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Compressed Modernization & Developmentalist Mentalités of South Korea. Kang Myungkoo. What is compressed modernization?. Rapid economic growth Rapid modernization (urbanization, industrialization, democratization, formation of civil society, etc)

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Compressed Modernization & Developmentalist Mentalités of South Korea

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Compressed modernization developmentalist mentalit s of south korea

Compressed Modernization& Developmentalist Mentalitésof South Korea

Kang Myungkoo

What is compressed modernization

What is compressed modernization?

  • Rapid economic growth

  • Rapid modernization (urbanization, industrialization, democratization, formation of civil society, etc)

  • From the state to everyday life, Korean society and people have experienced drastic changes.

Compressed modernization 2

Compressed modernization(2)

  • From poverty to affluence

  • From authoritarian state to democratic consolidation

  • Expansion of civil society

  • Drastic urbanization

Why developmentalist mentalitae

Why developmentalist mentalitae?

  • Korean people share common ways of life, ways of thinking, ways of behavior or structure of feelings, called developmentalist mentalitae.

  • What is it?

  • Strong desire of being rich without asking why I want to be rich, what kind of life I want to live through

  • Final results legitimize process.

  • Efficiency tells everything. Top-down, authoriatarian decision-making process is prevalent.

  • Lack of civic virtues

  • Always be ready for struggling to win the game

Where does the developmentalist mentalitae come from

Where does the developmentalist mentalitae come from?

  • Colonial rule and Korean war

  • Authoritarian state

  • Uncertainty of living

  • Competition as a matter of life and death

  • Experience of poverty and affluence in one generation

Rapid economic growth

Rapid Economic Growth

Rapid growth

Rapid Growth

Rapid growth1

Rapid Growth

International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics

Behind the scenes

Behind the Scenes

-Economic growth was accomplished mostly through governmental favors given to conglomerates, or chaebol.

-Government favoritism: government actively suppressed any group that might disadvantage conglomerates, such as new competitors or labor unions

-Result: rampant nepotism, authoritarian business culture, lack of public ethics, economic polarization

Key components within korean mentalitae

Key Components WithinKorean Mentalitae

  • Favoritism

  • Materialistic Value System

  • Nationalism (“our” country—“uri”)

  • Closed-minded familism



  • Favoritism: A display of partiality toward a favored person or group.

    Examples: Nepotism and cronyism

    Us (uri 우리) VS Them mentality

  • A person’s bloodline, hometown, school, & church can greatly affect his/her public and private life.

  • Examples: employment, career, business, socio-economic class, marriage, friends

  • Result: Corruption

The chaebol a family business

The Chaebol: A Family Business

The chaebol a family business1

The Chaebol: A Family Business

Corruption perceptions index 2010

Corruption Perceptions Index 2010

The high price of corruption

The High Price of Corruption

Wawoo Apartment, 1969

Seong-soo Bridge, 1994

Sampoong Department Store, 1995

Materialistic value system

Materialistic Value System

  • Materialistic person: a person who is markedly more concerned with material things (such as money and possessions) rather than spiritual, emotional, intellectual, or cultural values.

  • Contributing factors: rapid industrialization, high competition, homogeneity, weak social safety net

  • Objectifying and commodifying every aspects of life, including the body, academic prowess, marriage partners, success

Reuters ipsos poll 2010 koreans are the most materialistic people

Reuters/Ipsos Poll 2010Koreans are the most materialistic people?

The most overworked people

The Most Overworked People

World happiness index

World Happiness Index

Stressed out


Korean nationalism the red devils

Korean Nationalism:The Red Devils

Korean nationalism dokdo

Korean Nationalism:Dokdo

Korean nationalism multicultural family

Korean Nationalism:Multicultural Family

The family in korean dramas secret garden

The Family in Korean Dramas:Secret Garden

The family in korean dramas my name is kim sam soon

The Family in Korean Dramas:My Name is Kim Sam-soon



  • Developmentalist mentalités combined with consumerism, Confucianism, and the cold war state have molded and defined the mental and physical structure of every aspect of Korean life.

  • Corrupt systems, scanty social safety nets, the absence of civil moral virtues, and the survival-driven high-stress competitiveness are a few of the negative aspects of Developmentalist mentalités.

  • However, it is difficult to transcend developmentalist mentalités, being deeply rooted within the very existence of Korea. The developmentalist mentalités is deeply rooted as a default perspective of the world within the government, enterprises, public organizations and family sectors.

  • Ironically, Koreans’ obsession with “uri (us, we)” bind us to benefiting the in-group and ostracizing the rest, disabling a society were all of “us” can lead better lives.

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