Abenomics Is Not More Dangerous Than North Korea
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Abenomics Is Not More Dangerous Than North Korea

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Gaffes by officials of the Park Geun-Hye administration are emerging as a major issue in South Korean politics. Many of them have been personal, such as the sexual harassment claim lodged against a presidential aid during a trip to the United States. The opposition enjoys touting each instance as a marker that Park is unprepared to be president. But the most politically revelatory misstep for non-Koreans has received little attention so far: Finance Minister Hyun Oh Seok recently commented that Abenomics’ impact on South Korean export competitiveness is a greater danger to the South than the North Korean missile program. This deeply disturbing commentary, from such a high official, deserves to be unpacked for a non-Korean audience for the multiple Korean political dysfunctions it manages to illustrate in just a few sentences. Four points leap out:

First, there is the staggering blitheness toward the North and the threat it represents to the South, the region, and perhaps even North America, not to mention the real victims of its Orwellianism – the North Koreans themselves. Nor is it admitted that the expensive, investor-deterring stand-off with Pyongyang obviously does far more medium- and long-term damage to South Korea’s economy than the ups-and-downs of the foreign exchange market. That North Korea and its rapidly accelerating missile program, which generated a major global crisis just this spring, would be ranked a danger below reduced exports is shocking myopia. Such servility before politically influential exporters is an insult to the South Korean military, the North Koreans suffering such terrible hardship, and to the many foreign states, most obviously the United States, who have pledged to help Seoul against the North. Elsewhere I have argued that South Korea takes the U.S. security guarantee too much for granted, and this is a fine example. It is impossible to imagine a South Korean minister saying something this narrow were Seoul handling North Korean alone. National security shortsightedness that places Samsung’s TV sales over the North’s missile threat is both laughable and terrifying.

Second, there is the unseemly, miserly Japanobia that makes it all but impossible for Korea to work with Japan, despite both shared geopolitical logics and liberal democratic values. Korea’s post-colonial resentment of Japan is well-known and understandable. Japan’s treatment of Korea was harsh and included an effort, not well-known in the West, to eliminate the language and culture as distinct identities. And Japan’s refusal to come clean on the war and its imperial brutality is immoral and infantile. That said, Japanobia is a genuinely irrational and self-defeating paranoia in Korea that is shamelessly manipulated by the government. (I have written extensively about this, for both communities, here.)

Contrary to the minister’s assertion, it is well-known that Abenomics is not, in fact, a beggar-thy-neighbor gimmick, but a desperate, last-ditch, try-anything attempt to revive a systemically important economy stuck in stagnation for a quarter century. This is why just about everyone outside of Asia supports it – the IMF, the U.S., the Economist, the Financial Times, even the Germans. Yes, there is the lurking possibility of competitive devaluation in Abenomics, but the situation in Japan is so dire, that everyone is also willing to give Japan great irregular leeway to try to find any way to get back to growth.

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54

[...] readers know that I write now-and-again for the Diplomat web-magazine. This post is a re-print of my June column. Abenomics is still dominating Korean business news, and I continue to be amazed at how few people [...]

[...] was originally published in the Diplomat, so the style is [...]

Yoshimichi Moriyama
June 10, 2013 at 22:57

I misquoted and said, "no ex-colonists have done so well as (South) Korea and Taiwan…"  I wanted to have said, "no ex-colonies…"

I do not understand why Prof. Kelly said Japan made "an effort to eliminate the Korean language and culture…"  When fomal compulsory education was successfully introduced by Japan, most education if not all was done in Korean as far as I know.  Japan established Seoul Imperial University, which became a prestigious university in Japan and Korea.

Yoshimichi Moriyama
June 9, 2013 at 23:37

"Japan's treatment of Korea was harsh and included an effort, not well-known in the West, to eliminate the language and culture as distinctive identities."  According to Prof. David S. Landes's The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, "the best colonial master of all time has been Japan, for no ex-colonists have done so well as (South) Korea and Taiwan…the postcolonial success also testifies to the colonial legacy: the economic rationality of the Japanese administration, which undertook in the colonies 'the superbly successful modernization effort which Japan itself had undertaken…The world belongs to those with a clear conscience, something Japan has had in near-unanimous abundance.'"  "There, as in Taiwan, she embarked upon an ambitious program of economic development and exploitation, which brought railways, school systems, factories, and other outward aspects of the modern world to these lands. (Edwin O. Reischauer, Japan: The Story of a Naion)"  It is known that Japan spent more money on Korea that it drew; the Korean populatin, which was nine million and eight hundred thousand in 1906, had reached twenty-five million and one hundred thousand. The annual economic growth rate on the average was more than 3% during Japan's rule.

