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Explaining South Korea’s Economic and Social Development #2

South Korea is one of the real success stories of development post world war two, but what policies led to it rapid economic and social development?

NB – you might like to read part one of ‘Explaining South Korea’s Development‘ first!

During the early phases of its economic development, there were few vested interests In South Korea to oppose Import Substitution Industrialization: there was no landlord class (like in South America) and no foreign ownership of industry (like in much of Africa), so there were no vested ‘extractive’ interests to block the consumption of imports which was required to boost manufacturing.

During the 1980s South Korea also benefited from global political and economic trends: it gained an ally in America who wanted a stronghold in Asia to prove that a free-market economy was a viable alternative to communism; it was also able to benefit from the increasing global demand for cars and other industrial products – cheaper labour in South Korea meant it was eventually able to build a very successful automobile industry, spruing on the decline of manufacturing in places like Detroit.

The Hyundai factory in Ulsan is now the biggest automobile factory in the World, an honor which used to belong to the River Rouge Ford Factory in Detroit.

By the 1990s South Korea was being categorized as a Newly Industrialized Economy…however, the idea that this success was because of neoliberal policies is a myth. Rather, the strong economic growth post WW2 was because the authoritarian government (not beholden to either of the vested interests above) was able to protect industries, much in the same way as Britain and America did during their strong phases of economic growth.

In short, South Korea’s economic success is because the state played a highly interventionist role in steering, stimulating and constraining the market.

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The Delhi Smog – A Consequence of Neoliberal Development?

A test match between India and Sri Lanka had to be repeatedly halted on Sunday because of the smog enveloping Delhi.

India smog 2
The Sri-Lankan cricket team, taking a break from smog-induced vomit sessions 

The Sri-Lankan team took the field after the lunch break wearing face masks, and play was halted for consultation with doctors. It then resumed, but was stopped twice more when two Sri Lankan bowlers left the field with breathing difficult and nausea; one of them was said to have vomited in the changing room. (further details are in this article in the Hindustan Times)*

This little story got me to digging around for evidence of the extent of pollution in Delhi – and it seems that it’s pretty bad – according to this BBC News Article pollution levels in early November 2017 reached 30 times the World Health Organisation’s acceptable limits, and the Indian Medical Association declared a state of medical emergency…

Thick smog in new Delhi on Tuesday express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey 07 Nov 17
Smog in Delhi

To my mind this is a great example of the relationship between development and environmental damage, which can be especially bad when development happens rapidly (or should I say ‘development’?) and there is a lack of regulation. Possibly yet another problems with neoliberal strategies of development?

*NB – The India cricket boss, CK Khanna, accused to Sri Lankans of making a ‘big fuss’, I guess it all depends on what level of pollution you regard as ‘normal’! 

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Assess the view that western models of education are not appropriate to developing countries (20)

Overview plan

  1. What are Western Models of Education?
  2. What are the arguments and evidence for western models being appropriate to developing countries?
  3. What are the arguments and evidence against/ what other models might be appropriate?
  4. Conclusion – when might Western models be appropriate/ when not?

This is a possible 20 mark essay which might come up on the AQA’s A-level sociology (7192/2) topics in sociology paper. Below is my extend plan. You might like to read this post on education and international development first, most of the material below is based on this.

Extended plan

1. What are Western Models of Education?

  • Free state education for all, funded by tax payer
  • Functions – apply Functionalism – crucial link to work and economy
  • Expensive, requires tax base, trained professionals
  • Industrial model/ factory model
  • National curriculums, standardised testing (downsides)

2. What are the arguments and evidence for western models being appropriate to developing countries?

  • Mainly modernisation theory – link to breaking traditional values
  • There is a correlation between education and economic growth.
  • Would anyone disagree with the idea that teaching kids to read/ keeping them out of work is a good idea? Near universal agreement.
  • Western companies are involved in running education systems in developing countries (linked to neoliberalism)

3. What are the arguments and evidence against western education being appropriate/ what other models might more appropriate?

  • Dependency theory argues western education is simply part of the colonial project – a ‘reward’ for the natives who obey the colonisers.
  • Western education focuses too much on Western history, it’s ethnocentric, and erases diverse voices (Galeano)
  • Bare Foot Education (people centred development) might be more appropriate – local education systems run by local people to meet local needs (focussing on agricultural technology, women’s empowerment for example).
  • Most obvious reasons ‘Western education’ might not work are due to numerous barriers to education – e.g. poorer countries cannot afford the teachers, rural populations are too dispersed.
  • Building on point d above, two of the biggest barriers are groups such as Boko Haram who prevent girls from getting an education.
  • Neoliberals and others suggest we can educate effectively in poor countries without the need for massive state sectors like in the west (through online learning, e.g. the hole in the wall experiment).

