Kim Kwang-doo, top economic adviser to President Moon Jae-in and a rare conservative voice in the left-leaning administration, has offered to resign from his post as the vice chair of the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) in charge of mapping out economic policies.
Kim, a former Sogang University economics professor who had advised both conservative and liberal presidents Park Geun-hye and Moon in their economic platforms as presidential candidates, is considered to have added balance to the economic policies of the liberal government otherwise dominated by progressive scholars and activist-turned politicians.
Kim had assumed the position as vice chair of the NEAC, an economic consultative body chaired by the president, since the beginning of the administration. During his tenure, he has repeatedly warned of the side effects of the steep increases in the minimum wage, one of the signature policies under Moon’s income-led growth initiative.
In August, he reportedly held a private meeting with the president to propose policy adjustments in light of the country’s worsening economic conditions.
Kim first expressed his wishes to resign last month, a senior ruling party official said, adding that Kim seems to believe he has fulfilled his duty under the current administration.
The 71-year-old economist is credited for playing a crucial role in extending the flexible working hours to accommodate corporate concerns following the reduced workweek. In July, Korea cut its maximum working hours from 68 to 52 hours per week. The move was met with fierce opposition across the industry, which feared the new policy would disrupt operations, especially in sectors with irregular work schedules.
Moon, in response to Kim’s repeated pleas for a relaxed flextime, gathered the five party leaders last month and signed a preliminary bipartisan agreement to broaden the flextime policy for certain industries.
Prior to joining the Moon administration, Kim was a former adviser to ousted President Park Geun-hye during her campaign in 2012. Park was impeached in March 2017 over a massive corruption scandal. While Kim gained fame as Park’s “economics tutor,” he never served in the Park administration.
By Park Yong-beom and Kim Hyo-jin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]