Poverty and Income Inequality in South Korea Essay

South Korea is counted among the world’s taking economic systems alongside giants such as United States and Germany ( Wiseman & A ; Nishiwaki. 2006 ) . Before the fiscal crisis hit Asia in 1997. South Korea was among the fastest turning economic systems of the universe with a Gross Domestic Product ( GDP ) growing rate transcending 5 per centum ( Kakwani. Khandker. & A ; Son ) . Kwack & A ; Lee ( 2007 ) study that income inequality had been reduced across the state before the fiscal crisis. Furthermore. between the old ages 1965 and 2005. income inequality had non significantly increased.

All the same. between the old ages 1998 and 2005. South Korea experienced a rise in income inequality seeing that the Asiatic fiscal crisis was monolithic in its range ( Kwack & A ; Lee. p. 20 ) . Besides. between the old ages 1990 and 1997. the per centum of South Korean people classified as hapless had steadily decreased from 39. 6 per centum to 8. 6 per centum ( Kakwani. Khandker. & A ; Son ) . South Korea was coming to be known as an “economy with comparatively equal distribution of income and with full employment” ( Kakwani. Khandker. & A ; Son ) . But. the Asiatic fiscal crisis of course increased the figure of hapless people in the state.

In fact. the per centum of hapless increased to 19 per centum in 1998 ; it was 13. 4 per centum a twelvemonth subsequently ( Kakwani. Khandker. & A ; Son ) . Harmonizing to a survey conducted by Kakwani. Khandker. & A ; Son. the hapless of South Korea were disproportionately affected by the Asiatic fiscal crisis of 1997. Even though the South Korean economic system started to turn once more instantly after the crisis. the benefits of growing did non make the hapless as they did the rich. Then once more. the authorities of South Korea introduced new public assistance plans for the really hapless during that clip.

The hapless people of the state did non profit from these plans. nevertheless. It was merely the really hapless that were positively impacted ( Kakwani. Khandker. & A ; Son ) . What is more. contrary to the reading of income inequality statistics as presented by Kwack & A ; Lee. the International Monetary Fund has expressed great concern over this job in South Korea during the present epoch of globalisation ( “Widening Inequality: IMF Acknowledges Downsides of Globalization. ” 2007 ) . A study published in Korea Times in October 2007 reads:

…Many South Koreans believe the state has no other pick but to prosecute the international tendency in a command to last fiercer competition with other states. Policymakers are seeking to open the local market wider to foreign merchandises. while advancing gross revenues of Korea. Inc. . under the spirit of freer trade. They go full-scale to pull foreign investing by puting up free economic zones and international concern towns. Businesss are besides spread outing their abroad webs for production. gross revenues and investing under the slogan of globalisation.

…In this respect. a recent IMF study caught the attending of economic policymakers. company executives. citizens and anti-globalization militants. Last hebdomad. the international organic structure published its biannual economic reappraisal. the World Economic Outlook. before the IMF and the World Bank meeting scheduled for Oct. 20-21. The IMF said in the study that engineering and foreign investing are doing income inequality worse around the universe. The reappraisal tries to calculate out why income inequality has widened in both rich and hapless states in the past two decennaries.

It is the first clip that the IMF has come up with such a study acknowledging to the negative effects of globalisation. “Over the past two decennaries. income inequality has risen in most parts and states. ’’ the study said. We can larn much from the study. We have to acknowledge that South Korea has experienced widening income inequality. particularly following the Asiatic fiscal sufferings. The income brackets have already been divided into 20 per centum rich and 80 per centum hapless. That is the nation’s in-between category has crumbled because the spread between the rich and hapless widened.

The 20-80 ratio is on the brink of traveling to a 10-90 ratio. further declining the income spread. In add-on. concerns have exploited non-regular workers and migratory labourers from foreign states who suffer from low rewards. hapless on the job conditions and other favoritism. A jurisprudence protecting non-regular workers took consequence in July. but small advancement has been made to vouch their equal rights. Policymakers will hold to take bolder steps to contract income inequality and tackle other negative effects of globalisation. ( “Widening Inequality: IMF Acknowledges Downsides of Globalization” )

It is oft stated that globalisation is accompanied by a widening spread between the rich persons and poor persons of the universe. When a Korean husbandman all of a sudden appeared during a meeting of World Trade Organization and committed self-destruction. the jobs confronting the planetary political economic system were highlighted – that. in fact. the involvements of the hapless must be heeded. better than earlier. The husbandman was have oning a shirt that read. “WTO KILLS FARMERS” ( Cho. 2008. pp. ten ) . After all. it is non uncommon for experts and non-experts likewise to claim that the World Trade Organization does non stand for the involvements of the rich and the hapless every bit.