4. Conclusion – when might Western models be appropriate/ when not?

  • In principle the western idea of funding education for children for 11 years is hard to argue against
  • However, there are problems with many aspects of the western education system – top-down national curriculums for example, and the focus on too much testing, and the sheer expense.
  • Also, there are massive barriers to rolling out western style education systems in developing countries which would make massive state education difficult to maintain.
  • So in conclusion I’d say the most effective way to implement and improve education in poorer countries is to adopt some but not all aspects of western models – maybe having the state and aid money guarantee teacher training and reading programmes, combined with a more ground-up people centred development approach to make sure local people are included in shaping specific aspects of education to meet their local needs.

 

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International Development – Glossary of Key Concepts

Enrolment Ratio 

The percentage  of children enrolled in school in a country

Globalisation  

The increasing connectedness between societies across the globe.

Gross National Product 

The total economic value of goods and services produced BY a country, both at home and abroad in the course of a year and available for consumption in the market place.

Patriarchy 

A system of male domination and control.

Colonialism 

Where a more powerful country expands into other, less powerful territories and exerts political and economic control over those territories.

Neoliberalism  

An economic theory which believes governments should remove restrictions to free trade (deregulation), privatize public services, and keep taxes low.

Modern World System (according to Wallerstein)

The theory that global capitalism is structured into three zones of production – core, periphery and semi-periphery

Official Development  Aid 

Loans and grants from public or official sources such as national governments or international agencies of development.

Fair Trade 

A certification system which guarantees that products are produced in a way in which workers get a fair price and aren’t exploited.

Non-Governmental Organizations  

Non-political and non-profit organisations. NGOs typically have charity status and raise funds through a combination of voluntary donations from the public.

Industrialisation

Where a country moves from an economy dominated by agricultural output and employment to one dominated by manufacturing.

Urbanisation

Where a population moves from rural to urban areas – the migration of people from the country to towns and cities.

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Global Gender Inequalities – An Overview

Gender Inequalities in Employment –

  • For every dollar earnt by men, women earn 70-90 cents.
  • Women are less likely to work than men – Globally in 2015 about three quarters of men and half of women participate in the labour force. Women’s labour force participation rates are the lowest in Northern Africa, Western Asia and Southern Asia (at 30 per cent or lower).
  • When women are employed, they are typically paid less and have less financial and social security than men. Women are more likely than men to be in vulnerable jobs — characterized by inadequate earnings, low productivity and substandard working conditions — especially in Western Asia and Northern Africa. In Western Asia, Southern Asia and Northern Africa, women hold less than 10 per cent of top-level positions.
  • When all work – paid and unpaid – is considered, women work longer hours than men. Women in developing countries spend 7 hours and 9 minutes per day on paid and unpaid work, while men spend 6 hours and 16 minutes per day. In developed countries, women spend 6 hours 45 minutes per day on paid and unpaid work while men spend 6 hours and 12 minutes per day.

Gender Inequalities in Education –

The past two decades have witnessed remarkable progress in participation in education. Enrolment of children in primary education is at present nearly universal. The gender gap has narrowed, and in some regions girls tend to perform better in school than boys and progress in a more timely manner.

However, the following gender disparities in education remain:

  • 31 million of an estimated 58 million children of primary school age are girls (more than 50% girls)
  • 87 per cent of young women compared to 92 per cent of young men have basic reading and writing skills. However, at older age, the gender gap in literacy shows marked disparities against women, two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women.
  • The proportion of women graduating in the fields of science (1 in 14, compared to 1 in 9 men graduates) and engineering (1 in 20, compared to 1 in 5 men graduates) remain low in poor and rich countries alike. Women are more likely to graduate in the fields related to education (1 in 6, compared to 1 in 10 men graduates), health and welfare (1 in 7, compared to 1 in 15 men graduates), and humanities and the arts (1 in 9, compared to 1 in 13 men graduates).
  • There is unequal access to universities especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. In these regions, only 67 and 76 girls per 100 boys, respectively, are enrolled in tertiary education. Completion rates also tend to be lower among women than men. Poverty is the main cause of unequal access to education, particularly for girls of secondary-school age.

Gender Inequalities in Health

Women in developing countries suffer from….

