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Toward balance

Jan 02,2018
Conflict weakens the function of communication in a society. We are ever-communicating and connected through the internet and social media. But we are nevertheless a closed society, keeping to the groups of our interests either on the left or right. The self-righteous in their own world build walls around themselves and shut out anyone with different thoughts and opinions.

They act as if they own justice and distrust anyone who is not on their side. They dig out the past and remove the opponents and their policies. They choose to ignore opposing or critical voices and pay heed only to the chants of approval and encouragement. Anyone challenging their views is stigmatized as the members of the “old school” that must retire from the society. Their inner group tightens and becomes more and more out of the touch with the broader majority in the society.

We must restore public debate in order to normalize communication in society. The media must play its role in bringing people together and mediating their differences. Truth lies at the center. We must set the grounds to build and strengthen the social capacity of reason and common sense. We must speak out against bigotry and blind faith in a certain dogma as well as signs of irregularities and corruption in the governing power.

J-nomics, referring to the economic policy of President Moon Jae-in, is focused on redistribution. It aims to hike taxes and income through increases in minimum wage, public-sector employees, permanent jobs, corporate taxes, and social allowances to revitalize the economy. We agree to its goal of easing inequalities and engaging the socially weak through better social benefits.

But redistribution through higher taxes on the richer cannot work in reality. A populist agenda can bring down society as it had been the case with Venezuela. If there is no growth, there won’t be income left for redistribution. The power of innovation and enterprise is needed more than ever in the age of the fourth industrial revolution. The business community must be encouraged to venture with “destructive creativity.” Jobs and growth would be generated in their evolution.

In the new year, as in the past, things won’t be easy. We must revive Korean dynamics by doing away with the outdated ideological dichotomies. We must bear both the farsighted and near-sighted viewpoints of a bird and worm. The news outlets must perform their duty to broaden the public’s view and help society come to better judgment for the common good.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 1, Page 26