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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

[Futures Brief] Assessment of Future Impact of Science and Technology: European Parliament 2021 Report “Our Response to Unprecedented Issues” (No. 5)

Dr. Park Seong-won (Research Fellow) has confirmed that the economic and social impact was concentrated on the socially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and low-skilled workers during the two years after the COVID-19 crisis worldwide. The brief is based on a report containing a parliamentary evaluation for science and technology to respond to COVID-19 by the European Parliament Technology Assessment Network (EPTA). NAFI participates in the EPTA as an associate member. For rapidly addressing social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on the vulnerable groups, parliaments of each country have urged scientific and technological efforts such as provision of COVID-19 response information using advanced IT and the development of vaccines and therapeutics, and also jointly made efforts to respond to the crisis by establishing committees and social channels in which the government, experts, and citizens participate together. In 2021 report, EPTA evaluated that they were impressed by Korea’s efforts to track confirmed cases using advanced IT, to share data such as medical resources, and to gather experts and citizens for discussion on future prospects and countermeasures via the National Assembly.

P.I : Park Seong-won

Date : 2022-01-17

[National Future Strategic Insight] “Future Vision 2037: Transition from Growth-Oriented to Matured Society” (No. 36)

This report points out that Korea has displayed unprecedented rapid economic growth, but on the other hand, individuals and societies suffer from inequality, polarization, antagonism and confrontation, thereby envisioning “Transition from Growth-Oriented to Matured Society”, emphasizing the need for transition to a society where individuals and communities are not sacrificed for the national development goal but design the future together as equal subjects, and value quality rather than quantitative expansion. The researchers present “autonomy and decentralization”, “diversity”, “priority to the socially vulnerable” as values we have to direct towards, with 12 specific mid- to long-term agendas under four goals “individual capacity and quality of life”, “harmonized community”, “paradigm shift and sustainable growth” and “mediation and cooperation against domestic/international conflicts”. The report is intended to focus on mid- to long-term agendas that three governments should continue to push forward, considering that a new government will be launched in 2022. By analyzing the issues of consensus, potential conflict, and fierce confrontation by each agenda from various perspectives, the report presents a topic for expanding social conversation in the future. This report has been prepared to display the key points of “Future Vision 2037: Transition from Growth-Oriented to Matured Society” of the National Mid-to-Long-Term Agenda Committee (“Committee”), which is an advisory body under the Speaker of the National Assembly established at the end of November 2020 to discover national tasks and future issues required to be continuously discussed beyond the five-year term of the administration. Future Vision 2037 Report is the outcome of Committee-supported research conducted over the past year by forming a joint research team led by NAFI, other government-funded research institutes under the jurisdiction of the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences (NRC) and the National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST), and 60 experts from major universities. “As this report contains national agendas requiring continuous discussion beyond the five-year term of the administration, we plan to use various tools to promote the research results so that the politicians and the public can continue to take interest,” explains Research Fellow Kim Yu-bean of NAFI.

P.I : Kim Yu-bean

Date : 2022-01-10

[National Future Strategic Insight] Policies to Support Industries Affected by Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and Policy Effect Analysis (No. 35)

Performing a survey for 25 experts by Jeong Hoon (Research Fellow) and Yeo Yeong-jun (Associate Research Fellow), respondents answered that “pro forma opinion gathering” and “hasty and exclusive legislative process” are the biggest obstacles of domestic climate policy and legislation. They confirmed that by enhancing policies and legislation, the regulatory restructuring, promotion of domestic industry conversion and export industry support should be integrated. Further, the CBAM-oriented supports should encompass support, protection, promotion and conversion as strategic directions, including tax benefits, funding support, R&D support, distribution/commercialization, infrastructure, customized support for each industry, reasonable transaction framework, innovative system, policy governance, education and publicity. The priority of the proposed industrial support policy tasks was analyzed based on urgency and effectiveness with analytic hierarchy process (AHP), which was given to R&D support, tax benefits, funding support, customized support for each industry, innovative system, distribution/commercialization, infrastructure, policy governance, reasonable transaction framework, and education and publicity in this order. Additionally, the researchers proved the importance and effectiveness of the industrial support policy by analyzing the socioeconomic ripple effect using the computable general equilibrium (CGE) model for “R&D support” with the highest priority, and also confirmed that major macroeconomic indicators such as GDP, social utility, and investment, which had fallen due to the CBAM, recovered somewhat with R&D support, thereby resolving the growth slowdown, as well as indirect effect of promoting carbon neutrality of the power generation sector. “As it was quantitatively confirmed that the implementation of the industrial support policy had positive economic and social effects, we could confirm the need of preparing a systematic industrial support policy for carbon neutrality as well as responding to the CBAM,” explains Dr. Jeong Hoon. “In the policy design, it is necessary to come up with an integrated support plan and improve the system thereby ensuring introduction of regulations that meet the needs of the international community and customized protection and support policies taking into account the structural characteristics of the domestic industry.”

