Lessons Learned, South Korea Makes Quick Economic Recovery [New York Times]When the global financial crisis struck more than two years ago, customers disappeared from the Dongdaemun market, a cramped maze of clothing and fabric shops in the shadow of a medieval city gate. But in contrast to the economic conditions in the United States and Europe, business quickly rebounded here and in the rest of this vibrant, technology-driven nation, a resilience that many South Koreans attribute to their bitter experience of having survived an even worse downturn, the currency crisis of 1997.
“This time didn’t feel so much like a real crisis,” Kim Soon-nam, 70, said as she surveyed customers from her small stall, which is filled with running pants and brightly colored dress shirts. “It was hard back then, but that hardship made me stronger.”
South Korea’s ability to endure such hardships and bounce back points to another lesson: the need for a sense of shared national purpose and willingness to sacrifice. South Koreans rallied to help their nation, spending less, saving more and learning to be more competitive.
“Nobody was buying back then, so I slept less, worked harder,” said Ms. Kim, the stall owner in the Dongdaemun market. “And I saved and saved and saved.”
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Interesting New York Times article about Korea's relatively smooth sailing over the current financial crisis: