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Friday, May 27, 2005

Self-employment policy - modernize!

Had to find out what was going on after reading from Pressian that the Democratic Labor Party, striving to side with the small businesskeepers (or self-employed, chayôngôpcha) as well, was steaming in response to the news about the planned policy measures concerning the huge and struggling self-employed population.

Hankyoreh has the Yonhap piece about the coming outlines of the self-employment policy. To put it briefly, the government is aiming to sort out small businesses which are competitive enough and support them, and encourage those without prospects to find a new job. Actually the term that's being used in the plans for the overhaul of the self-employment sector is the same that sent chills to the spines of wage employees at the time of the "IMF" crisis: kujô chojông, "structural adjustment."

Background for the plans is for example the estimation by Korean Development Institute (KDI) that the real income of the self-employed has diminished by 18% since the year 2000. The big picture in the end is the notion that the self-employment sector is not fitting for Korea to become a developed nation: in Korea it employs over 30% of the work force, which is three times more than in "developed nations" (sônjin'guk). There are too many people working in retail, wholesale, food and lodging businesses and other services according to the government strategy to create new jobs for the "20 000 dollar GNP era."

This appears as another state-led modernization project in the good Korean tradition. Sae chayôngôp undong.

The branches that the government is targeting cover pretty much most of self-employment: retail and wholesale (도.소매업), restaurants and lodging (음식.숙박업), freight cars and taxis (화물차.택시), and garment industry (봉제업).

So much for now; this should give me note-writing material for the next week, so I should be writing some details and comments soon.

Donga Ilbo serial of five articles about the problems of small businesses from late last year

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