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Brief Reports

Report that suggests the national future strategies based on the analysis of major future issues by the research team

[National Future Strategy Insight] One Year with COVID-19: How Did People’s Lives Change? No. 12

Associate Research Fellow Heo Jong-ho investigated the changes that came to the Korean people in terms of “Changes in jobs and income,” “Changes in family relationships,” “Changes in the awareness of value and actions related to infectious disease prevention and control,” and “Changes in health.” The findings identified the damage experienced by the people from COVID-19, especially by the vulnerable groups. It predicted that if the pandemic is to go on, there will be greater socioeconomic inequality. In terms of “Changes in jobs and income,” among the respondents aged 20 and over, 5.5% experienced a change in jobs such as layoffs or closures of business. Among the 5.5%, 55.6% were female and 44.4% were male. Of the total respondents, 19.6% answered that their income decreased, and the amount of decrease of monthly income was KRW 795,000 on average. Although 88.2% of employees (who receive income from an employer) did not experience a decrease in income, 61.2% of those who were self-employed responded that their incomes decreased, and 9.7% of self-employed responded that their monthly incomes decreased by at least KRW one million in average. In terms of “Changes in family relationships,” 14.8% of the respondents said that their family relationships became better after COVID-19. However, for households in Seoul metropolitan area, public assistance recipient households, and one-person households, family relationships became worse rather than becoming better. For “Changes in the awareness of value and actions related to infectious disease prevention and control,” 69% of the respondents agreed that it is necessary to sacrifice some aspects of daily life to prevent the spread of the virus. Among the respondents, 55% agreed that those who were infected with the virus were at fault for being so, and 63.2% agreed that it is necessary to disclose information on the movements of those confirmed to have the virus. The percentages of those living in Seoul metropolitan area who agreed with the three statements were approximately 3%-7% lower than those of those not living in Seoul metropolitan area. For “Changes in health,” 16.6% of the respondents said that they became healthier after COVID-19. It was also noted that the percentage of one-person households who took action to stay healthy was approximately 1%-5% lower than that of other households. The percentage of females who are at high risk of depression was 10% lower than that of males, 19% of the respondents aged 20 and older said that they reduced smoking, whereas 6.9% responded that they smoked even more. Smoking was reduced more for females than for males (Male 18.6% vs. Female 24.2%). Of the respondents, 13.0% answered that they reduced drinking by 1.6 times a week on average. The percentage of males who responded that they reduced drinking was 2.5 times greater than that of females, and 22.0% of those aged 20 and over responded that they reduced drinking. The study was conducted by the research team of the National Assembly Futures Institute last year, and was based on the responses related to COVID-19 in the “Survey of Happiness of the Korean People” conducted on 14,000 males and females aged 15 and over from all around the country. Dr. Heo stated that “at an international level, the numbers suggest that Koreans are relatively less miserable, but the results still pointed to the serious impact from COVID-19 that hit vulnerable groups the hardest. Also, there is concern regarding potential greater socioeconomic inequality,” and advised that “there should be evidence-based policies for not only infectious disease prevention and control, but also regarding socioeconomic inequalities that stem from COVID-19.”

P.I : Heo Jong-ho

Date : 2021-02-16

[National Future Strategy Insight] An Investigation into and Future Challenges regarding Education Policies to Expand Psychological and Social Capital, No. 11

[National Future Strategy Insight] An Investigation into and Future Challenges regarding Education Policies to Expand Psychological and Social Capital, No. 11 Associate Research Fellow Sung Moon-ju presented challenges related to education policies to expand “psychological capital,” healthy and positive psychological states of individuals, and “social capital,” intangible capital that comes from the social relationships between people and lead to individual or public benefits in her report. After identifying the current levels of psychological and social capitals of the members of society, it was found that it is necessary to improve the levels of both types of capital. Particularly, levels of resilience, participation and networking, and public trust were especially low, and so it was concluded that these levels must be significantly improved. In terms of the low-income, it was found that the state must actively intervene to improve the levels of psychological and social capitals. The role of university education to expand psychological and social capitals also needed to be strengthened. Based on these findings, the report listed the following challenges in relation to education policies: implementation of various types of evaluation methods and evaluation criteria for elementary and middle school education, and the separation of student evaluation at the classroom level and at the national level; increase of the opportunities for students to participate in developing national elementary and middle school education curricula and decision making processes of schools in terms of the education curriculum; development of a program to improve the level of psychological capital for university students at the university level; increase of the accessibility and the number of programs for adults to improve resilience; and establishment of an education organization that strengthens intangible social learning. Dr. Sung stated that “in order to achieve the national goal of securing national competitiveness and improving the quality of life of the citizens with innovative growth, there must be a greater perspective on capital,” and added that “to expand the capitals that come from human capabilities, it is necessary to comprehensively consider not only human capital, but also psychological and social capital and find a balance among them. This will make it possible to achieve the country’s goals.” ※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.