P.I : Jeong Hoon, Yeo Yeong-jun

Date : 2021-12-30

[National Future Strategic Insight] Future Strategies to Response to Population Shock: Mitigation and Adaptation (No. 34)

Dr. Min Bo-gyeong, the Head of Quality of Life Group, has classified regions based on variables reflecting population, regional economy, and spatial characteristics, and suggested, in consideration of regional characteristics, the need to properly mix the adaptation strategy premised on population decline and the mitigation strategy for population growth. Dr. Min also proposed that, as a variety of proper responses sought, it is necessary to (1) stablish a region-led future strategy that reflects regional characteristics and emphasizes the autonomy of local governments; (2) promote customized future strategies and define the role of the central government; (3) review the existing regional development methods centered on strategies to overcome population decline and demographic change, and (4) convert into a regional policy system and seek active measures to respond to demographic changes, thereby balancing population and living conditions. According to the report, a death cross occurred in 2020 with fewer births than deaths, and birth rate decline has been spreading from underdeveloped areas to small and medium-sized cities and large cities for more than 20 years, observing significant difference between regions. Dr. Min emphasized that it is inevitable to shift from the past regional development strategy on the assumption of population growth, with awareness that the crisis of population decline is a reality and it is necessary to build up effective strategies. “Concentration in the metropolitan area and population decline in rural areas should be recognized as a national crisis, not a regional crisis,” explains Dr. Min. “As population decline and demographic changes are expected to keep intensifying , it is necessary to appropriately implement local government-led mitigation sand adaptation strategies reflecting regional characteristics.”

P.I : Min Bo-gyeong

Date : 2021-12-23

[National Future Strategic Insight] Exploring Improvements in Framework for Social Services due to Low Birth Rate and Aging Society (No. 33).

Dr. Lee Chae-jeong drew a distribution map of early childhood care and education (ECCE) services, school age services, elderly long-term care (ELTC) services, and nursing hospitals within the living environment. For the ECCE and school age services, differences in competition and exclusion levels were observed between regions with a high density of children and regions otherwise. The ELTC services and nursing hospitals showed various distribution patterns by region in terms of competition and exclusion levels. The term “competition level” herein is defined as the number of available service providers versus the service target population; “exclusion level” is defined as the size of target population for which no services are available within their living environment. In particular, relatively higher completion/exclusion levels were recorded in Sejong and Jeju, while Seoul showed higher completion level and lower exclusion level in childhood care services. Both competition and exclusion levels were lower in Gangwon-do and Chungcheongbuk-do. A relatively higher exclusion level for childhood care services was observed in In Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeongsangnam-do. Dr. Lee, based on outcomes of her research, concluded that different approaches are needed in reorganizing a social service framework by region. She also suggested that it is necessary to expand the ELTC service framework to the extent that satisfies the demand in consideration of a super-aged society we are about to face and regional characteristics; to efficiently reduce ECCE facilities in regions where the service providers are crowded considering the declined birth rate; and to build a national network of the ECCE services to ensure the “National Minimum”.