A well-known Japanese progressive, Shuichi Kato, said France's Algerian rule,for an instance,  was harsher.   The Japanese abolished the Korean traditional tortures as corporal punishment, but as I read this story by a Japanese I do not know if it was true.

As for Japan's refusal to come out clean on the war, etc., I do not know how many times we have to express apologies.  "

Korea is a more Chinese-like society than China is.  "Since Korea was a relatively small country, and thus a more manageable and homogeneous unit than the sprawling Chinese Empire, it may have become more uniformly and fully permeated by Confucian ideas that China was itself…the Korean also developed a very literal but sincere devotion to Confucian principles and an almost fanatical adherence to Confusian rituals…Another result of this emphasis on Confucian scholarship may have been a narrowing of the range of intellectual interests and a growing dogmatism of thought (J.K.Fairbank, E.O.Reischaur and A.M.Craig, East Asia: Tradition and Transformation)."  The Korean-Japanese relations would be essentially the same as they are had it not been for the Korean annexation by Japan.  The Korean Japanophobia comes from the Korean "nationalized" philosophy of Chu Hsi (Zhu Zi).

I posted comments in this connection to http://www.project-syndicate.org/Ian Burama/East Asia's Nationalist Fantasy Ilands and Gareth Evans/Japan and the Politics of Guilt and Han Seung-soo/Heeding History in East Asia.  Please read if interested.

 

James the Australian
June 9, 2013 at 21:57

Liang1 put it US-China-SK-Japan interdynamic very nicely.
My feeling is, SK trust China and dis’ trust Japan.
If you ask the south Korean, who their prefer as their friend, the vast majority will choose China and that why President Park prefer to visit Beijing and not Tokyo.
Germany has come clean by admitting and accepting full responsibility for the Holocaust massacarse of the Jews. Japan has done the opposite and continuing its state of denial and even revising its history book, deleting any mention of its war time massacares.In their heart, Japan refuse to atone for their WWII crimes and seriously, Abe and his cohorts reckon their nation did no wrong and all these WWII war crimes are all made up and a figment of your imagination!
You can say, these peoples are a danger to the world and their plan is to make the US fights China by invoking the US-Japan treaty and they would hope to come on top.
China stands in their way and they would hope to use their former master do the dirty job on their behalf.

Oro Invictus
June 9, 2013 at 00:17

@Liang1a

Right, right, the PRC does have its own computer chips and they have produced an almost entirely indigenous (albeit, relatively slow) supercomputer. I never contested this nor will I launch into a discussion on the future prospects for PRC technology; I've already made my position quite clear on this (suffice to say, I suspect the PRC will come very close to [North] American, Japanese, European, etc. level technologies in some or many fields, but I doubt they will ever truly be en par in any significant manner [i.e. the PRC has a serviceable adaptive innovation sector but an extraordinarily poor pure innovative one]). No need to get into these things further as we both know how such "dialogue" is likely to proceed, I'm sure everyone here appreciates that.

All I was pointing out was that this statement you made (emphasis mine): 

"China is only now developing its own processor chips that are comparable to the best American chips with 16 cores – Galaxy FT-1500 CPUs–16-core processors developed by the NUDT (National University of Defense Technology). With these indigenous processor chips, China has developed a supercomputer, the Tianhe-2"

Which, as you actually inadvertently expounded on in your post, is a categorically untrue statement. You see, claiming credit for another's work is not simply morally wrong, but it also does a disservice to all parties involved; such statements impugn on those who actually deserve credit as it was their efforts which produced it and it impugns on those you incorrectly assign credit to because it suggests (even if the incorrect attribution was made unintentionally) a lack of confidence in their abilities and, by virtue of such an incorrect statement, makes further attributions to said party suspect (even if they did actually achieve what they are receiving credit for). 

That’s all.

Liang1a
June 8, 2013 at 17:36

Oro Invictus wrote:

June 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

@Liang1a

Actually, the Tianhe-2 utilizes American-made chips from Intel; only some of the circuitry components for the computer were indigenously designed.

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2013/06/chinese-supercomputer-poised-to-take-no-1-ranking/

—————————

The Tianhe-2 uses Intel Xeon Phi processors.  The 5110P processors have the following characteristsics:[1]

1.01 teraflops

320 GB/sec memory bandwidth at 225 W

22 nm process size

ShenWei SW-3, third generation, 2010 – Chinese indigenous processor chips: 

140.8 GFLOPS

68 GB/s memory bandwith

65 nm process

Chinese computer engineers have developed the Sunway BlueLight MPP System [2] based on the Chinese indigenous processor chips (Shenwei SW-3) made by the Jiangnan Computing Lab.  Comparing SW-3 against Intel's Xeon Phi 5110-P, it is obvious that the Xeon Phi 5110-P is better.  But it is also obvious that Chinese chips are catching up fast considering that 10 years ago there were no Chinese indigneous chips at all.  With more top grade scientists and engineers joining the R&D projects all across the entire technological sectors, it will not be surprising if the Chinese technologies in computer chips will catch up and overtake America within the next 10 years.  Incidentally, the Sunway Bluelight is among the top 20 fastest computers in the world today.  Therefore, it can be expected that within a few years, the fastest Chinese supercomputer and the fastest supercomputer in the world will be made with Chinese indigenous processor chips exclusively. 

