Asia Future Forum opens in Seoul, discussing a people-centered economy

Posted on : 2014-10-22 10:58 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Former president of Finland and US ambassador among guests at forum the new economy’s grass-roots renaissance
 the evening before the opening of the 2014 Asia Future Forum
the evening before the opening of the 2014 Asia Future Forum

 sponsored by the Hankyoreh
sponsored by the Hankyoreh

“Just as a forest cannot only be composed of big trees, it is dangerous for one or two large monopolistic corporations to dominate a country’s economy.”

Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland, came to Seoul to deliver the keynote address at the 2014 Asia Future Forum. She was talking about the downfall of Nokia, Finland’s mobile phone manufacturer.

“Our mistake was to concentrate on one or two large corporations. Now, we are focusing on the heavy chemical industry, the content and network industry, and small- and medium-sized enterprises,” Halonen said.

Halonen spoke for about an hour with Cho Han Hye-jeong, professor emeritus at Yonsei University, at the Millennium Seoul Hilton in Seoul on the afternoon of Oct. 21.

When asked about the Northern European practice of high taxes on citizens, who are in turn provided with extensive welfare, Halonen emphasized that “it has to be built on experience with welfare and trust in the state.”

“When people experience for themselves how their tax dollars come back to them, they naturally become ready to pay. But this has to be backed by trust in the state, which needs to use tax money transparently to show that it is not just robbing people,” she said.

 at the Millennium Seoul Hilton in Seoul on Oct. 21. (by Lee Jeong-yong
at the Millennium Seoul Hilton in Seoul on Oct. 21. (by Lee Jeong-yong

The former Finnish president also referred to the sinking of the Sewol ferry. “About 20 years ago, we also lost hundreds of people when the MS Estonia sank, and we had annual memorial services for a long time. These kinds of tragedies occur at the intersection of problems and risks. If we do not make an effort to change, they will continue to occur,” she said.

The 2014 Asia Future Forum, which is organized by the Hankyoreh, will take place at the Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel from Oct. 22 to Oct. 23. The theme of the forum, which is currently in its fifth year, is “People-Centered Economy: Cooperation of Business and Society.”

During the keynote address on the first day, Halonen and Dean Baker, a progressive economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, talked about a people-centered economy and sustainable growth based on the experiences of Northern Europe and the US.

This speech will also serve as the topic of a roundtable discussion in which Chung Un-chan, former prime minister of South Korea and chairman of the Korea Institute for Shared Growth, Kim Kwang-doo, president for the Institute for the Future of State, and others will participate.

During the plenary session on the first day, Lars Danielsson, Swedish Ambassador to Korea; Min Hyung-bae, mayor of Gwangsan District in Gwangju; and Juanjo Martin, professor at Mondragon University, will take part in a discussion about the human-centered economy that is undergoing a grass roots renaissance.

On Oct. 23, the second day of the forum, breakout sessions will be held on four topics, including corporate social responsibility.

During the opening ceremony on Oct. 22, the congratulatory address will be delivered by Chung Hong-won, Prime Minister of South Korea, and Sung Kim, US Ambassador to Korea, with Yun Du-hyeon, senior secretary of public relations for the Blue House, and New Politics Alliance for Democracy lawmakers Ahn Cheol-soo and Kim Gi-shik in attendance.

The business sector will be represented by Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the CJ Group; Park Yong-maan, chairman of the Seoul Chamber of Commerce; Han Dong-woo, chairman of the Shinhan Financial Group; Kim Jung-tai, chairman of the Hana Financial Group; and Kim Sang-hun, CEO of Naver.


[Note: Detailed information about the program of and participations in the 5th Asia Future Forum are found on the official website. ]


By Kim Hoe-seung, researcher at the Hankyoreh Economic Research Institute and Kwon Oh-sung, staff reporter

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