Modern Korean Consumerism

3970 Words16 Pages
Kyurin Kim ______________________________________________ Taejon Christian Int’l School candidate number: 002213-0013 Date: 12.1.2014 Word Count: 3500 Extended Essay: History To what extent did the drastic changes in modern Korean economy in the period between1854 and 2004 affect the paradigm shift from traditional Confucianist Korean values to consumerism and materialism. Abstract ______________________________________________ This essay investigates the roots of modern-day Korean society’s consumerism and materialism in relation to drastic economic changes in Korean society. By looking at the different changes in Korean economy and Korean society after, I connected the correlation between changes in economy and the…show more content…
This is seen clearly in the contrast between The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea) and the Republic of Korea. However, consumerism also brings in negative aspects, such as the abandonment of traditional values which define a nation’s identity. Also, the moral values become slim in the amoral nature of transactions. Materialism is perceived as a problem from many critics of the Korean society today. In order to pursue economic growth yet maintain a legitimate national identity an inquiry into the speedy roots of Korean consumerism is needed. By identifying the signs of consumerism and materialism in recent Korean history, up until 2004, from the very beginning of drastic change in Korean society, the end of the Joseon period and the Japanese occupation (1800~), an attempt will be made to explain the drastic change in Korean attitude about consumerism and…show more content…
The sudden growth in economy induced a nationalistic pride in Korean identity. In the first argument, it was concluded that there was a vague sense of Korean identity within every Korean. This sense of identity, although not to be mixed with Confucianism, also spurred consumerism in Korea. The nationalistic pride, which before the 1960 had little structure to based off, now had new justification after the Miracle of the Han River. The Han River Miracle refers to the period of time between 1961 to 1996 when the economic growth rate was at a steady 10%. It offset a nationalistic fervor, and gave justifications for a a legitimacy born out of consumption and materials. If people perceive legitimacy which comes from materials, then they will pursue the legitimacy. This shows the history of the society of Korea, having a long history of Occupation and invasion from both China and Japan, and a need for a legitimacy is shown in the wants of goods for
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