[1] Xeon Phi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_MIC

[2] ShenWei SW-3 processor chip (Chinese indigenous CPU chips):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ShenWei#ShenWei_SW1600_microprocessor

Liang1a
June 8, 2013 at 08:42

Dewey Last [formerly But....] wrote:

June 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

@Liang1a

There are those that stand on a soapbox and those that put wheels on the soapbox. The former has listeners who surround him to listen what he has to say; whereas the racer disappears around the curve. I am here to listen to the man on top of the soapbox. I want to hear what he says and be convinced of his argument. The racer is gone and forgotten as "out of sight, out of mind" comes into play. There are many on this forum who are have a patriotic bias of their arguments, however they can see the other side and give a good argument and add well-researched documentation to back up what they profess. I listen and learn from them. If my respect has any value, I hope they are pleased when I tell them so.

Liang1a, you are like the racer. Stop the soap box race car and stand on top of it. Convince me of your argument and you will have my respect. The bias against the Japanese just dilutes what you have to say. Look in your rear view mirror. You will see me wave good-bye.

————————

Dewey, I will take it that you meant well.  For that I thank you.  But to use another analogy, suppose as you walked down a street, I drove by you shouting to you that a man eating tiger is just a block away.  But as I look back in my rear view mirror, I see you waving good-bye.  I think I need not explain what will happen to you next.  A wise man looks at the content and not the packaging.  It benefits you to understand the truth of what I say.  Or you ignore the truth of what I say at your own peril.

RisingSun
June 8, 2013 at 06:10

1 Mongolian Invasion

According to Yuansi, the official chronicle of Yuan, it is the Goryeo King who was seating at the Zhendong Xingsheng, the administrative division in the present day kaesong, and mastermided the Mongolian emperor how to attack Japan. With 150,000 soldiers reached the shore of Japan, 40,000 of them were Koreans, acting as the guides and the forerunner of the invasion. So yeah, King and civilians might be forced to attack Japan but you could refuse and die before killing innocent islanders of Tsushima.  No excuse but same as Austrians who were working with Nazi or, Korean who went to China and SE Asia along side of the Japanese Imperial Army. You took a part of the invasion.

 

2 Massacres and Rape of Vietnamese by Koreans

So you feel apologetic about what you have done in Vietnam 40 years ago. And what’s going on now? Koreans actively bring brides from Vietnam and put them in the house arrest situation only beaten by power hungry Korean husbands. While 1 in 8 infants are now half-Vietnam Koreans, the society still won’t allow them to be the vital part of the member and the little kid who appeared in Psy’s Music video became real paranoid about Koreans saying nasty things to him. You just don’t learn. http://bit.ly/11Kv7fW

 

If you still up to it, I can debate with you about what exactly Abe or Hashimoto said and meant. But tell me, how is the current day Vietnamese wives in Korea so different from Ianhu? Why are there 100,000 Korean ladies shipped to Japan, USA and Australia today to serve in the sex industries?  Feminism is rare in Korea now and then.

 

3 Japan invading Korea

Only 5% of Korean could read at the late 19 century. There were epidemics every two to three years because the infrastructure and the swage didn’t exist in the peninsula. There was no sense of “Korea as one ethnic group” until Japanese socialists taught Koreans by the rise of Soviet Union and Wilson’s Speech. In short, it really didn’t matter for most of Korean slaves who their owner or governors would be, as long as their lives could get better. This is nothing to do with arrogance, but as you can read from Isabella Bird’s book, living in Korea was just so miserable and that’s how USA and European countries approved the annexation of Korea. Japan didn’t go into Korea by force, hence there was no war or invasion from 1910 to 1945 between Koreans and Japanese.

 

Korea really needs to grow up by getting out of Japanophibia, Inferior complex, and narrow minded views of history. Korea had finally achieved the independence very first time in their history in 1948, and Japan cannot take care of those who are misfortunate. As I mentioned, Japan has paid the compensation and various form of “apologetic and sincere” financial aids starting from Seoul’s metro and Posco’s factories. It’s up to your government to take care of your own people.

