A Theory for the Salvation of Korea (Part 5)
③Korea Needs to Understand Capitalism

It’s pre-modern to
●Disregard intellectual property
●Significant oligopoly by conglomerate
The way to modernize is to
●Acquire a work ethic
●Experience what it means to create on one’s own

Korea might appear prosperous, but in actuality, the spirit of capitalism hasn’t penetrated its society.

In Joseon, Neo-Confucianism was especially popular, and people followed the Confucian teachings as the priests instructed. Neo-Confucianist theories considered commerce and industry as lowly jobs, which was the reason that they didn’t really develop in the Joseon period. Even at the end of the 19th century, it was normal for people in the country to barter. Only urbanites used money.

Back in 17th century Japan, people had already developed an exchange system, and Europeans were just beginning to use stamps. Leaders, especially in the West, started to implement measures afterwards to protect competition in the free market.

However, in today’s Korea, oligopoly by conglomerate is still significant, and Samsung earns an incredible 20% of its GDP, and 10 super big businesses take up 74%. This situation with the oligopoly has so few competitors that these companies are able to sell their same products at higher prices domestically than overseas. Korea has a long way to go before it truly secures a free economy.


Korea Is A Thieves’ Paradise That Lacks Morals

Korean businesses have been rampantly violating copyright laws. Their fake products have been crude. Korea’s companies have felt free basically to steal any product from any international company in the world. According to public sources, Samsung has had about 3,800 litigation cases. For copyright infringements and price collusions, out of the top ten businesses that had to pay America in penalties, four of the companies on the list were from Korea.

Of course, Korea has the luxury brands that everyone knows, but the creative directors of those brands have also stolen the Japanese animation and television programs which Japan had used to advertise them. In some cases, the Koreans merely changed the title, while they basically kept the contents in the same form as the Japanese versions. The instances of theft in Korea have been quite unbelievable.

Koreans created “Tonchamon,” which was basically a different version of Japan’s most beloved anime character Doraemon. Mazinga Z was another shock to the Japanese, because it sounded very similar to “Tecon V”, which had been popular in Japan, but the Koreans have apparently employed him to protect Takeshima from the Japanese. A robot, which appeared in the Korean anime “Space Gundam V”, is virtually the variable fighter Valkyrie of “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross”. And, of course, the title “Gundam” is a rip off. Many countries exist that don’t truly respect intellectual property, and to a certain extent, Korea’s lack of awareness reflects its shallow history of commerce and industry because it indeed never developed.

The same Confucianism existed in the Edo period of Japan, but the Japanese actively affirmed that legitimate profit making was righteous. Baigan Ishida started the Sekimon Shingaku, and taught the spirit of diligence, frugality, integrity, and honesty as the main guiding ethics for the merchant class. Toju Nakae also preached an equality that transcended the classes, and he encouraged the farmers and merchants of his time with his words. There was an ethical conscience already in practice in Japan that placed importance on expressing sincerity for others through work, which never took root in Korea.

After the Second World War ended, Malaysia sent foreign exchange students to Japan through the “Look East Policy” to correct its national character because people generally believed that the Malays only chased after profits and they lacked ethics. That program instilled a proper spirit of work in the students that came for a visit.

Now Korea also needs to learn ethics.

A Theory for the Salvation of Korea (Part 5)
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