P.I : Sung Moon-ju

Date : 2021-01-20

[National Future Strategy Insight] A Survey on the Future Values of Koreans, No. 10

Min Bo-gyeong, the head of the Quality of Life Group, conducted a “Survey on the Future Values of Koreans” to identify the values of younger Korean generations and predict the future Korean society. According to the National Future Strategy Insight No. 10, most of the participants predicted that the future will be hopeful, but the level of happiness of individuals will be similar to the one in the present. It was found that the elderly and low-income groups had a less hopeful outlook for the future. Although the participants expected that the future will be fairer than the present, they also expected that there will still be serious conflicts. Accordingly, it was highlighted that there must be preemptive measures to address potential future conflicts. In terms of comparison and analysis among different generations, it was found that younger generations considered leisure to be more important than older generations, and they also had less of a sense of duty regarding work. In addition, younger generations preferred a more autonomous and fulfilling life, and considered new challenges important. Lastly, younger generations were highly accepting towards new ideas about the family and scientific technology such as companion animals and human robots. Accordingly, future strategies should take into account these characteristics. For the “Survey on the Future Values of Koreans,” the research team of the National Assembly Futures Institute defined younger generation to be those currently in their teens and twenties. These findings were based on a survey of 5,321 men and women aged 13 and over living in Korea as of 2020 to identify implications for future policies. Dr. Min stated that “in order to derive national future strategies that define and realize a harmonious common idea of the future that reflects the various values of the citizens, there must be an understanding of the values of the citizens,” and explained that “this study helps to detect and predict the trend of values by conducting a survey on future values, and was designed to predict potential future issues and the future Korean society, and to fulfill the values of younger generations who are different from older generations.” ※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.

P.I : Min Bo-gyeong

Date : 2021-01-07

[National Future Strategy Insight] Social Changes after the Global Pandemic, No. 9

Park Seong-won, the head of the Innovative Growth Group, and Kim You-bean, the head of the Research Support Office, identified unprecedented social changes stemming from COVID-19. Some of the many changes are related to radical social finance policies, greater inequality, risks to women and the vulnerable groups, area closures, depression, domestic violence, remote education, digital transformation, climate change, animal welfare, and human-animal interactions. These are some changes that were identified by the researchers at the National Assembly Futures Institute to discover the social changes that occurred since the global pandemic based on a keyword network analysis of SCOPUS DB (Social Sciences) which has the most data on academic journals. The research team analyzed the perspectives of various scholars on the social changes that occurred as a result of infectious diseases since 2000, including SARS, the swine flu, MERS, and COVID-19. After investigating the unique issues for each period, it was found that during SARS, there was not only an economic shock, but also psychological changes with regard to resilience, social stigma, and psychological anxiety. During the swine flu, there was a focus on the scientific analysis on the spread of the disease with big data and simulations, and there were also discussions on a system to monitor the animals that were the cause of the disease. During MERS, it was possible to identify the spread of information on the disease with the cooperation between the citizens and the government, and also on social media. The research team mentioned that in order to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic, there should be rapid treatment of the disease and vaccine development, an efficient international cooperation system to spread treatments and vaccines, detailed analysis of the effects of the responsive policies, and continuously fine tuning of the policies. Also, it is necessary to secure the people’s trust towards the government to make them cooperate, as well as deriving future-oriented regulation policies. Dr. Park and Dr. Kim explained that “the issues regarding the global economic system that is vulnerable to sudden changes, crisis response governance, distrust in the government, infringement of personal rights and freedom, extreme psychological anxiety, poor international policy cooperation, and the fundamental causes of zoonotic infectious diseases that result in environmental destruction and the poor responses to climate change are issues that have always been present since SARS in 2002. There must be an innovative approach to resolve such issues.” ※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.

