During election campaigns, citizens pay more attention to ‘who runs as the candidate’, rather than ‘whose policy best understands the hardships of citizens’. This attitude is not to be praised. In fact, if we give attention to what policy the candidate is dealing with, we can surely notify whose policy it is. The reason for this is that a person’s values and dignities are reflected in his or her policy. This year’s election, more than any others, is thought to be concentrating on ‘who is running’ because the candidates have relentlessly been talked about on the media. So how about we play a game? We will show you a list of policies that three candidates pledged. Guess whose policy it is.
“X”, “Everything is connected - a virtuous cycle policy”
X suggested a reform of the chaebol (the family-controlled conglomerates) by saying “The conglomerates are above the law in the existing laws”. To be more specific, X mentioned the need of enactment of the “corporate group law”and said that there needs to be a reduction of favor for major corporates and a promotion in small enterprises. Moreover, regarding the promotion of small enterprises, X announced that there will be an increase of support for those in need.
2. Social Welfare/Education
“Welfare simply is not about sharing things and consuming” is what X claimed, and underlined the virtuous cycle of welfare where occupation and welfare are intimately linked together. Moreover, X said that fundamental social restructure must be the basis in order to solve the education problem, since education works as a variable in social structure. In other words, a society where everyone calls out for major universities and conglomerates should be reformed. In order for this to work, there needs to be a policy which provides a stable economic lifestyle to those who don’t have enough ability to take the path of a successful career.
3. Inter-Korean Policy
“If national security is not guaranteed on the Korean Peninsula, a welfare state would be still far off” is what X stated in a public statement. Peace in Korea should be the basis for the overall social development of Korea.
Either the plan is mentioned thoroughly or the candidate is having desire to show a specific plan. This candidate did announce in a public statement recently, however it can be seen in the welfare policy, there’s no specification. Negative public opinions like “how good will it be if the policy works out just fine”, “It’s not like nobody knew about it” have been aroused.
Y, “Korea Welfare Model”
In order to democratize and vitalize the economy, the government needs to guarantee corporations of justifiable activities up to the hilt and abolish unnecessary regulations. Whereas, for “to big, to fail” corporatations, social responsibilities will be given by carrying out firm law enforcement.
No word is yet mentioned about the distribution of national resources, but in the case of individual policy, corporate tax will be maintained, and welfare will be expanded to keep the balance of financial ability. In relation to the education policy, Y said “The direction of education should prosper students to move closer to their dreams” and that “education is what should be considered as the most important factor for a happy community”.
3. Inter-Korean Policy
Y believed inter-Korean diplomacy should be upgraded to a higher level; the biggest impediment to reconciliation between North and South Korea was lack of trust. South Korea should take a firm stance against the North’s provocations, and at the same time be lenient to consider the possibility of improving the relationship with the North. In order to establish a trustworthy diplomatic relationship, an upgraded policy is needed; thus, Y suggested a ‘balanced policy’.
First, Y is not looking at Korean economy in the sight of fair competition, but understanding it as an establishment of fair market economy. The focal point seems to be blurry for Y. A longer sighted approach is needed for this candidate to better understand the circumstances of distribution of income and of practical competition. Second, the market economy consists of very complicated structures, so if the system is reorganized in a very firm way, the order of the market might be straightened (but never will fair competition). Therefore, through Y’s policy, the real fair society can never be developed to the point where the citizens of Korea want.
Z, “For the ‘weak’”
In order to restructure the structure of chaebol, a restriction on the total investment should be revived and the separation of financial and industrial capital should be strengthened as well. The former suggestion was actually abolished in March, 2009 in the purpose of deregulation. But since Z saw a reckless diversification of major businesses, Z claims to restrict those. The latter suggestion (the separation of financial and industrial capital means a block of corporatations and banking industries uniting) is planned to prevent the privatization of banking industries and to reform chaebol structure.
“Distribution through redistribution” is what Z suggested in order to reduce polarization. In specific, free lunch, medical services, a 50% reduction in university tuition fee, and day care systems will be expanded. Plus, so as to implement these plans, a withdrawal of tax reduction for the rich, an adjustment of maximum tariffs for corporate tax for major conglomerates, and an increased taxation bills from the super-rich will happen to reinforce finances.
3. Inter-Korean Policy
Z revealed that for the peace of both sides of Korea, the South should strive to make an economic community before considering political unification. In the next five years, an exchange of material and human resources will be set to expand. Moreover, this candidate criticizes the current government national security policy in that it is too complacent and showed the intention to succeed the former presidents’ sunshine policy.
Some say that in the case of economy pledge, the Korean banking industry is lagging behind when the world banking industries are rising above water. There are more criticisms behind Z’s policy and overall, the policy seems to have been leaning to one side, especially, many are worrying about the inter-Korean policy.
What do you think? Did you guess all the candidates correctly? If you are very interested in the presidential election, you probably scored fine, but it seems that more people have been having trouble guessing who is who. For those who did not get the answers right, you should search your heart for the attitude you took if you were only into the characters. NOW, we only have a little time to consider the right policy for Korea. Be sure to make your vote count on December 19th.
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