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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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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
  • 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.