The person who asked this question is right. Right after the Korean war, S. Korea realized they were literally the poorest country in the world, and they didn’t like it. As a country, they decided to come out of it together. The S. Korean population is a unit, like a large family, very unlike a place like the U. S. that has people from all over the world who all feel disconnected from one another. S. Koreans don’t feel disconnected from other S. Koreans. The truly trust other S. Koreans unlike Americans who run around not knowing who they can trust. S. Koreans decided as a country to build their economy and make their country better, and they have been working at it together.
The first thing they did was everyone worked like crazy. They got up, went to work n the morning, worked hard all day long, and then worked overtime without asking to be paid overtime. They aren’t complete saints. It wasn’t all just for the country, although a lot of it was. Many of them did it because they were so poor and wanted to guarantee that the had a job. If you are unsure about whether you have a job or not tomorrow, today, you will work hard to make sure it is there tomorrow if you are wise, and they were all wise. Even now, S. Korea has a better economy, but the people are still working overtime without extra pay because it has become a way of life.
During the 2008 financial crisis, I saw them really pulling together. I knew people who worked without a salary because they didn’t want to see their boss close his doors. They sacrifice for one another. One guy I knew just moved in with his brother and continued working without a salary. When the company did better, they began paying him again. S. Koreans take care of one another. When my university was having trouble paying the bills, They leaned on the professors to pay the bills. The Korean professors all signed papers pledging part of their salary as a contribution to the school. When I went to get my salary, I had to sign that form too because the man told me I couldn’t get my salary without letting him take money from my salary as a contribution to the school. The Korean teachers all volunteered to contribute their money, but as an American, and because my salary was smaller than the Korean salaries because I was a foreigner, I didn’t give them my money voluntarily. I felt like they were extorting money from me.
Another thing they did to build their economy up was the government chose certain companies to give the company a stimulus check to make the company grow. They chose companies they knew would expand their manufacturing and provide jobs for the people. These particular companies became really big. Everyone around the world has heard of Samsung, and it was one of the major companies the government gave money to. There were many companies that got huge from government stimulus checks which gave lots of people jobs. I was amazed to find out they hadn’t had paper products like paper towel, toilet paper, napkins, and paper plates long at all, but when they began selling those things, they went over really big with the people. That is just one of the kinds of improvements that came out of the government investing in the country. As for Samsung, every S. Korean would love to work for Samsung. They are known for having the best salaries and luxury apartment buildings where their employees can live.
Also, everyone around the world has seen Korean dramas and K-Pop. These are S. Korean government programs. The government realized that S. Korea was a small, insignificant country, but if they wanted to do business with other countries, they were going to have to attract some attention of other countries. It was like the government advertising for S. Korean businesses when they began the Korean dramas and the K-Pop. They think the more eyes in the word that are on them, the better it is for their economy. They have a saying in S. Korea: “This is a global world, and we have to learn to live in it.” This is also why so many of them study English. They know very few people will try to learn to speak Korean and that the Korean language is hard. When I first went to S. Korea, I was actually recruited by the S. Korean government through one of their many programs to come and teach English in S. Korea. They reach into other countries and find ways to bring attention their way so their businesses can do more international business.
The government also invests in education. They pick certain universities they approve of and give them big grants to try to keep the cost of attending there low for the students. They feel like it is investing in the S. Korean people. As I have traveled through the world, I have actually lived in eight countries. I have to say the S. Korean population is one of the best education populations in general that I have seen. It is amazing how many S. Koreans have been to graduate school. Their universities are a fraction of the cost of American universities.
If you read about the natural resources in S. Korea, they really don’t have oil, minerals, or anything like that. That is not how they got so rich so fast. And yes, economists consider what happened in S. Korea a modern day economic miracle. S. Kore considers its biggest natural resource the S. Korean people themselves. When someone asked me a question like this before, I had a comment from an American military guy. He wanted everyone to know that S. Korea could not have had their economic miracle except that the American military has been there protecting them from N. Korea. The American military made what the S. Korean did possible.