What the UK can Learn from the Dark Side of Korea’s Miracle? – John Gelmini

United Kingdom: stamp

United Kingdom: stamp (Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)

English: A graph showing South Korea's GDP (no...

English: A graph showing South Korea’s GDP (nominal) growth from 1960 to 2007. Figures are in billion US Dollars. Graph produced using Microsoft Excel 2007. Transparent flag of South Korea in the background derived from Wikimedia Commons. All data sourced from NationMaster. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Yesterday, I re-blogged an excellent article by Gideon Rachman, published in the FT, entitled The dark side to the South Korean miracle . I received a very a very detailed response from John Gelmini which I am re-blogging below. Personally, I tend to agree with John. What about you?

What the UK can Learn from the Dark Side of Korea’s Miracle – John Gelmini

For ordinary people everywhere, the cost versus the benefits of university education, given the lack of interesting and well paid jobs in a world where computers are destroying them, is becoming a shock.

One can draw a graph starting in 1960 which shows the advent of mainframes, then desktop PCs, then laptops, then PDAs and tablets, then mobile phones and soon Google Glasses.

At each point on the graph, roughly every 10 years, we can see massive reductions in manual workers, typists, clerical staff and middle managers.

At some point, we will get to a stage where with robotics, cybernetics and AI we will only have jobs for very intelligent people with non-replaceable skills and the question will then be “what to do about those who cannot do the work that is available”?.

Judeo Christian ethics says that we must care for them, but if the super-wealthy have cornered most of the wealth there is no money to pay for our ethics and “do-goodery”; even in a strong export led economy like South Korea.

The Hitlerite solution would be to kill them but there is a better way than just warehousing them on the dole as we do in the UK or depressing them with menial work as the Koreans must be doing.

The dark side for Korea is the pressure on schoolchildren of what used to be a 17 hour school-day which has been reduced to 12 and the fact that no-one on the planet works as hard as a Korean and by a very long margin. They like us will need to create vocational education and business boot-camps for less academically inclined youngsters to get their young people into business and they will need to improve language skills so that young Koreans can “swarm out” just as the Chinese are encouraging their people to do.

The Korean education system at state level is 2nd in the World whereas the UK’s is 44th, so whereas the UK has a mountain to climb and zero growth, stagnation and practically no exports the Koreans with a few changes at least have a fighting chance.

The UK has its dark side with the two stooges, Cameron and Osborne, presiding over a sullen electorate which by and large disbelieves them, mounting poverty, food bank expansion, the rise of a feral underclass, growing inequality between those at the top wetting their beaks and those on average wages and a Europe which is still going nowhere.

Whilst I would not change places with a Korean I think they are better placed to solve their problems than we are.

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