Poor Maternal Health (support during pregnancy) – As we saw in the topic on health and education, maternity services are often very underfunded, leading to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary female deaths as a result of pregnancy and child birth every year.

Lack of reproductive rights – Women also lack reproductive rights. They often do not have the power to decide whether to have children, when to have them and how many they should have. They are often prevented from making rational decisions about contraception and abortion. Men often make all of these decisions and women are strongly encouraged to see their status as being bound up with being a mother.

Gender Inequalities in the Experience of Overt Violence – Around the world, women are

  • Victims of Violence and Rape – Globally 1/3 women have experience domestic violence, only 53 countries have laws against marital rape.

 

  • Missing: More than 100 million women are missing from the world’s population – a result of discrimination against women and girls, including female infanticide.
  • At risk from FGM – An estimated 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk of female genital mutilation/cutting each year.
  • Girls are more likely to be forced into marriage: More than 60 million girls worldwide are forced into marriage before the age of 18. Almost half of women aged 20 to 24 in Southern Asia and two fifths in sub-Saharan Africa were married before age 18. The reason this matters is because in sub‐Saharan Africa, only 46 per cent of married women earned any cash labour income in the past 12 months, compared to 75 per cent of married men

Gender Inequalities in Politics

Between 1995 and 2014, the share of women in parliament, on a global level, increased from 11 per cent to 22 per cent — a gain of 73 per cent, but far short of gender parity.

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Indicators of Health in International Development

Health is a crucial indicator of development – The International Aid community believe that health is the most important thing to spend money on – with more than 90% of the aid budget being spent in this area.

There are four basic measurements of health in development

  • Life Expectancy – The average number of years people are expected to live in a country (which if you remember makes up one of the three indicators of the Human Development Index).
  • Child Mortality – The number of children which die before their first birthday (measured per thousand).
  • Maternal Health – The number of women who die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Disease indicators – The proportion of the population that has AIDS, Malaria, diarrheal and other infectious diseases.

On all of the above four ‘indicators of health’, things are considerably worse in lower income countries than higher income ones.

  1. Life Expectancy – in the UK average life-expectancy is 81.5 years (some commentators would expect this to go down as the effect of Tory policies leads to increasing inequality and worse health care with the NHS privatisation.), while in At the other end of the scale, life expectancy is still less than 55 years in nine sub-Saharan African countries – including The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
  2. Child Mortality – In Low income countries – 40% of those dying in any one year are children aged 0-15. In high income countries, only 1% of deaths are among people between 0-15 years of age. (Source – World Health Organization)

Reducing Child Mortality is Millennium Development Goal  4and the latest MDG report says –

The highest levels of under-five mortality continue  to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in  eight children die before the age of five (129 deaths  per 1,000 live births), nearly twice the average in  developing regions overall and around 18 times the  average in developed regions. With rapid progress in other regions, the disparities between them and sub-Saharan Africa have widened. Southern Asia has the second highest rate—69 deaths per 1,000 live births or about one child in 14.

countries highest infant mortality 2016
Countries with the highest infant mortality rate, 2016
  1. Maternal Health – Improving Maternal Health is Millennium Development Goal 5

As with child mortality, maternal deaths are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, which together account for around 85% of such deaths globally. A crucial factor in explaining maternal deaths (and improving this is part of MDG5 is that less than half of women giving birth are attended by a health care professional – in sub Saharan Africa – 64% of women, compared to 28% in Asian and less than 2% in the developed world.

  1. Disease indicators

Millennium Development Goal 6 is to Combat AIDS, HIV, Malaria and other diseases

In 2013, 35 million people were living with the AIDS virus— nearly a 30 per cent increase over 1999. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected region, accounting for around 70 per cent of new HIV infections, people living with HIV and AIDS deaths.

According to a 2015 World Health Organisation report, Malaria death rates have plunged by 60% since 2000, translating into 6.2 million lives saved.

“Global malaria control is one of the great public health success stories of the past 15 years,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “It’s a sign that our strategies are on target, and that we can beat this ancient killer, which still claims hundreds of thousands of lives, mostly children, each year.”

Despite tremendous progress, malaria remains an acute public health problem in many regions. In 2015 alone, there were an estimated 214 million new cases of malaria, and approximately 438 000 people died of this preventable and treatable disease. About 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria.

Some countries continue to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. Fifteen countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, accounted for 80% of malaria cases and 78% of deaths globally in 2015.

