How Did South Korea Economically Develop Over Time

1084 words - 5 pages

Australian documentary “Ship Ahoy” stated economical development of South Korea over a half-century as “one of the biggest mysteries of the modern world.” (4). Only 60 years have passed since the Korean War, occurred in 25 June 1950 and continued until the armistice in 27 July 1953. The Cold War (1945 – 1991) between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S contributed in triggering the Korean War. At that time, the U.S.S.R. wished Korea to become a communist country while the U.S. opposed against the possibility. Along with the Cold War, the Korean population faced political idealistic conflicts. After five years of internal conflict, the Korean War broke out in 25 June 1950, with North supporting ...view middle of the document...

Worsening the situation, the entrepreneurs did not focus on economical improvements and instead mostly bribed government officials. This inefficiency degraded the economy and the living standards of the nation. Due to these reasons, South Korea had almost no development and North Korea became more advanced by 1960s (4).
The first government practicing poor policies eventually collapsed with military coup d’état of Park ChungHee in May 16th 1961. Park claimed that the current political system cannot handle the economy and that the military should thus, rule the nation. Park was elected as the 5th official president of the republic and served for 15 years in his 5 terms of regime until his assassination in 1979. Around the time of coup d’état, John F. Kenedy of U.S.A. decided to end financial aid to South Korea, while contrastingly, West Germany agreed the deal of sending 140 million marks and gaining workforce of miners and nurses from Korea. Thousands of volunteers appeared and their checks occupied nearly 2% of South Korean GDP. These sacrifices enabled the modernization of South Korea. (4)
Park reestablished policies in multiple stages to revive the economy before his assassination. First, he built foundation and aided constructions for future industries such as railroads and industrial infrastructure. Second, he supported the export promotion (EP), which comprised of new policies such as low interest loans. To achieve this, the government directly intervened in market and ordered banks to lower the loans. It trained companies and improved productivity to enter the export market. EP was successful and export industries grew in a fast rate that GDP per capita doubled in 10 years of time. During regime of Park from 1961 to 1979, the annual GDP growth of South Korea consistently remained around 7%, which enabled Korea to become one of the Four Asian Tigers. (5)
The influence of EP continued even after the assassination of Park. The nation annually widened its trade market and interacted with foreign nations. Specifically, South Korean economy met 4% of growth from 2004 to 2007, and in 2010, the annual growth rate reached 6.3%. Major trade partners are currently China, the U.S. and Japan, each occupying 24.4%, 10.1% and 7.1% of 2011 trade market respectively. Main export products are electronics,...

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