P.I : Park Seong-won, Kim You-bean

Date : 2020-12-24

[National Future Strategy Insight] An Analysis on the Ripple Effect of Digital Transformation on Korea’s Economic Society and Political Insights, No. 8

[National Future Strategy Insight] An Analysis on the Ripple Effect of Digital Transformation on Korea’s Economic Society and Political Insights, No. 8 Yeo Yeong-jun, an Associate Research Fellow at the National Assembly Futures Institute, predicted that with a rapid digital transformation, there may be economic growth based on the growth of digital transformation-based industries, but in terms of income distribution, income inequality may become greater. That is to say, expanding government investment to drive digital transformation will accelerate the change in the industrial structure to be more focused on digital capital-intensive industries based on industrial linkage. This will definitely lead the future growth of the Korean economic society. On the other hand, with digital transformation, it was predicted that there will be relatively less jobs and opportunities for middle-skill workers to obtain economic benefits, as digital transformation technology is closely linked to non-routine tasks of high-skilled workers. A wider gap within the labor market will lead to greater household income inequality, which will result in decreased inclusivity in the digital transformation era. Accordingly, it was stated that future innovative policy initiatives in the digital transformation era should be based on the understanding of the propensities of digital transformation technology. In particular, the innovative policy initiatives should include the guarantee and support of various types of learning activities including the up-skilling, re-skilling, and creative learning of human resources within the innovation system. The report analyzed the effects of digital transformation, otherwise known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, on the future Korean economic society in areas of calculated effects by industries, creating added value, and creating and distributing household income. It then identified the potential risks and opportunities presenting themselves to the Korean economic social system in the digital transformation era. Dr. Yeo stated that “in order to execute a major shift to a successful innovative system with digital transformation, organizational culture, labor-management relations, relationship between the education system and industries, and the like, must be completely reset towards a direction to seek creative learning experiences,” and mentioned that “based on the major findings of this research, it may be said that the purpose and vision of the future innovative policies in the digital transformation era should be focused on setting up an environment that strengthens learning capabilities and spreads the ripple effects of education.” ※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.

P.I : Yeo Yeong-jun

Date : 2020-12-10

[National Future Strategy Insight] Responses to the Effects of Climate Change and Suggestions – Focused on Quantitative Comparisons on National Research Policies, No. 7

[National Future Strategy Insight] Responses to the Effects of Climate Change and Suggestions – Focused on Quantitative Comparisons on National Research Policies, No. 7 Kim Eun-a, an Associate Research Fellow of the National Assembly Futures Institute, identified Korea’s preparation for the future effects of climate change in terms of ① Research ② Administration policies, and ③ Legislative policies in her study on the establishment of response strategies to climate change for the future society, a major task of 2020. After analyzing related literature and texts, she defined vulnerable areas as those that lack in quantity and identified such vulnerable areas as the following categories: the movements of different species, public health policies, stable energy supply, and transportation systems. With seminars on such topics with experts, she identified research topics and policy agendas that must be complemented to “increase the level of preparation for the future” in terms of the effects and consequences that stem from climate change. In terms of the movements of different species and public health policies, she pointed out that climate change is considered relatively less important in relation to such policies. There should be basic research on the effects of the movements of species on urban residents and the indirect effects of climate change on health, and the results may be used for communicating with the public to bring about a change in awareness. The suggested policy agendas mostly used the top-down method that brings about change under the leadership of the government, including support policies and institutionalization. In terms of stable energy supply and transportation systems, it was commonly pointed out that the current policies were focused on energy sources or electricity suppliers based on the current amount of demand for electricity or energy. She stated that there should be policies that are based on future predictions related to changes in lifestyle that result from social changes brought about by circumstances such as COVID-19, and that energy policies and urban planning should be implemented to complement one another. The suggested policy agenda should be formulated in such a way as to design an urban space that can reduce the demand for energy and increase energy efficiency, to modify the price of electricity and fuel needed to effectively use market mechanisms, and to set up various systems. Dr. Kim stated that “climate change is a global megatrend that can affect the lives of the people in various ways and will continue on for many more years,” and mentioned that “there should be a well thought out preparation plan at the national level for the mid- to long-term effects on various areas of human life.” ※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.

P.I : Kim Eun-ah

Date : 2020-11-25

[National Future Strategy Insight] The Citizens’ Choice to Switch to a Conservation and Distribution Society, No. 6

Jung Younghoon, a former National Assembly Futures Institute researcher, and Park Seong-won, the head of the Innovative Growth Group, conducted a survey on the citizens’ preference on future policies to realize an ideal future in October, following the deliberative poll on the public’s ideal future society in 2050 they had conducted last year. The survey suggested two policy alternatives for 11 topics including energy production and consumption, means of transportation, response to global infectious diseases, basic income and basic wealth systems, new labor environment including platform labor, and diversifying family types, and then asked the citizens for their choices to realize an ideal future. In summary of the public’s choices for each policy alternative, it was shown that the citizens think that (large) cities need changes rather than rural areas, and that the private sector should be at the center of change, rather than the government. What was interesting was that when it comes to resolving conflicts, the citizens preferred the government or the National Assembly to be responsible rather than the private sector. In terms of energy switch, response to infectious diseases, punishment for hate crimes, and family types, citizens preferred more of a gradual change than a radical change. In terms of welfare policies, the citizens preferred policies that cover everyone, including the current generation and the future generations, instead of focusing on particular age groups or social class. ※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.