However. there is a bound to how much the World Trade Organization can make for the poorest people of the universe. It is. in fact. for the authorities of South Korea to bear greater duty for hapless Koreans. Harmonizing to another intelligence study published in South Korea in the twelvemonth 2007. The pay disparity of the lower 10 per centum of earners versus upper 10 per centum rose to a factor of 5. 4 in 2006 from 4. 8 in 2001. significance that wages for the top decile of earners were about five-and-a-half times greater than those of the lowest decile of earners… ( “A Look at South Korean Society. 20 Old ages after Democracy. ” 2007 )

It is for the South Korean authorities non merely to better income distribution in the state but besides to implement policies to stop maltreatment every bit good as favoritism of the poorest workers. Individual income in South Korea rose fivefold between the old ages 1987 and 2007. But. South Korea has non made advancement to stop income inequality. The Gini coefficient is typically the statistical step of pick to measure income distribution. A Gini coefficient of zero indicates absolutely equal income distribution. while a coefficient of 1 indicates absolutely inequality.

In 1987. the twelvemonth that South Korea became a democratic state. its Gini coefficient was 0. 31. By the twelvemonth 1997. South Korea’s Gini coefficient had been reduced to 0. 28 as the state had made paces in cut downing the spread between the rich persons and the have-nots. But so the Asiatic fiscal crisis ensued. By 2006. South Korea’s Gini coefficient was back to 0. 31. Although the size of the economic system had grown from $ 500 billion to $ 800 billion. income distribution had been reduced between 1997 and 2006. Unsurprisingly. the poorest people of South Korea are facing favoritism and maltreatment.

After all. the rich are acquiring richer at the disbursal of the hapless. As a affair of fact. development of labour is world in South Korea ( “A Look at South Korean Society. 20 Old ages after Democracy” ) . Robert J. Barro. a professor of economic sciences at Harvard University. explains that life criterions across South Korea were raised with its dramatic rise in GDP. As illustrations. the infant mortality rate fell from 8 per centum to 0. 8 per centum and life anticipation rose from 54 old ages to 73 old ages. Additionally. income distribution in South Korea has been more just as compared to the United States and Japan.

When single income rose in South Korea. low-income groups were donees. excessively. and poorness was reduced ( Barro. 2003 ) . Then once more. as we have already discussed. the Gini coefficient of South Korea in 2006 was the same as in 1987. This reveals that although the hapless people of South Korea have higher rewards now than earlier. the spread between the rich persons and the poor persons has non been narrowed. So. Professor Barro suggests that South Korea must work on bettering its instruction system. If the hapless people of South Korea have entree to good quality instruction. it would be easier to better income distribution.

Furthermore. the state needs to heighten corporate administration ( Barro ) . These alterations are certain to heighten working conditions and life criterions of hapless workers. Then once more. South Korea may non be able to back up half of its “elderly households” populating “in a province of ‘relative poverty’” with these betterments ( “Korea Highest in Elderly Poverty. ” 2008 ) . In fact. the income of these families is lower than 50 per centum of mean household income in the state. Although South Korea has a pension strategy for the aged. the per centum of the hapless that may profit from the strategy is little.

Because the traditions of South Korea demanded of kids to take attention of their parents upon making maturity. the state does non hold a developed societal insurance system for the aged. What is more. South Korea is aging fast. At least 7 per centum of its hapless are over 65 today ( “Korea Highest in Elderly Poverty. ” 2008 ) . At the same clip as societal public assistance plans remained developing. South Korea generated 3100 more people having at least U. S. $ 1 million worth liquid assets between the old ages 2000 and 2001 ( “Asian Millionaires: A Tough Bunch. ” 2002 ) .

Harmonizing to Australian Banking & A ; Finance. among the grounds for this rapid production of millionaires is increasing income inequality ( “Asian Millionaires: A Tough Bunch. ” 2002 ) . To set it another manner. corporate leaders are raising their organisational grosss. thanks in portion to globalisation. even as the poorest workers of their organisations continue to be paid low rewards. In the twelvemonth 2007. South Korea experienced the widest spread between the rich persons and the have-nots since the Asian fiscal crisis.

In fact. the one-year income of 20 per centum of South Koreans gaining the highest incomes was 5. 44 times greater than the one-year income of the 20 per centum that earned the lowest incomes. In 2006. the rich were gaining 5. 38 times more than those that earn the least ( “Income Gap at its Widest Point since 1999 Financial Crisis. ” 2008 ) . Analyzing the statistics. The Hankyoreh studies that income and pay spreads between 20 per centum of the highest earners and 20 per centum of the lowest earners had really widened by 7. 9 per centum and 11. 7 per centum severally between the old ages 2002 and 2007.

