But in this global world, there is a lot of pressure on Korea to act like established Western nations too, so if they start adopting a good policy or a disastrous one, the same thing might eventually start to happen in Korea as well. During the economic crisis of 1997 and 1998, for example, there was a lot of pressure on Korea by the so-called "developed economies" to start privatizing everything from utilities to rail networks, which might have undermined the country's ability to provide cheap transportation for the masses, one of the things I love about Korea.
And from what I'm reading from the likes of Paul Krugman, It would not be good at all for Korea to follow the path of austerity, which he blames for prolonging and worsening Europe's economic crisis and even the United States' economic woes. The crux of his argument is that support for austerity is based on faulty data and reasoning, and it is an idea promoted by conservatives who don't see the value in government programs in the first place.
Here's an excerpt from his article in the New York Times:
And there’s a reason for that association: U.S. conservatives have long followed a strategy of “starving the beast,” slashing taxes so as to deprive the government of the revenue it needs to pay for popular programs.Take heed. Austerity may be killing us, metaphorically and (in some cases) even literally.
The funny thing is that right now these same hard-line conservatives declare that we must not run deficits in times of economic crisis. Why? Because, they say, politicians won’t do the right thing and pay down the debt in good times. And who are these irresponsible politicians they’re talking about? Why, themselves.
To me, it sounds like a fiscal version of the classic definition of chutzpah — namely, killing your parents, then demanding sympathy because you’re an orphan. Here we have conservatives telling us that we must tighten our belts despite mass unemployment, because otherwise future conservatives will keep running deficits once times improve.
Put this way, of course, it sounds silly. But it isn’t; it’s tragic. The disastrous turn toward austerity has destroyed millions of jobs and ruined many lives. And it’s time for a U-turn.