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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 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 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 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?

Korean nationalism the red devils
Korean Nationalism:The Red Devils

Korean nationalism multicultural family
Korean Nationalism:Multicultural Family

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.