Feldstein Interview Summary with IGE CEO Sakong II

Dr. SaKong Il, and Harvard Professor Martin Feldstein exchanged views on current global economic issues at the National Bureau of Economics Research at Cambridge in Massachusetts in February. Martin Feldstein, Professor of economics at Harvard University and the President of the emeritus National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), has exchanged views on the global economy with SaKong Il, Chairman and CEO of the Institute for Global Economics (IGE) and adviser for JoongAng Ilbo, since the 1980s. The conversation went beyond the boundaries of economic textbooks to explore global economic issues in the real world. Both scholars met at the NBER building in Cambridge, Mass.

Sakong began by placing his beliefs in the Korean public, policymakers, and business leaders that they will be very interested to hear on Feldstein’s views on the current state of the global economy in the short and long term. Starting with the United States, Feldstein comments that the country’s labor market is in a relatively good shape as the most recent data shows a large increase in wages and hourly income by 6 percent in just one month. Furthermore, as the unemployment rate has dropped, Feldstein predicts that the wage increase will grow to around 3 percent by the end of the year.

However, when it comes to challenges about the increase in income inequality, an issue that is categorized as a global economic challenge, Feldstein expressed his concerns for the poor citizens that are unable to go to schools and are participating in acts of crime. As it is a serious matter, Feldstein believes that only a small percentage of the population by 1 or 2 percent tend to generate a much larger income than the average community. Feldstein continues by stating that the problem is poverty and the focus should be on demolishing poverty in countries.