Korea the Impossible Country
Released Date: 2012
South Korea was "the poorest, most impossible country on the planet" when it was founded, according to an advisor to its third president. Yet, in just fifty years it has transformed itself into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that can serve as a model for other countries. How was it able to do this, despite having been sapped by almost a half-century of colonial rule, ruined by war, partitioned and lacking a democratic tradition? Who are the Korean people, who achieved this second "Asian miracle"? And having accomplished it, what are their prospects now?
Daniel Tudor is a journalist who has been living in and writing about Korea for almost a decade. He seeks the answers to these questions in Korean history, culture, and society and in interviews with experts, from business leaders to politicians, shamans, sports legends, poets, rock musicians, and academics. In five parts, he examines Korea's cultural foundations; the Korean character; the public sphere in politics, business, and the workplace as well as the family; life in the hours not spent working, including food, music, and cinema; and social issues that may be crucial to Korea's future, such as Koreans' interactions with outsiders. In doing so, he touches on topics as diverse as shamanism, clan-ism, the dilemma posed by North Korea (brother or enemy?), myths about doing business in Korea, and why the country's infatuation with learning English is causing huge social problems.
South Korea has undergone two miracles at once: economic development and democratization. The question now is, will it become a rich yet aging society, devoid of momentum, as some see Japan? Or will the dynamism of Korean society and its willingness to change--as well as the opportunity it has now to welcome outsiders into its fold--enable it to experience a third miracle that will propel it into the ranks of the foremost countries in terms of human development, democracy, and wealth?
Author: Daniel Tudor
Released Date: 2012
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