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To Reduce the Poverty Rate….Give “Economic Freedom” Instead of Welfare2017-01-03Hit:746


To Reduce the Poverty Rate...Give 'Economic Freedom' Instead of Welfare

"Obsession with justice easily deprives the others' right to live. Being on the side of justice may give one mental satisfaction, but who will be responsible for those who are in the life and death situation?"

Through the “Regular News Nov.16th” on the “meaning of economic freedom”, Professor Byoung Tae Lee from KAIST emphasized that the economic downturn of the nation is resulted from the stagnation of consumer activities, caused by various recent social issues, including law to restrict phone subsidies, extension of retirement age and anti-bribery and graft act. 

Professor Lee further maintained that those who are damaged the most by the government regulation is the economical weak, and the factor that can support this particular social group is economic freedom, not the social welfare. While the higher degree of economic freedom is different from better social welfare, we tend to restrict economic freedom to solve welfare problems. Although many people think that many North European nations, benefiting from ample social welfare and labor protection, fall behind in terms of economic freedom, they actually are leading in both aspects.  

Why is economic freedom so important? Professor Lee answered to this question through various examples. The difference in poverty rates of countries with high and low economic freedom is proven to be huge, showing 1.9% and 30.6% each. The average salary of bottom 10% in a nation with a high economic freedom is $11,283, higher than those in a nation with a low economic freedom by 10 times. The average life expectancy of a country with high economic freedom is 80.4, and that of a nation with low economic freedom is 64. It applies the same when it comes down to political and civil rights. The citizens of a nation with higher economic freedom are proven to exercise more individual rights, leading to a higher degree of democracy and better quality of life.

As for the declining economic freedom in Korea, Professor Lee maintained that “Korea’s collectivist idea on realizing social justice by putting restriction on the economic freedom of a particular group of people actually works to deprive the individual freedom of many people in society”. Professor Lee further mentioned about the problem of increasing social inequality, and he pointed out that “data have been partially exaggerated within a short period of time, and they often denied the macro-scientific evidence that has been accumulated over 10~20 years”.

Contact : Lee, Sohyun ( sohyun.c.lee@kaist.ac.kr )