P.I : Lee Chae-jeong

Date : 2021-12-15

[National Future Strategic Insight] College Education to Improve Entrepreneurial Mindset of Youth (No. 32)

Dr. Sung Moon-ju (Associate Research Fellow) has pointed out lack of entrepreneurial mindset in Korea, and suggested that changes and innovations are needed in college education to foster such mindset for young people who are preparing to enter the labor market or in the early stages of their careers. Entrepreneurial mindset is drawing considerable attention for successful response to changes caused by the recent growth slowdown and 4.0 Industry, which is a specific set of capabilities to proactively seize opportunities, take risks, and turn new ideas into economically and socially valuable products, services, and processes. According to the study, the entrepreneurial mindset positively influences start-up, employment, career, psychosocial status, attitude and college life of students. In addition, college education will contribute to cultivating mindset in young people with continuous efforts to foster entrepreneurship, improve awareness of entrepreneurs creating socioeconomic values, and revitalize start-ups and job creation. Especially, in order to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset of the youth and our society, changes are necessary in terms of the role of colleges, educational paradigms, curriculum and methodology. Others required simultaneously include changes in social and cultural factors, such as social sharing of risk of failure following challenges through new education practice and social safety nets, and institutional factors such as innovation in government regulations and startup support process. “This report identified the role and promotion factors of entrepreneurship for college students with analysis of previous studies, and drew takeaways referring to the cases of Dutch universities,” explains Dr. Sung.

P.I : Sung Moon-ju

Date : 2021-12-09

[Futures Brief] 15 Emerging Issues in 2022 (No. 4)

Park Seong-won, the Head of Innovative Growth Group, has selected highly likable nd influential issues out of 15 emerging issues that will draw considerable attention in 2022: (1) a new phase of the U.S.-China conflicts; (2) frequent environmental disasters and increased international disputes; (3) rapid progress energy transition; (4) response to the climate crisis; (5) advancement of virtual reality; (6) A.I. misuse and algorithm bias; (7) desocialization; (8) increase in social care works; (9) negotiation for a new wage system agreement; and (9) “mosaic family”. Less likable but influential emerging issues in his prediction include: (1) land publicity; (2) combination of energy independence and decentralization; (3) autonomy of robots and social consensus; (4) habitable zone in space; and (5) ecofascism. Highly likable and influential issues are issues currently occurring and expected to become more severe in the future. It is predicted that international disputes will be further intensified focusing on environmental preservation and technology competition; climate crisis responses and A.I. technology will lead to social confusion and concerns; a degree of independence will be driven by individualist society; and socially vulnerable groups will be more isolated. For less likable but influential issues, ecofacism may be emerged as a political reaction to environmental conservation while public domain, the influence of technology and human interactions may tend to expand. It is also predicted that crisis response may require publicity, social consensus and decentralization; calls for safe zones may increase with the radical development of technology; and a new trend of recognizing the space as a zone people can live in may be also emerged. “It is reasonable to understand most of the emerging issues raised as future changes including current discussions,” explains Dr. Park. “If we keep publicizing less likable but influential emerging issues, we will be able to respond to Black Swans such as the global financial crisis or pandemic.”

P.I : Park Seong-won

Date : 2021-12-02

[International Strategic Foresight] Changes in International Conflicts Viewed from Big Data (GDELT) (No. 6)

Dr. Park, Sung Jun (Associate Research Fellow) has found that transition in the conflict index, identified by GDELT, corresponds to the changes in international relations as understood by us to the certain extent, and captures more accurately the changes in conflict between two countries as compared with the tone information provided by the GDELT Event Database. In this report, he constructed a conflict index based on the average tone information and the number of events provided by GDELT Event Database, and observed changes in relations between countries using such an index. It was confirmed that: Korea-Japan disputes were drastically intensified due to Japan’s restriction on the export of high-tech materials used in semiconductors and displays in July 2019; Korea-China relations deteriorated considerably after Korea announced its intention to deploy THAAD and China imposed an unofficial boycott in the first half of 2017; South Korea-North Korea relations significantly deteriorated due to PMD mine incident in 2015, nuclear test and launch of satellites in 2016; U.S.-North Korea relations were most hostile in 2016 when America citizens were arrested in North Korea UN Security Council resolution was adopted to impose additional sanctions on North Korea, and North Korea has carried out the test launch of the long range ballistic missiles; U.S.-China relations deteriorated sharply by the military activities in the contested South China Sea, the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, and the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in 2020; and Australia-China conflict fully began in 2020 when Australia stood on the side of the United Stated and called for an investigation of COVID-19. “This study focused on the derivation and verification of conflict index. I expect that this index can be used to analyze and forecast international relations and the impact of conflicts between countries on the economy of such countries and worldwide,” explains Dr. Park.

