Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Interesting New York Times article about Korea's relatively smooth sailing over the current financial crisis:
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.”
Lessons Learned, South Korea Makes Quick Economic Recovery [New York Times]


  1. They never seem to mention that the 1997 crisis was focused on Asian markets and that the current one is focused on Western markets. You can't compare the two. Though I am glad this one isn't hurting the mom and pops much.

  2. NYT (per their usual shoddy reporting) fails to mention that much of Korea's "resilience" owes itself to the rise of China, and also that much of the success is reaped by its chaebols.

    The Korean economy is highly un-diverse. Samsung reportedly is responsible for a fifth of the nation's GDP. What happens when even a few of these mega-corps falter? Korea is all high, mighty, and full of hubris, but they are kidding if they think they won't face a Japan-style malaise.

  3. bluenation,

    You clearly do not understand the nature of the 1997 economic crisis as well as the measures taken by the South Korean government to restructure its business and financial industries. Korea's resilience does not owe anything to China. China was always a big export market before and after the crisis. It did not really help Korea recover as it was always a profitable market even BEFORE the crisis hit. The Korean chaebols were not really affected negatively by the crisis. They were strong and remained strong throughout. You are just a troll who has an axe to grind about Korea. Probably a Chinese nationalist troll at that. Just bitter that Korea was able to recover so quickly (about 2 years) from a crisis and come out stronger. And it has NOTHING to do with China.


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