Should we allow a freedom of market unlimitedly? We can easily find actions to limit the freedom of market for producing more fair and just result. The recent argument about a co-existence between large retail stores and the traditional market is also related to a fair society. The radical development of large retail stores such as E-Mart threatened the small and medium retail ones including traditional market whose number and sales steadily declined. Thus, it is needed to preserve the traditional market and to pursue a balanced development of the distribution industry. Since 2012, Korean government has imposed a regulation on large retail stores. However, there has been lot of controversy about the effect of the policy. Therefore, I would like to analyze the result of the regulation and to suggest measures for promoting the activation of the traditional market from the perspective of a fair competition.
The policy forced large retail stores to close on Sunday, twice a month. Its original purpose is to make customers of large retail stores visit traditional market. However, a research showed that the total amount of consumption in distribution industry has declined after the regulation. In addition, the annual sales of the traditional market have declined or have been maintained. This result is different from the policy-makers’ expectation that the regulation would increase consumption in the traditional market. Then, what causes such result?
After the regulation, consumers have three alternatives on compulsory closing day ? giving up shopping, visiting large retail stores on other days or shopping at small and medium retail stores. Because the policy does not consider consumers’ consumption behavior, the result is that lots of consumers choose the first or second options. Generally, consumers select the best time and the best place to shop in order to maximize their benefit, which results in preference for large retail stores because of their convenience. However, the regulation prevents consumers from choosing the best option. Thus, some consumers give up shopping.
In addition, consumers have different purpose when they decide where to go shopping on weekends. They usually purchase large volume of industrial products and groceries in large retail stores while they do small volume of hand-to-mouth groceries in the traditional market. The difference of intention cannot make consumers visit traditional market instead of large retail stores on weekends. In fact, consumers visit large retail stores, avoiding compulsory business suspension. Therefore, a regulation on large retail stores should be reformed to achieve its original goal.
There are several directions of improvement - an abolition of the regulation, a conversion to a weekday's business suspension or compulsory close once a month. However, we must keep in mind that large retail stores have a strong influence on the distribution industry with huge amount of capital and an excellent system while the traditional market which consists of small business does not. Thus, if there is not a regulation on large retail stores, only large retail stores will survive. The gap of capital between large retail stores and small ones means that they stand on different starting line. The result from an inequality of opportunity is not fair and just. Therefore, the government should intervene in the market economy and reform the regulation policy to increase effectiveness.
First, a business suspension day must be on a weekday instead of weekend. As mentioned above, the government implemented a uniform regulation without considering the different shopping purpose consumers have. As a result, it made consumers inconvenient. Generally, consumers who go to large retail stores on weekends plan not only to shop but also to eat out and go for an outing with their family. Thus, it is hard to convince that they visit the traditional market when large retail stores close. On the other hand, many consumers visit large retail stores on a weekday for hand-to-mouth buying. Thus, if it closes on a weekday, a lot of consumers will choose a traditional market as an alternative. In conclusion, compulsory closing day of large retail stores should be a weekday, not weekends.
Moreover, it is needed for traditional markets to improve its competitiveness because making consumers voluntarily visit the traditional market is effective to achieve the goal of the regulation. Thus, I would like to suggest some measures to increase incentive to visit the traditional market. In fact, it is inconvenient for consumers to use the traditional markets while they have regional specialized products and a variety of interesting attractions. Therefore, the measures should aim at making up for its weak point and enhancing its strong point.
First, an integrated management center must be set up. The fact that each store in the traditional market is managed in different ways makes it hard to provide systematic and integrated service. Through the integrated center, customers can enjoy various services such as delivery service, exchange and refund service and promotion and marketing service. Customers can shop at the traditional market more conveniently.
Second, each traditional market must develop its themes and brand representing its local characteristics. A space for foot-bath by the water of a hot spring and theme of a Korean-style house are good examples of markets’ theme. In addition, free meal service for the elderly with using profits from market and making it mandatory for merchants to wear sanitation gown are good examples for market image.
What is your definition of a fair society? There may be various opinions from various people. However, most people would agree that under an equality of opportunity, the result will be fair to some degree. Thus, the point is ‘how’ to make the equality of opportunity. We have to develop detailed policy able to make a practical effect. From this perspective, it is needed to review the current regulation on large retail stores and to have a social discussion about how to enhance the competitiveness of the traditional markets.
우선 대학생활 마지막 학기를 의미 있게 마무리할 수 있도록 해주셔서 감사드립니다. 영작을 잘하는 편이 아니었지만 이번 기회에 부딪쳐서 도전해보고 싶었습니다. 설령 수상을 하지 못하더라도 준비과정에서 스스로 얻는 게 있을 거라고 생각했습니다. ‘영어’에세이라서 영작도 중요하지만, 한 편의 글이기 때문에 내용의 논리와 흐름을 가다듬는 데에 중점을 두었습니다. 저의 에세이는 대형마트 영업규제와 전통시장 활성화를 중심으로 시장의 공정경쟁에 대한 논의를 담고 있습니다. 평소 사회의 불공평을 시정하기 위한 기회의 공평, 규제 등에 관심이 있어서 이러한 주제를 선택했습니다. 에세이를 준비하면서 막연하게 생각했던 부분에 대해 저의 의견을 확립할 수 있게 되었고, 영작에 대한 두려움이 줄어들었습니다. 열심히 준비한 만큼 좋은 결과까지 얻게 되어서 만족스럽습니다.
이번 21회 창작상 영어 에세이 부문에는 총 18편이 응모했다. 개인적인 일상을 다룬 글부터 최근 관심사들까지 다양한 주제의 글들을 읽으면서, 각자의 생각을 영어로 표현하려고 애쓴 흔적들을 보게 되었다. 우리는 국제화시대에 살고 있다. 이제 영어 구사능력에 관해서는, 단순히 일상적인 생활에서 의사소통이 가능하다고 만족해서는 안 된다. 의사소통 능력에는 영어로 글쓰기도 중요하며, 특히 인터넷이 발달한 시대에는 이메일이나 서류를 주고받는 일이 더 많아졌기에, 글쓰기 능력도 중요하게 여겨지는 시대이다.
최우수작으로 선정한 에세이 (“How can a fair competition in the market be achieved?”)는 시장경제 하에서 유통 분야의 “골목상권”에 대한 생각을 차분하게 다루었다. 영어 표현이 완벽하지는 않았지만 자신의 생각을 영어로 표현하는데 부족함이 없었고, 자신의 논리로 잘 풀어 나갔다고 여겨진다.
더 많은 학생들이 영어 글쓰기에 관심을 갖고 내년에 더 많이 참여해 주기를 바란다.