P.I : Park, Sung Jun

Date : 2021-11-25

[National Future Strategic Insight] Strategies for Reorganizing Welfare System Shared by Central and Local Governments for the Efficient Welfare Funding (No. 31)

Research Fellow Lee Sun-hwa has proposed an institutional reform plan for government subsidies in the welfare sector as a strategy to respond to the national challenges i.e. expanding welfare and strengthening autonomy. In this report, her proposal includes that (1) cash-benefit basic welfare projects requiring national standards, such as livelihood benefits and basic pension, should be promoted mainly by the central government at its own discretion and financial responsibility; (2) a decentralized framework should be introduced to expand the discretion of local governments for regional, diversified, on-site projects; (3) different welfare projects covering the same beneficiaries should be integrated or linked; and (4) projects with vague and indefinite purposes should be clarified for orientation with social consensus – they might be integrated if needed. Three alternative strategies were suggested to improve the government welfare funding system from the perspective of fiscal neutrality, in addition to the adjustment proposals for individual welfare subsidies: first, central grant programs for other sectors may be downscaled by the burden of welfare expenditure in the central government budget; second, the funding balance between welfare and education may be adjusted so that local governments can expand joint projects with local offices of education with savings from the cash-benefit welfares; and third, financial resources may be tuned within the subsidy budget of Ministry of Health and Welfare under the principle of that “cash benefits are centralized and social services are localized”. “The more diversified government functions, the more important it is to make decisions about the supply of public goods or to configure the supply scheme and delivery system,” said Lee. “Efficiency of welfare funding projects can be achieved by political and administrative decentralization in which the central and local governments build a new platform of inter-governmental authority and financial relationship for solving social and economic problems as lateral partners.”

P.I : Lee Sun-hwa

Date : 2021-11-17

[International Strategic Foresight] Future Warfare and Military-Technology Solidarity: Military Application of Artificial Intelligence and Military-Civil Fusion (No. 5)

Dr. Cha Jung-mi, the Director of Center for International Strategy, has alleged that 4.0 Industry innovation is changing the future warfare and the focus of global arms race between grate powers, especially centering on military application of artificial intelligence Amid the U.S.-China hegemony and 4.0 Industry, the technology-security fusion and the industry-national defense fusion are being rapidly intensified, as emerging technologies such as A.I. and space technology are dual-purpose technologies with both commercial and military uses. This study focused on a technological factor, i.e. emerging technologies in the era of 4.0 Industry, the prospect of future wars driven by changes in the international order due to the rise of China, and the military responses of the U.S. and China, with detailed analysis of global arms race between U.S. and China from the technological deterministic perspective that A.I. will be a game changer for the future hegemony, especially regarding military application of A.I., military innovation and warfare innovation ecosystem. 4.0 Industry global arms race is not limited to competitive acquisition of military capability anymore – it is supported in terms of technological hegemony. Emerging technologies designed by the private sector are reshaping the warfare innovation ecosystem with military-civil fusion, which is a system that simultaneously fulfills the economic and military purposes of accelerating technological innovation and increasing military personnel and material. Dr. Cha paid attention to the possibility of further intensification of the A.I. arms race between the U.S. and China. “Korea also needs to seek to establish our own military technology innovation ecosystem where military-civil cooperation can exert synergy as well as preparation for future wars,” explains Dr. Cha. “The government, military, industry, academia, and laboratory should have a discussion on ways to build an effective ecosystem beyond mere benchmarking, given that the U.S. and China are building their respective innovation ecosystems based on social and political bases.”

P.I : Cha Jung-mi

Date : 2021-11-11