What is more. statistics on income distribution in South Korea reveal that the richest people of the state are gaining more than the people of developed states. while the poorest South Korean families have incomes that are tantamount to those of families in less developed states. Even the World Bank has confirmed that hapless South Koreans have the same life criterions as those of the citizens of El Salvador or Gabon. Rich South Koreans. on the reverse. have the same life criterions as New Zealanders and Australians ( “Income Gap at its Widest Point since 1999 Financial Crisis” ) .

Professor Barro’s analysis of income disparity in South Korea must be considered uncomplete for the ground that there is no “decline in the load of ingestion on low-income households” ( “Income Gap at its Widest Point since 1999 Financial Crisis” ) . These families pay their cellular phone and Internet measures with twice every bit much of their incomes as do rich families. Despite the fact that rewards have increased – harmonizing to Barro – income disparity continues to widen. Son Tae-jeong. one of the research workers at the LG Economic Research Institute in South Korea. stated that wages increased between the old ages 2006 and 2007 to boot.

However. the poorest workers do non look to hold availed the benefits of the rise in wages across the state ( “Income Gap at its Widest Point since 1999 Financial Crisis” ) . South Korea has introduced necessary statute laws to beef up its societal public assistance plans. There are societal security strategies which are insurance based and applicable merely to certain occupational groups. These strategies cover pensions and health care among other things. The authorities of South Korea besides offers subsidies for lodging on a limited footing.

But. most societal security plans in the state merely offer benefits related to net incomes. Furthermore. these societal security strategies are structured in a manner that limits income redistribution from high-income to low-income groups ( “Social Welfare in East Asia: Low Public Spending but Low Income Inequality. ” 2008 ) . Even though there are organisations across the state that continue to retain their unproductive workers. there is no manner for them to bring around the pestilence of poorness afflicting the aged hapless of South Korea ( “Social Welfare in East Asia: Low Public Spending but Low Income Inequality” ) .

The hapless aged South Koreans can non be financially supported by their grown up childs because even though labour productiveness and GDP have risen together. existent rewards have lagged behind ( Chung. 2007. p. 228 ) . Poor workers have low criterions of life in any instance. seeing that corporate leaders must concentrate on raising their ain life criterions even if they offer support to unproductive workers. Of class. as Barro has stated. instruction and corporate administration may work admirations in eliminating the job of poorness confronting the worker and his or her aged parents in South Korea.

Uneducated people normally have low life criterions ( Savada & A ; Shaw. 1990 ) . Furthermore. in the workplaces of South Korea. these people are “treated with unfastened disdain by university alumnus managers” ( Savada & A ; Shaw ) . Increasing Numberss of South Korean workers have migrated from agricultural farms to industrial constitutions in recent old ages. However. poorness has non been eradicated ( Savada & A ; Shaw ) . Rather. the differences between the rich persons and the poor persons have remained. The Asiatic fiscal crisis had negatively impacted both the rich and the hapless of South Korea. But. as mentioned before. the hapless were disproportionately affected.

Poor South Koreans had to cut down their disbursement by 9. 8 per centum in the twelvemonth 1998. The rich merely reduced their disbursement by 0. 6 per centum. Additionally. every bit shortly as the Korean economic system was back on its growing path. the rich are known to hold greatly increased their disbursement. In point of fact. the ingestion of luxury goods rose to the extent that gross revenues of golf equipment were increased by 357. 6 per centum between 1998 and 1999 ( Yim. p. 32 ) . The hapless South Koreans. on the other manus. were left to their life criterions resembling those of people in developing states.

Of a certainty. the authorities of South Korea must be explicating and implementing the sorts of policies required to decide these structural economic issues one time and for all. The state possesses the capacity to turn beyond outlooks. But. at the same clip. income inequality and poorness create such a load that a South Korean husbandman came to perpetrate self-destruction at a meeting of the World Trade Organization. The rich capitalists of South Korea wage low rewards to workers who go on increasing their productiveness however. Furthermore. hapless. uneducated workers are abused and exploited in the South Korean workplace.

By establishing good corporate administration plans. the authorities of South Korea may really good rectify this job. After all. it is because of the hapless workers’ motive to increase productiveness that has made South Korea one of the most of import economic systems in the universe today. The state would non be able to prolong its economic place if it fails to mind its workers’ demands. References A Expression at South Korean Society. 20 Old ages after Democracy. ( 2007. Jun 8 ) . The Hankyoreh. Retrieved Mar 20. 2009. from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Hani. co. kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/214664. hypertext markup language.

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