Inequality and conservatism in Korea

January 15, 2013

Individual income in relation to gross national income (GNI) is declining everywhere in the world but recent data from the Bank of Korea (reported in the Korea Herald) indicate that it is falling faster in Korea than in just about any other country. Since the 1990s it has declined at twice the average rate of OECD countries. Meanwhile, the profits of Korean corporations are exceeding all expectations. Samsung recently projected record profits of 8.3 billion for the quarter ending December 2012, which gives it a run of five consecutive record-breaking quarters.  So, as was recently pointed out in the Chosun Ilbo of all places, incomes for Korean workers remain flat while corporate profits soar.  And yet Koreans cling to the belief that what is good for the Korean corporations is good for Koreans. Hence the recent election in which the leader of the same old pro-corporate party (under a new name) was elected to govern the country for another five years.   


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