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  National
Mr. Guy Sorman Speaks on “Philanthropy and Welfare” at Breakfast Forum in Seoul
IGE Chairman SaKong Il Invites Eminent French Scholar
Mr. Guy Sorman

Chairman SaKong Il of the Institute of Global Economics (IGE) hosted a breakfast forum at Orchid Room of Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul on April 3 (Thursday), 2014 under the title of “Philanthropy and Welfare.”

For this forum Chairman SaKong invited Mr. Guy Sorman, an eminent French professor and global columnist. The forum, co-organized by both IGE and KITA (Korea International Trade Association) will be held between 7 and 9 a.m. on the day.

In IGE’s 223rd “Distinguished Lecture Forum” Mr. Guy Sorman delivered his speech on the role of philanthropy in a society against the backdrop of growing inequalities globally.

The breakfast forum was attended by policymakers, businesspeople, academics, researchers, local journalists, and foreign dignitaries including French and Swiss ambassadors to
Korea.

While lecturing on philanthropy the French scholar introduced the case of America. “In the United States, philanthropy accounts for roughly 10 percent of the economy.”

“Philanthropy is deeply rooted in the culture of a given society,” he said. He explained that protestant values in the US make Americans as one of the most generous peoples in the world.

“Nearly 90 percent of Americans are giving money or part of their time to philanthropic activities” he said. “And it is part of the American culture”

He argued that while the government or the market is driven primarily by interests, philanthropy is driven by generosity, the act or culture of giving.

“Our societies face problems that cannot be addressed by the government or the market alone, such as aging, education, disabilities, etc,” he said.

Sorman called the problems “social desert.”

He said that philanthropy in Korea is relatively small for the size of its economy.

“Among the OECD countries, Korea has one of the lowest rates for philanthropic activity,” he added.

He recommended that donation culture be changed and relevant tax system be reformed for South Korea.

IGE’s Summery of Guy Sorman’s Speech

With a focus on the potential of philanthropy to become a third sector between the government and the market, Sorman advocated the use of philanthropy in confronting new social problems emerging in today’s society.

Sorman claimed that economists, political scientists, and other intellectual groups tend to view the problems we face as a result of dichotomous conflict between the government and the market.

Busy emphasizing the need for more or fewer regulations on the economy, they forget about the “unknown space” that lies between the market and the government.

It is philanthropy. In the United States, philanthropy accounts for roughly 10 percent of the economy. It is a space that may help us to discover something important that needs to be better understood.

While the government or the market is driven primarily by interests, philanthropy is driven by generosity, the act or culture of giving on an essential level.

Our societies face problems that cannot be addressed by the government or the market alone, such as aging, education, disabilities, etc., which Sorman calls a “social desert.”

Governments are limited in what they can do. They are not equipped with the skills nor are they philosophically justified to get into the specifics of the issues.

They are also limited financially. The markets, while they may involve themselves for the sake of PR, do not feel, essentially, a sense of duty for taking responsibility nor do they profit greatly from doing so. Taking responsibility will have to come from solidarity because it allows the trial and error required to find the solutions to this “social desert” that we face.

Sorman singled out two most important factors that can fill the gap left by the government and the private sector. They are culture and the tax system.

Philanthropy is deeply rooted in the culture of a given society. Protestant values in the US, for example, have made Americans as one of the most generous peoples in the world. Nearly 90 percent of Americans are giving part of their time to philanthropic activities. And it is part of the American culture.

Sorman pointed out that philanthropy in Korea is relatively small for the size of its economy and the “unknown space” between government and the market is still very small.

Among the OECD countries, Korea has one of the lowest rates for philanthropic activity. While corporations give a lot to universities, higher education programs and art, this remains largely a PR strategy and there is a lack of empathy among the successful circles of Korean society on the whole.

In terms of taxes, individuals can now get up to a 30 percent reduction and corporations can get up to 10 percent for making donations. This small percentage reflects the government’s view that donations are not as valid a way of solving problems as government itself. Furthermore, up to percent of income tax can be reduced through donation if the government determines that the donations are “useful.”

The government’s need to determine through incentivization what is “useful” could also be considered relatively undemocratic.
Sorman recommended Korea to reform the system, the tax system included, so that people can give more easily and in a transparent way and that the donations can be used efficiently.

For this, he also argued for setting up an independent institution to evaluate if the giving is used efficiently.

Who Is Guy Sorman?

The international claimed French scholar Guy Sorman was born in Paris in France on March 10, 1944. He is a French professor, human rights activist, publisher, columnist, and author.

Guy Sorman graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Science in 1964 and from the Ecole Nationale d'Administration in 1969.

The classical liberalist has authored over 20 books on contemporary affairs, promoting free markets and the free society in Europe. They include “The New Wealth of Nations,” “The Genius of India,” “The Empire of Lies,” and “Economics Does Not Lie.”
He is also interested in renewable energy and environmentalism.

The pro-business intellectual has always been assertive about human rights in China and democracy in many countries including Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Chile, Poland, and Argentina. He founded a French NGO, “Action against Hunger (ACF)” in 1979 and served as its president until 1990.

Guy Sorman is also a publisher. In 1975 he founded his own publishing company “Editions Sorman” in Paris, which publishes 14 weekly newsletters in France. He also publishes “France Amerique,” a magazine in the US.

Guy Sorman writes his articles for many world famous newspapers including Le Figaro of France, the Wall Street Journal of American, and DongA Ilbo of South Korea.

Guy Sorman taught economics at the Paris Institute of Political Sciences from 1970 to 2000. In 1985 he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University and at Hoover Institution, both in the US. He also lectured at Beijing University and Moscow State University.

Guy Sorman served as an advisor to French foreign minister and prime minister between 1995 and 1997. During the period he visited North Korea as the advisor of the French premier.

Since 2002 he has been a member of the National Commission for Human Rights of France. In 2009 he became a global advisor of former South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak. Lee created his “Presidential Council on Nation Branding” at the urging of Sorman.

For details about IGE activities call 02-551-3334 or leave an Email at igenet@igenet.com



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