P.I : Jung Young-hoon, Park Seong-won

Date : 2020-11-19

[National Future Strategy Insight] A New Way to Derive National Strategies in Response to the Aging Society, No. 5

President Kim Hyeon-gon of the National Assembly Futures Institute has suggested six new ways to derive national strategies in response to the aging society in No. 5 of the “National Future Strategy Insight.” ▼ First, he suggested that rather than keeping with the elderly support policies, there should be a shift in paradigm to an independent aging society considering the fact that anyone can become an elderly person who lives a long life. ▼ Second, he stated that considering the fact that the public actively looks forward to the positive aspects of the future, while seeking to ignore negative possibilities, there should be a ‘Scrooge Strategy’ with regard to the aging society. ▼ Third, there should be a way for the elderly to come together for discussion and design national strategies in response to the aging society for themselves. ▼ Fourth, there should be a national health and physical activity program to which the elderly can actively contribute, leading to more possibilities for the elderly to contribute to society. ▼ Fifth, in order to make sure that the elderly can participate in valuable work and activities after retirement, there should be a national compulsory re-education system for the middle aged and the elderly. ▼ Lastly, there should be a data-based national strategy in response to the aging society by collecting all past data related to aging to analyze the fundamental issues and causes of the aging society in Korea, along with related trends and patterns, to solve the fundamental issues associated with the aging society. President Kim stated that “aging is not simply a change in the demographic structure or change in life expectancy, but more of a fundamental change of the life model,” and emphasized that “with a shift in paradigm in the 21st century, we must have new, different responses that are different from the ones that we have taken in the past.” ※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.

P.I : Kim Hyeon-gon

Date : 2020-11-12

[International Strategy Foresight] The New Normal and Korea’s International Economic Strategies, No. 2

Dr. You Jae-Kwang, a former research fellow of the National Assembly Futures Institute, suggested some strategies that may be adopted by Korea to secure “sustainable economic growth,” a critical economic national interest, in such times where the power struggle between the United States and China is becoming more intense. Dr. You has presented the following international economic strategies in terms of trade, finance, currency, and ODA (Official Development Assistance) in his joint study with the Korean Association of International Studies in 2019. Some international trade strategies that may be adopted by Korea are: decreasing the trade dependence on particular countries; active participation in Mega FTA; linking bilateral trade and multilateral trade; and cooperation based on the universality of a liberal order. International finance strategies are: active cooperation with major global financial stability organizations; expanding the financial safety net; strengthening monetary agreements with other countries; expanding the financial market; and strengthening future-oriented digital financial diplomacy. Regarding international currency strategies, in order to secure an appropriately stable level of exchange rates, he suggested the following strategies: accumulation of foreign exchange reserves; ensure that all strategies match the international standards of Capital Control or Capital Management Measures; and strengthening international financial diplomacy. ODA strategies include: leading the increase in the scale of ODA; modify the paid/unpaid form of ODA in the mid- to long-term; choice and concentration in terms of ODA; and diversification of ODA portfolios. ※ “International Strategy Foresight” is a brief-type research report to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute. Inquiries: Former NAFI Research Fellow Dr. Yoo Jae-Kwang (you.36@buckeyemail.osu.edu)

P.I : You Chae-kwang

Date : 2020-11-05

[National Future Strategy Insight] Could More Legislative Activities be the Future of Our National Assembly, No. 4

Although the legislative activities of the National Assembly have been operative since democratization in 1987, the Head of NAFI Governance Group Park Sang-hoon diagnosed that a review of the following problems is required: excessive competition over the number of introduced bills, inadequate review of and deliberation on bills, and the hasty passing of bills. In fact, as of the 20th National Assembly (2016-2020), the Korean National Assembly proposed/introduced more legislations than major advanced countries including France (20 times more), Japan and Germany (60 times more), and the UK (80 times more). The number of the legislations corresponds to the amount that would take five years for a lawmaker to fully read and review, provided he can read and review bills initiated by fellow lawmakers for four hours a day over 300 days a year, with 15 minutes devoted to each bill. “'More important legislations' rather than 'more numerous legislations' is the future that the National Assembly needs to move forward to. If we select and propose valuable bills through a preliminary review, and enact them after extensive deliberation, discussion, and adjustment, this will lead to increased public trust in the National Assembly,” emphasized Dr. Park. ※ "National Future Strategy Insight" is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute. Inquiries: NAFI Governance Group Head Park Sang-hoon (parksh0305@nafi.re.kr)

P.I : Park Sang-hoon

Date : 2020-10-15