Globalization and the Economy

Seoul, Korea, February 10-14, 2000
The Global Economy and Values
Chairman: Prof. Leonard P. Liggio, Atlas Economic Research Foundation

Utilitarianism introduces a minimum standard of values. In general, Utilitarianism is an accepted minimum for social interaction. But, there is a wider standard of values based on natural rights and justice. Ideally, social interaction should be based on a standard based on natural rights.

Sadly, many people do not understand the strict science of ethics, and they seek to intrude other concerns into the idea of justice between persons. They destroy justice by trying to have it cover too many issues. Where there is government intervention or regulation in the economy, there is room for injustice. The obstacles to production raised by regulation lead to corruption. Privatization is the best solution to corruption.

Improving standards of living are the best measures of success or failure in the global economy. In 1960, international agencies said that Korea could never improve its living standard, which was at $400 per capita. Other Asian countries with similar standards were predicted to move way ahead of Korea. Today, Korea has a living standard of $18,000, and the then favorites are where they were forty years ago. What values of the Korean culture have made these gains possible? Has the market economy with a utilitarian perspective in Korea rewarded its citizens in comparison to other Asian societies?

Traditions and customs have been identified by Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek has embodying the accumulated wisdom of centuries. He shows that just as Law, the custom of many centuries, is legitimate compared to the transitory acts of momentary legislators, so also moral traditions are legitimate in comparison to the momentary decisions of individuals.

Mankind has survived by moral customs and by law, and has been undermined by momentary decisions and by legislation. Based on change over time and by the test of standards by trial and error, traditions and law provide guidance for success in contrast to momentary decision and legislation.