Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Korea's Chaebol Culture

Korean  conglomerates helped by the government have done much to bring about the economic growth in Korea, but at the same time we have many negative results.

The Catholic Times has an article on Korean economics and the 'chaebols' ( business conglomerates). Both government  parties have  promised to make the 'chaebols'  more transparent and democratic.

Is this not a  sign that all see the abuses that we have and the need  to remedy the situation? They have done much to develop Korea no one denies, but there is something else besides material development and  economic growth. Many of the problems in Korean society stem from this close arrangement with the government.

The article sees two aspects of the problems with the chaebols. One problem is that a small number of businesses are influencing how industry, and the market are going. One easy example  to illustrate the point is the way the big super markets have stopped the flow of money in the small stores and our traditional markets. Few people know, says the columnist, that it is not only the super markets, but the chaebols are the main share holders in many other businesses. A reason why the independent operations, and the ordinary folk have difficulties in the market.

The second problem is the chaebol families have control over many affiliates and subsidiaries. Consequently, their influence on economic matters is great  even when their share of the financial holdings is small.  Easing the control of  a few of these chaebols on the market will make for a more democratic competitive playing field, and a brighter  future for the  independent entrepreneurs  and the labor force,

In the encyclical Quartragesimo Anno (1931), Pius XI stressed how financial monopolies hurt the economy and also that it is the death of  capitalism's central tenet of freedom for competition, Pope Pius also saw    spreading to the political area as it did in Germany.

In our society, this monopolistic tendency continues and is hurting the free and healthy movement of our economy. Without efforts made to remedy the situation the condition of the citizens  will be difficult. What we need is not the reformation of the labor force, but the reformation of the chaebols; necessary is to work for the democratization of the economy.

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