[시론] When I woke up, developed countries – Asian economy

Seo Yong-gu, Dean of Sookmyung Women’s University Graduate School of Business

湲 蹂肄

At the United Nations Conference on Development (UNCTAD) this summer, Korea became the first country to be elevated from a developing country to a developed country. Is Korea a developed country? In the recently published book ‘I Opened My Eyes’, author Park Tae-woong said, “Korea has suddenly become a developed country and has grown in size, but various social indicators remain at the level of underdeveloped countries. It is urgently necessary to develop new indicators to correct this asymmetry. do,” he insists. I can’t help but agree Among the 195 countries that have joined the United Nations (UN) as well as countries that have adopted English-American capitalism for the past 60 years, Korea has been receiving the world’s highest performance in terms of ‘speed’ in economy and urban development. However, at the same time, it also has the world’s lowest level of report cards, falling outside the top 100 in terms of fertility rate, gender equality, elderly poverty rate, suicide rate, and national happiness. The bizarre state of being the world’s highest and the world’s lowest at the same time is the current reality of Korea.

Korea is now recognized as the world’s top 10 country in both hard power and soft power. It has grown into one of the world’s top 10 countries in terms of hard power such as military power and gross domestic product (GDP). It ranks 5th in the world by e-commerce market size, 6th in military power, 7th in exports, and 9th in the world by GDP. In particular, transportation and communication infrastructure, medical system, and Internet speed and quality are recognized as the world’s No. Compare the speed and fares of high-speed trains in Korea, Japan, and the United Kingdom. It takes us 90 minutes to travel 280km from Seoul Station to Dongdaegu Station and costs 40,000 won, but the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Fukushima, which is a similar distance, takes 95 minutes and costs 110,000 won. In the UK, it takes 120 minutes to travel from London to Chester and costs 110,000 won. Considering only the required time and cost, Korea is a mobility advanced country that has achieved the world’s highest level of transportation cost-effectiveness.

Despite these achievements, the number of people who perceive the Republic of Korea as ‘Hell Joseon’ is rapidly increasing. The number of Korean defectors increased significantly to 11,352 from 2017 to 2019, compared to 6,961 for seven years from 2010 to 2016. Since 2017, the renunciation of Korean citizenship has been on the rise. In 2021, an average of 38 suicides per day in South Korea, the world’s lowest fertility rate of 0.92. The unemployment rate for young people aged 15-29 shows no sign of falling, and the average sale price of apartments in the metropolitan area has exceeded 1 billion won. From the perspective of Generation MZ (Millennials + Generation Z), women, and the poor elderly, Korea seems closer to Hell Joseon.

There is a final hurdle that a country with two faces, the world’s top 10 economic power and Hell Joseon, must overcome in order to become a truly advanced country. It is about building social trust. A high-trust nation can be built only when all economic actors, including politicians and business people, improve their ethical intelligence. You must not harm others and be able to respect others. The socially disadvantaged, such as foreign workers and postpartum women, should be more respected. Efforts to improve the situation must begin immediately. The problem is already known. Now, all the people of the country must step forward to make the world a better place. If the ethical intelligence of Korean society is raised one step further, Korea will be able to rise to the ranks of a truly advanced country.



Source: 아시아경제신문 실시간 속보 by www.asiae.co.kr.

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