Choose Goose
June 7, 2013 at 16:34

I don’t get it. What else you want from Japan? I don't think China and Korea had ever been “apologetic” about guiding Mongolian Invasion to Japan. Has China ever apologized to Tibet and free all the monks? What did Korea do with Lai Dai Han during the Vietnam war? Time and time again, the modern Japan is pledged to be the world’s most peaceful nation and doesn’t even own nuclear weapons, nor has invaded any territories outside of Japan since. That should be enough and we should move on for the better future.

 

Please explain about the paranoid part of Japan being defenseless against Russia (not China. China was already under the European occupation). You seem to know the history I’m not aware of 

1. Koreans fought against the Mongols until they were everntually overrun. After which they were under the influence of the Mongol rules, hence the invasion of Japan was not able to be stopped by the Koreans. 

2. I really think your comparing apples to oranges in this regard. The crimes that the Korean military put on the Vietnamese people are horrendous and the President of Korea has apologized for that. But the point of distinction is that while Japan has "apologized" for its past misdeeds, comments made by Abe and Hashimoto brings to  question whether they truly support the apology made by Murayama or feel the need to take it back. 

3. Like you said the Mongolians invaded Japan. Japan has always been wary of Korea as a point of attack for other nations. Taking over Korea was only a means to secure their own power and nation. 

Bankotsu
June 7, 2013 at 16:23

"NATO's goal in Europe was to keep Germany down and Russia out."

NATO's main goal is to contain Germany and prevent Germany from becoming an independent political and military power in europe. This is why NATO still exists after the cold war.  Everyone knows this. This is another one of the basics of U.S. foreign policy.

SPIEGEL: After World War II, the Allies created institutions designed to contain Germany and to keep it small. Are those institutions no longer working?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/cambridge-scholar-examines-roots-of-anti-german-sentiment-in-europe-a-893439-2.html

Since its founding, NATO had served other functions as well. After World War II, policy makers in Washington and in major European capitals had sought to curb and control German power by wedding the West German state to multilateral institutions. Hence, NATO (and to some extent the EC) was designed not only as an instrument with which to keep the Soviet Union out of Western Europe but also as a means to constrain Germany from returning to the expansionist behavior that had characterized its foreign policy in the first half of the century.

Thus, NATO's purpose was often said to reflect a strategy of double containment: to contain the Soviet Union as well as Germany. In addition, NATO was also to perform the broader function of muting the traditional regional rivalries that had previously undermined Europe's peace and stability…

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+de0149)

Beyond American Hegemony

http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2007/beyond_american_hegemony_5381

Dewey Last [formerly But....]
June 7, 2013 at 13:37

@Liang1a

There are those that stand on a soapbox and those that put wheels on the soapbox. The former has listeners who surround him to listen what he has to say; whereas the racer disappears around the curve. I am here to listen to the man on top of the soapbox. I want to hear what he says and be convinced of his argument. The racer is gone and forgotten as "out of sight, out of mind" comes into play. There are many on this forum who are have a patriotic bias of their arguments, however they can see the other side and give a good argument and add well-researched documentation to back up what they profess. I listen and learn from them. If my respect has any value, I hope they are pleased when I tell them so.

Liang1a, you are like the racer. Stop the soap box race car and stand on top of it. Convince me of your argument and you will have my respect. The bias against the Japanese just dilutes what you have to say. Look in your rear view mirror. You will see me wave good-bye.

Oro Invictus
June 7, 2013 at 10:35

@Liang1a

Actually, the Tianhe-2 utilizes American-made chips from Intel; only some of the circuitry components for the computer were indigenously designed.

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2013/06/chinese-supercomputer-poised-to-take-no-1-ranking/

Dewey Last [formerly But....]
June 7, 2013 at 08:32

@ Kim's Uncle

Exactly and well-stated. I know you have an understanding of economics. As every country has subsidies it pays to look deeper to fully understand what is going on. Japan has a corporate tax of 38% while South Korea has a reverse sliding scale topping at 22%. There are always taxes which are refunded on exports. Is this a subsidy? If the Japanese gives more tax back than South Korea, is Japan guilty of subsidizing? What is in the news about subsidies and unfair competition is just plain ridiculous. Without a full accounting, subsidies and the true competitive advantages cannot be determined.

And where do subsidies come from? Subsides do not magically come funded. They are paid by better run companies. Subsidies are a tax on the most profitable sectors of the economy to prop up the weaker. The companies competing against unfair subsidies do get hurt, however there are other companies that get a boost as true competitive advantages can be lost because their competitors are taxed higher. There are plenty of arguments in favor of subsidies, however they are all bunk. Robin Hood does live – in modern times they are called politicians.

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