the expansion of intra-regional market for goods and services. In other words, what is needed is the strategy of intra-regional development while maintaining close links with countries outside the region.
Kim told, with pride, his children about Korea’s leadership in the process of building an East Asia Economic Community. He explained that the intraregional development requires proper multilateral institutions. The earliest institution was the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) which was established in 1967 in order to prevent the intrusion of communism of Vietnam. At that time, it had six member countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei. It was expanded after the 1997 Asian financial crisis and Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar joined. It has now ten member countries. 
Nancy and Paul were impressed with their father’s wide knowledge and his love for Korea.
Kim added that in 2001, the Korean president Kim Dae-jung proposed a broader institution by the name of East Asia Vision Group (ESVG); later, again upon the proposition of President Kim, the East Asia Study Group (EASG), which proposed in 2005 the creation of the East Asia Summit (EAS). The EAS is the mechanism of regular meetings of the heads of 18 countries: 10 ASEAN member countries, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., India and Russia. This is the most important non-binding multilateral institution. The latest development was the creation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (ACEP) with 16 countries; the U.S. and Russia are excluded. The RCEP is a more practical mechanism and it will play the key role for the creation of East Asia Economic Community.
<to be continued>



Close