Younger Koreans Value Growth Over Equality

  • By Kim Hyeong-won

    September 21, 2019 08:24

    Koreans in their 20s and 30s are more interested in economic growth than social justice, according to a recent poll by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

    The ministry commissioned the Korea Employment Information Service in April to poll 1,200 young people nationwide aged between 19 and 34.

    The ministry found to its dismay that 42 percent of respondents wanted a society that values growth more than income distribution, whereas only 27 percent answered the other way round.

    Asked whether they prefer equality or autonomy, 43.8 percent said autonomy and 27 percent chose equality. They said even in the future growth and autonomy will be more important than equality and fairness. 

    The findings are a slap in the face of President Moon Jae-in, who said in a Chuseok speech on Sept. 11, "I wish for a country that is fair to everyone. We are embarking on a new path toward a country that is prosperous for all."

    The survey was conducted to gauge the response of young people to 161 policies targeting them last year.

    They are overwhelmingly pessimistic about youth unemployment, with 71.8 percent saying employment policy is the most important factor to help improve the lives of young people.

    Welfare garnered 21 percent, and family and child support just 4.8 percent. Education came a surprising last with just two percent.

    Shim Jae-chul, a lawmaker for main opposition Liberty Korea Party, was pleased with the findings. "Moon doesn't seem to want to know or understand why young people are outraged by the Cho Kuk scandal and are coming out in droves to protest," he said. "It's never too late to listen to them, and focus on growth and autonomy rather than income distribution." 

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