In developing countries, the main causes of death are

  1. Lower respiratory infections11.3%
  2. Diarrheal diseases8.2%
  3. HIV/AIDS7.8%
  4. Heart disease 6.1%
  5. Malaria 5.2%
  6. Tuberculosis 4.3%
  7. Prematurity and low birth weight 3.2%
  8. Birth asphyxia and birth trauma 2.9%
  9. Neonatal infections 2.6%

Many of the above diseases are ‘infectious diseases’ (aka ‘communicable’ diseases) – they are typically spread through either sharing bodily fluids or by parasites – often picked up from coming into contact with dirty water or raw sewage.

Relating back to the previous ‘health indicator’, the last three on the list are ‘maternal health issues’ and relate to either very young children or mothers dying in childbirth – if you add up the three figures then you get a figure of 9% of deaths due to poor maternal health).

 

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Explaining South Korea’s Development #1

Korea was a Japanese Colony from 1910 to 1945, providing food and fuel for the ‘motherland’.

Following the fall of the Japanese Empire at the end of World War II, Korea was divided along the 38th parallel into North and South Korea, North Korea controlled by communist Russia, and South Korea governed by the United States, pitching Communist and Capitalist modes of development against each other.

Following the brutal Korean War of 1950 to 1953 (which was the first war of the ‘cold war’ and was brutal enough to result in 4 million deaths) both North and South Korea lay decimated: plundered by 50 years of colonial rule and then a decade of fighting their infrastructures lay in ruins.

South Korea’s economy stagnated in the decade following the Korean war, but then grew rapidly, and today South Korea is one of the world’s leading economies, whereas North Korea stagnated under hard-line communist rule.

Given the fact that the two countries share common histories up until the end of WW2, and given that they share similar cultures and climates, these things cannot explain their divergent experiences in development since 1950 – and thus South Korea’s development (and North Korea’s lack of it) can only be explain by the social and economic development strategies (and their consequences) adopted by the South Korean government since the 1950s.

Following the war South Korea received some support for reconstruction from the US. As a percentage of gross national income South Korea received a very similar level of support to Kenya in the 1960s. But International Development Assistance was not the answer to Korean poverty. USAID reported that Korea was a ‘bottomless pit’ that could not be helped by development funding.

In 1961, when General Park Chung-Hee came to power in a military coup, South Korea’s yearly income was just $82 per person (for comparison Ghana’s was $179 at the time). In 1962 Park turned civilian and went on to win three elections before seizing the presidency for life. His rule was strict and South Korea was a highly disciplined society.

Park surrounded himself with able colleagues and made some astute political moves: During the Vietnam war, South Korea sent troops to support US efforts and was richly rewarded. In the mid 1960s, revenues from the Americans for Korean troops in Vietnam were the larges single source of foreign-exchange earnings.

Park was authoritarian and stifled liberties, but he put in place policies which effectively modernized South Korea.

Five year plans for economic development were at the heart of his strategy. Growth was steady during the 1960s as new factories producing basic goods were built, and in 1973 Park launched the ‘Heavy and Chemical industrialization programme’ which estalished the first steel mills and car manufacturing plants, which formed the backbone for industrial development and moved South Korea away from reliance on agricultural products.

As a result of Park’s economic policies, Per Capita income grew by more than 5 times between 1972 and 1979, reaching $1000 per capita by 1977, and all of this with very little reliance on aid.

Growth depended on Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI), which mean reducing dependence on imports and replacing them with domestically produced products. In practice this meant protecting basic goods such as clothing, hand tools and processed food.

Citizens were also heavily disciplined: they were mobilized like soldiers into factories and consumption was also tightly controlled: for example, foreign cigarettes were band, and citizens were encouraged to report anyone smoking imported tobacco products.

Every spare cent of foreign exchange earned from exports was used to import new machine imports to further industrialization and over many years South Korea’s manufacturing processes evolved to become more and more technologically sophisticated and eventually the nation transitioned to producing manufactured goods for export to foreign markets.

The history of the Samsung Corporation illustrates the successful development of the South Korean economy.

Samsung began selling dried fish, fruit and vegetables to China in 1938, before moving into flour milling and confectionery manufacturing, then textile weaving. In the early 1970s it invested in heavy, chemical and petrochemical industries and produced the first black and white television for domestic sale in South Korea in 1972. In the second half the 1970s Samsung moved into producing home electronics for export, and today is one of the world’s leading technology companies.

The result of all of this is that South Korea has seen one of the fastest rates of economic growth since WW2 – it’s GDP was over $28 000 in 2016.

