Social and Economic Mobility
Social and economic mobility in a developing country becomes possible by examining the socio-economic inequalities that exist within a country due to the improved mobility of other social classes. This is a noticeable issue in South Korea amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of revenue due to forced closures out of precaution and safety has impacted South Korea’s entrepreneurial workforce. Business owners who share the same sentiment have expressed that their government has been short on loans to cover business expenses. They also mentioned their preference toward establishing a tax cut. Additionally, the resulting dependence on technology for social-distancing purposes has further divided social classes and vulnerable groups like the elderly in South Korea. Fortunately, increased investment and trade have strengthened South Korea’s social and economic mobility amid COVID-19.

Elderly and Technological Advancements

One of the main issues in socio-economic inequalities is the wealth gap, which the pandemic has exacerbated. There are individuals who have been able to maintain a steady income while working from home. However, others have had to sell their assets to repay loans in order to keep their businesses thriving. The prospect of job security is low since workplaces have frequently turned workers away from their work, causing a hindrance in receiving income.

The pandemic has particularly impacted the elderly due to the shift in technology to follow the no-contact rule of the social guidelines. A 61-year-old experienced a QR code for the first time at a bakery, not knowing what it represented or how it became the new “normal” in facilitating a transaction in a business.

Future Economical Advancements

The new issues that have surfaced because of the pandemic have opened a potential source of income. This source boosted the South Korean economy in regard to social and economic mobility. The job market in South Korea is focusing on advanced technological fields, specifically working on the future of the car industry, as well as the low-carbon emission industry.

According to the 2020 GDP forecast, South Korea is less likely to take an economic hit compared to other countries. This is great news, specifically for the industries focused on bringing in revenue for the country.

North and South Korea Inter-Economy

Social and economic mobility is prevalent with the help of companies such as KPMG International. Recently, an investment guide has emerged to help with the economic cooperation of both North and South Korea. It aims to bring in more job opportunities to both countries and provide South Korea with information on the investment environment in North Korea. The president of South Korea mentioned that revenue would expand by combining both North and South Korea through “trade and infrastructure links.”

South Korea’s Trade Business

South Korea’s revenue will increase due to the new trading shift. The country also experienced an economic boom with the help of its exports and manufacturing activities. South Korea’s exports have grown by 4% in 2020 because of the high demand for technology. Exports are significant to South Korea’s economy, especially with strict lockdowns during the pandemic to help control the virus. With the increased investment plans and trade, hope exists that South Korea can continue to diminish socio-economic inequalities amid COVID-19, helping to advance its social and economic mobility efforts.

Amanda Ortiz
Photo: Flickr

development projects in north koreaRuling out of fear and paranoia produces extreme tension in a state. North Korea remains one of the most oppressive authoritarian states in the world. Ruled by the Kim family and the Worker’s Party of Korea for seven decades, Kim Jong-Un continues the path of oppression through development projects in North Korea under the appearance of betterment and growth.

Development projects in North Korea do offer economic growth, some at the direct expense of citizens. These projects seek to establish an economy that is developed and thriving in order to boost its ability to be a key state in international affairs.

The Pyongyang missile development projects illustrate Kim Jong-Un’s desire to exercise extreme power by developing both nuclear missiles and military power. Creating a military powerful enough to defend borders against potential enemies allows North Korea to pursue self-sufficiency. Developing, testing and moving such missiles produces international tensions, provoking ideas of world wars.

Kim Jong-Un’s focus is not solely on military ventures but also on building orphanages, schools, ski resorts and building complexes. The project for building orphanages and schools was carried out in Wonsan. An additional 22 markets have been built and 60 renovated to grow the economy. In the five years Kim Jong-Un has ruled, the economy has increased by 1 percent to 5 percent per year.

Ten power plant projects have sprouted up to supply power to North Korea. China partnered with North Korea in order to complete two of the construction projects. Reforestation of land within North Korea shows signs of development to restore and recover timber for future logging. North Korea’s forests are used for timber exports and firewood for domestic energy. Reforestation allows for future economic growth in timber sales and exports.

These development projects in North Korea increase the pace of economic growth. However, the funding for such projects comes from bypassing sanctions set out by the U.N., manufacturers supplying funds for military expenses and North Korean workers forced to send wages home for economic projects.

Forced labor, arbitrary arrests, public executions and tightening borders to disallow people from seeking refuge in other countries are some of the harmful actions taken to fulfill development needs within North Korea. These development projects do not provide relief to the citizens but are fraught with corruption.

However, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to try and remedy the human rights abuses in North Korea. Through authorization, a group of independent experts was tasked to defend victims of human rights abuses. The council enacted the International Criminal Court as a mechanism to hold human right violators accountable.

North Korea is oppressive in its pursuit of economic growth, but with sanctions and accountability enacted by trade partners and organizations, the benefits from development projects in North Korea could possibly be more evenly dispersed among all citizens.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: Flickr