economics

Park Geun-Hye’s Presidency is Turning into Status-Quo Maintenance


Seoul’s Ban of Uber is a Classic Example of Asian Mercantilism

 

So this is a blog about Asian security, but regular readers will know that I write a lot about political economy too. And nothing drives me up the wall so much as the endless NTB gimmickry so common in Asian to prevent free-trade outcomes that national elites and entrenched mega-corporations don’t like. If you live in Asia and want to know why everything is so outrageously expensive, or why you can’t get technologies/products your friends take for granted in the West, here it is: endless crony protection, tariff or otherwise, to block imports that are superior and/or bring price competition. If the US has had too much deregulation, Asia desperately, desperately needs it. Romney for president of Korea!


One Nation, Under the Chaebol

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ONE NATION, UNDER THE CHAEBOL

by Third Bass

Aweek ago a friend passed on an intriguing post from the Global Voices website about a new piece of proposed legislation seeking to strike back at Korean consumers taking their business overseas. It appears that,  in order to skirt the significant markups on consumer electronics, younger consumers are increasingly utilizing overseas internet retailers such as Amazon, and this is creating quite a bit of consternation among the denizens of Korea Inc. For those that reside in the ROK, the atmospheric prices―relative to those in the U.S. at least―of computers, smartphones, speakers, autos, clothing, etc., is hardly shocking news. However, those unacquainted with shopping in Korea may be puzzled to learn that even Samsung, LG and Hyundai products sell at prices often two to three times greater than those charged in the U.S. market. In fact, one disgruntled Korean consumer cited in the story points to a Korean brand TV selling for roughly $5,900 in Korea and $1,550 in the U.S. This difference is stark. 


Making Connections: An Expat’s Journey Through Korean History, Politics and Economics

By Taryn Assaf


Robert Kelly's Diplomat Interview on North Korea, Syria, and China’s Rise

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Frequent readers know that I am regular contributor to the Diplomat web-magazine. On October 10, Editor James Pach interviewed me, mostly about Northeast Asia. Jim is a great guy, and I think these questions helpfully expand on some ideas I have put on the blog recently, especially my recent piece on reining in US presidential wars powers.


What Korea Needs from its New Prez: Liberalization

ParkBefore President Park’s inauguration, the Korea Times asked me to participate in a forum of ‘foreign experts’ (don’t laugh too hard) on her incipient presidency. We were asked to make one direct suggestion for the new president. Here is the section at the KT website. I know several of the authors, and some of the op-eds are pretty good (too many are shameless pandering though). Unfortunately, my accepted submission was not published in this section, published after the inauguration, and edited far too heavily. (They never told me why; maybe this.)

Anyway, below is the original version of the op-ed, where I basically argue that Korean democracy is becoming a Seoul-based oligarchy of wealthy, intermarrying business and political elites – basically the dark side of Kangnam style. Someone in Korean politics needs to turn this around, or under-40s in this country are going to ‘drop out’ Timothy Leary-style. There’s a quiet crisis of youth alienation brewing, but no one in ‘Kangnam world’ seems to care.


Don’t Fear Abenomics, Korea

 

 

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Was Kaesong a Hole in the Korean Iron Curtain or a Subsidy to the Kim Monarchy?

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So it increasingly looks like the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial zone is closed for good. (The Wikipedia write-up is a pretty good quick history of it.)


A Brief Note On Ron Paul And Byzantium

This is an interesting video of two “pillars of economic thought”, Ron Paul and Paul Krugman, debating the role of the government in the economy. I’m only seven minutes deep at the moment, but I’m already struck by the remarkable ability Ron Paul has of utilizing obscure and abstract language to sound intelligent, while Paul Krugman comes off as brilliant by explaining his ideas with quick, down-to-earth words that my brain’s stomach finds far easier to digest.


The Agenda for Korea’s Next Prez (My ‘Newsweek Japan’ Cover Story)

 

 

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