However, South Korea’s development did come at a cost: political freedoms were limited (although Korea is now a democracy) working hours were very long, and gender inequality high. Today, South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world and widespread alcohol dependency.

Sources:

Summarized from Brooks (2017) The End of Development.

 

 

 

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Criticisms of the World Bank #2

Just a few updates of some relatively recent case studies which suggest the World Bank is not effectively promoting development in poor countries.

 

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (2015) argues that the World Bank Projects leave trail of misery around the globe

The Ground Truth Project (an independent US media company) is documenting how World Bank financed commercial agricultural projects are resulting in the displacement of indigenous peoples in Tanzania, and Kenya, East Africa.

This 2015 Huffington Post Article – How the World Bank is financing Environmental Destruction – Outlines how a broader range of World Bank projects are leading to environmental decline.

This Oxfam article (2016) points to a complex way in which TNCs may benefit from World Bank loans – The World Bank lends money to poor countries who then pay TNCs to do development work for them, but the TNCs are registered in Tax Havens, which means the developing countries benefit less from taxing the profits of TNCs working in those countries.

A something of a counter argument to ‘the World Bank is evil’ line of evidence… This (2016) Guardian article argues that the proportion of the global population has fallen now below 10%, and so the World Bank has hanged its focus so that it now shifted its focus away from ‘Structural Adjustment programmes and more towards tackling global issues such as dealing with refugee crisees or combating disease outbreaks such as Ebola, rather than focusing on pushing through massive development projects in poor countries.

Further criticisms of the World Bank

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Assessing the view that TNCs harm developing countries.

It’s fairly standard practice in A level sociology to teach that transnational corporations are basically evil and harm developing countries. I subverted this a little bit today and got students to make presentations assessing this view.

The instructions were quite simple:

  1. Outline four case studies of corporations harming developing countries.
  2. Outline three to four imitations of the above evidence/ criticisms of the view that Corporations harm developing countries.
  3. Suggest what strategies might be adopted to make TNCs more effective agencies of development.

Here are some of the posters they knocked up… there’s some excellent work here!

20171004_1626271.jpg20171004_162647.jpg

Transnational Corporations

You just CANNOT go wrong with a poster session!

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ExxonMobil – The Worst Corporation in the World?

ExxonMobil is the world’s largest oil and gas corporation – its main ‘business lines’ involve producing a range of fuels for cars, planes and ships, as well the technologies surrounding the extraction and refining of these fuels.

Exxon Mobil.jpg

ExxonMobil: Key Facts and Stats

  • Registered in Texas, USA.
  • Assets (2016) – $330 billion
  • Revenue (2016) – $218 billion
  • 75 000 employees globally
  • The CEO from 2006 to 2016 was Rex Tillerson, until Donald Trump appointed him as the 69th Secretary of State, a position he formally took up in February 2017. Tillerson has a relatively modest Total Net Wealth of $245 million (although I simply CANNOT believe that’s an accurate figure.)
Oil and Money
Rex Tillerson: Putting Oil and Money First?

Criticisms of ExxonMobil

This video outlines a fairly basic criticism of Exxon’s dealings with the ruling family of Equatorial Guinea – which is the richest country in Africa in terms of GDP, but not in terms of social development, because although Exxon pump a lot of oil out of the country, pretty much all of the money from that oil revenue gets pumped into the hands of the ruling family. They’re so rich, that the Vice President (the president’s son) owns a $30 million dollar mansion in Malibu.

I posted about Equatorial Guinnea a while back – this post covers some of the figures surrounding oil extraction.

Teodorin Obiang
Teodorin Obiang – Total Net Wealth of $115 million

NB – Obiang is going on trial in Europe to investigate the obvious corruption that has led to his vast wealth, thanks to the French courts, no thanks to the TNC Exxon.

A second criticism of Exxon is that it could have effectively prevented climate change: its own internal memos show that the company proved the link between burning fossil fuels and global warming in the late 1970s, but then buried the research and instead funded climate change sceptics to spread doubt about man-made climate change, and cynically invested in areas such as the arctic which it thought global warming would open up for further oil extraction.

According to this Guardian article, Bill Mckibben argues that if only Exxon had been honest, we could have taken much early steps to avert global warming.

Further Sources of criticisms of Exxon…

http://www.cracked.com/article_24303_5-leaked-memos-that-prove-famous-companies-are-evil-as-hell.html

Related Posts/ how to use this material

The most obvious use of the above information is to use it to evaluate the role of Transnational Corporations in Development, summaries of which are provided here: