Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sad Seoul

Professor Ha-Joon Chang has a very interesting article on the prevalence of unhappiness in South Korea, despite that country's successful development into a modern industrial nation. Prof. Chang places much of the blame for South Korean sadness on the neoliberal reforms that have been enacted in the country since the 1997 financial crisis. A great read.


  1. A friend of mine is in Korea right now as an English teacher. He sees first hand how competitive things are over there, especially regarding young people. They get very stressed out over getting ahead, as their only options are either that or be left behind economically. Of course, consumerism is also rampant over there. Apparently, it is socially acceptable to take a loan with an impossible interest rate just to buy a new car; if the loan becomes so stressful to pay off and life becomes miserable because of it, it is socially acceptable to commit suicide over it.

    It is very important to understand that despite what the libertarians or other "free market" proponents claim, happiness cannot be measured on massive profit margins. And that last thing Korea needs is a more competitive culture.

  2. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  3. Hi CA,

    Thanks for the comment. I couldn't agree more. I think there is an important story to be told about the downsides of development and prosperity as shown by the example of South Korea. There must be a way to create a more balanced society.

    Hi Rental,

    No problem!