UPDATE : 2020.10.19 월 23:58

[Vol.82] We Live in The Age of Cartels

견고한 이익, 카르텔에 관하여 한지은 기자l승인2019.11.29

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 According to the survey by the Hyundai Research Institute at last 2015 showed that eight out of ten people think the upward social mobility is hardly probable even if they try hard. While the idea that ‘rags to riches’ has disappeared, SKY Castle, a drama televised last year, made headlines. Because this drama portrayed the upper classes who regard college admission education as their lives’ goal, Han Seo-jin in the drama employs a college admission coordinator paying a large amount of money to send her daughter to medical school at Seoul National University. The coordinator takes 0.1 percent of children and strategically engages in their school life. As a result, the coordinator sends them to SNU medical school with a 100 percent probability. This is an example of a "top-class cartel."

 Then, what is the meaning of the cartel? A dictionary meaning, in other words, the narrow meaning of cartel is a word for collusion between companies. Namely, by arbitrarily adjusting the price, specifications, and amount of goods or services produced, it creates an oligopolistic form that prevents other companies from participating and forces consumers to choose certain products by reducing their choice. On the contrary, in the upper-class cartel, the cartel has a broader meaning. It means all forms of connection of people who can benefit each other and collusion among criminal organizations or among people called royal families within a company.

 Cartels exist in various forms. Last year, a case related Web-hard illegal cartel organization became a hot topic. Web hard cartel refers to a closed structure of web hardware companies, filtering companies that filter illegal video clips, and digital masters who delete illegal video clip for profit. Song Jong-hyuk, a police officer at the Korea Masan Dongbu Police Station, said, 'The problem is that victims of illegal photography about cyber-sexual violence are suffering third damage by web hard cartel following financial and psychological damage.' According to statistics from the National Police Agency, the number of illegal filming crimes is increasing every year. Besides, about 40 percent of the damage reported to the "Digital Sexual Crimes Victims Support Center" last year was found to be victims of the spread of the video. Even at this moment, a large number of photographs or videos filmed illegally are circulating. Victims are even forced to pay for filtering companies. In short, they are suffering from financial and psychological damage while not being able to escape the crime. Moreover, they are victimized by Web hard cartel which earns money from illegal film and received money from victims in return for erasing the film.

 In addition to the previous controversy of Web hard cartel, the controversy of the upper class has continued arising suspicion that the Minister of Justice Cho Kuk's daughter used a "the upper-class cartel" to go to prestigious universities. At a press conference just before his appointment, he said, "I'm sorry for the ’scrapper' youth," but young people are criticizing how unfair the high-education inheritance of the upper class is. Joo Byung-kee, an economics professor at Seoul National University, surveyed the possibility of not entering the top 20 percent of the income. It has jumped from 23 percent in 2000 to 28.9 percent in 2017 in the case of people who grow up with parents who have the lowest educational background(under middle school level). It means a lower educational background of parents leads to lower-income of their children. It also means that there is an inheritance of wealth that people feel from their skin, such as the fall of the "A story of rising from humble family " and the "silver spoon and scrapper theory."

 Then, how can parents' economic and educational backgrounds be passed down on to their children? According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family on private education in 2017, 91 percent of teenagers who grew up in families with incomes of six million won or more said they had received a private education. However, only 50.5 percent of those with incomes between one million won and two million won or less said they had received a private education. These statistics showed that the more highly educated, the higher the probability of belonging to the high-income class. Various results and statistics can identify the inequality ladder leading to parents' high economic, social status, investment in private education, advanced to top universities, and inclusion of high-income earners in sequence.

 However, currently, there is no official statistics from the government that clearly shows the current state of educational inequality. In response to this situation, the educational civic group called the World without Worry about Private Education urged the government to set up an effective system for integrating and managing indicators at the national level that can identify the status of privileged education. In other words, to resolve educational inequality, the government should regularly identify the status of the education system in which "special rights" are reproduced, manage it as an indicator, and implement policies based on them. Besides, Koo Bon-chang, policy director of the World without Worry about Private Education, said, "Because private educational institutions and schools attended by children of parents with specific jobs are formed within the education system, they create cartels and monopolize the vested rights of society. We need to develop indicators that reveal this situation."

 Last year, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said, "To prevent web-hard cartel, we will define the profits earned by distributing illegal pornography. Furthermore, we will start revising the Telecommunications Business Act." It will also establish a government-integrated pornographic public database (DB). The purpose of the plan is to prevent illegal pornography from being transformed and re-distributed. Besides, the president Moon Jae-in opens a public statement on July 9 and announced the reform of the education field by examining the system which harms fairness of chance such high school ranking. As such, the government has come up with detailed measures against the web-hard cartel and the upper-class cartel. However, the government failed to come up with measures to cover various types of cartels.

 As such, cartels appear in various ways, deepening polarization. Nobel Prize-winning economics professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University said, 'Polarization breaks down the belief that fair play, equal opportunity and sense of community are important. This is the worst price that society has to pay for polarization.' Various cartels as well as Web-hard cartels, upper-class cartels in our society are deepening polarization. Would not it be necessary for the government to come up with comprehensive measures and for people to give attention to prevent such cartels?


한지은 기자  hanjieun124-@naver.com
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