Rap gets down to business

  • Published : Sept 29, 2011 - 15:27
  • Updated : Sept 29, 2011 - 20:05
Complex economic arguments such as the appropriate role of government in the economy are likely to be met with groans of boredom by many outside business and politics.

But one Seoul-based fee market think tank is seeking to change that and get people thinking about economics ― by rapping about it.

“We Can Do It,” a rap battle tackling the question of whether the government should protect small businesses from bigger players, is the Center for Free Enterprise’s latest endeavor to bring economic issues to unlikely audiences.

“For us, why not try something different? Companies must always innovate, try different things, so the same thing is true with us,” CFE head Kim Chung-ho told The Korea Herald.

“We will still mainly focus on research, writing, events, this is just an added feature. A rap battle seemed to be a good way to present both sides of this debate over the role of government and political intervention into the marketplace.”
Kim Chung-ho (right) and Kim Mun-kyung go head-to-head over the government and small business. (CFE)

In the video, the think tank’s second through rap, pro-free market Kim faces off with Soongsil University Professor Kim Mun-kyung, whose rhyming skills are put to the test in defense of small business.

A “Fail Harder” sign Kim had seen at Facebook’s head office in California last year had inspired him to be daring with education when new employee Casey Lartigue Jr. directed Kim to a rap video from his native U.S.

The video, pitting fictional representations of economists Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes against each other, inspired the CFE’s first foray into music, “More Grasshoppers than Ants.” Before long, a second video was in the works.

“At many companies, the boss is in charge. At CFE, whenever we want to do something new, he (Kim) says, ‘yes, let’s make it big!’ We have no excuses here, we have a boss who sets the kind of atmosphere that makes it okay to try and to have no shame if we fail,” said Lartigue.

For Kim, if their dalliance with a genre more readily associated with guns and girls encourages people to take themselves a little less seriously and have some fun, so much the better.

“I hope people won’t think it is crazy to have some 50-plus-year-old guys rapping and jumping around. We are amateurs at this, but we hope it can even be inspirational for people who feel restricted by social pressure to stop having fun once they become ‘adults.’”

You can watch “We Can Do It” on or Youtube.

By John Power (