President Park Geun-hye has emphasized that entrepreneurship is “the driving force of sustainable, inclusive growth.” The president urged world leaders to foster entrepreneurship and proposed what she called the “Davos Consensus” at the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting on January 22 in Davos, Switzerland.
In her keynote speech during a panel session at the forum, the president said, “Since the global economic crisis began, the Washington Consensus has not been as sacred as it once was. The world cries out for something more, something that better meets the needs of our time, but a new consensus has yet to emerge.” She asked the gathered participants to “come up with practical guidelines to move us toward an economic, social, political and cultural climate that fosters entrepreneurship.”
The creative economy enables sustainable growth
In order to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, President Park said that the world needs a “paradigm shift,” not merely piecemeal adjustments to macroeconomic policies or labor policies under the existing paradigm. “What we need now—and need urgently—is an engine that takes us beyond these constraints, one that transforms the existing order and helps reshape the world. Korea is seeking that engine in the creative economy,” said the president.
Since the industrial revolution, the president said, the wealth and happiness of nations and of individuals has been marked by a material divide which has recently morphed into a digital divide. She explained that creative industries seek to tap into the natural genius of the human spirit, unlike existing industrial industries which focus on extracting resources from the ground.
The president said that, along with creativity, entrepreneurship is another key to successfully realizing this creative economy vision. “Creativity begets innovative ideas. Entrepreneurship puts innovation into action. Entrepreneurship is what weaves together the beads of creative ideas to create new markets and to build new jobs,” said President Park, while mentioning a Korean proverb that “beads are not considered jewelry unless they are woven together.”
In this respect, she said, “Where businesses fail despite honest and hard work, their credit-worthiness should be restored promptly, so they could try again. We need a climate where entrepreneurs can learn from their failures, bounce back and achieve success.”
President Park called for world leaders to join Korea’s journey toward a creative economy. Mentioning the theme of this year’s forum, “Reshaping the World,” she said that, “The creative economy can offer new opportunities to deal with the diverse challenges that can arise in the course of this transformation.”
President Park said that creativity is non-depletable and that it doesn’t degrade the environment, which therefore unlocks opportunities for sustainable growth. She said that creativity is inherent in all people, regardless of age, class, race or nationality. It therefore holds promise for inclusive growth. “Creative industries offer a path toward resolving the triple pressures of slow growth, high unemployment and income disparities,” said the president.
A blue print for Korean unification
After delivering her speech, President Park held discussions with the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab. When asked about unification on the Korean Peninsula, she introduced her blue print for unification which envisions a bright future and her vision for what a unified peninsula would look like.
She said that unification would offer great opportunities to not only the Korean Peninsula but also to neighboring countries. It would also solve the pain of the North Korean people who suffer under the dictatorship. She emphasized that the world needs to create an environment based on security deterrence that can lead to unification.
As Schwab asked the president about economic assistance during the process of unification, President Park answered that unification would bring a bonanza to not only Korea but also to all of Northeast Asia as it could provide a new growth engine in the region.
Once the Koreas are united, she said, investments will be made in large-scale social infrastructure-building projects in North Korea. This would revitalize the three northeast provinces of China and the maritime provinces of Siberia in Russia. Neighboring countries could then expect even further growth, she said.
The president added that a unified Korean Peninsula would become an attractive investment destination and could lead to further related investments in China and Russia, rather than create an economic burden. “From a humanitarian perspective, unification would be able to solve the great pains of the North Korean people, who suffer poverty and human rights violations,” said President Park. The president also pointed out that unification should take place on the firm ground of security deterrence. She concluded by saying that Korea has been striving to create an environment on the Korean Peninsula that is optimal for peaceful unification.