Koreans dream of a day in the future when they will be leaders – when Koreans will set trends for the world and hobnob with the rich and powerful. But the truth of the matter is that Korea is already a leader for the world, a country frequently benchmarked by the developing world, and increasingly the developed world as well, for its outstanding infrastructure, advanced research facilities and excellent governance.
Korea has gained such popularity as a model for the developing world in part because of the Korean Wave and Korea’s remarkable cultural vitality. But the more important factor is Korea’s unique position as a nation situated between the developed and the developing world.
The infrastructure, city planning or business conventions of Bonn or Chicago are not all that useful in Mongolia or Indonesia because the habits of those cities are so different and their development was long in the past. But the practices of Korea are immediately accessible and infinitely applicable. Because Korea is not that far away from its developmental economic phase, what is practiced in Seoul can be readily transferred to emerging economies. That goes for manufacturing and for urban planning and telecommunications.
But there is one aspect of Korean practice today that is quite worrisome and that needs to be addressed in a serious manner: energy conservation and energy efficiency. Although Korea is a global leader in electronics and consumer culture, there is little or no awareness among Koreans of the need to cut down on the use of electricity and to reduce heating costs in the winter or cooling costs in the summer.
Read the full article by Professor Emanuel Pastreich from the JoongAng Daily here