Emergence of New Caste in Korea "How come you are not in a venture firm? You must be an incom-petent!” Anyone who works for non IT (Information & Technology) based companies would be humiliated to hear these kinds of words, because nowadays there is a big flow of so-called elites, moving toward venture corporations as the government has announced to support these companies since the start of the new millennium. It is almost like a trend among young salary men. They think the ones who get employed by IT related companies are competent and will make a lot of money. Ironically, what they believe is true for now. Overheated invest-ment in the KOSDAQ market is providing more than what venture companies need, thus enabling employees, owners and investors to earn incredible amount of dough. Not only have they become rich, but also have much influence on Korean economic market.
Are they lucky ones? When Korea accepted the IMF bailout program in the end of 1997, more than a hundred small-to-medium size companies faced bankruptcy everyday because of shortage of money. There were more than thousands of reasons for this economic crisis; corrupted financial market, bribed politicians, immoral chaebols’ way of making profit, etc. But one thing very clear is that our economic structure had severe problems and those venture firms started to appear in process of restructuring economy. Even though the most of the firms are as it says, ‘venturous’, a few of them become as successful as world-class corporations like Hyundai and Samsung. The essential points of the venturous business are high technology, guts to take risk and creativeness. It’s not a luck or phenomenon that the venture workers could reach the top class of our society. It’s their fate.
In these days, products made in Korea are not competitive in terms of the quantity production found in China and South East Asia and quality production found in Western developed countries. There is no more time to regress for Korea by focusing on a manufacture based economy. We need to produce more value-added products that will enable us to get over IMF bailout and jump into the status of a developed country.
The 20:80 Society (20=wealthy elite, 80= innocent poor) However, the growth of elite group also amplifies the social problem of the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer, especially in the era of IMF. This is not a controversial matter that has developed recently, instead it has always been a problem since the beginning of the civilization. The only difference is the means that creates the wealthy group. Usually, the experts in computer related science play the role of the rich, when computers become essential in the 21st century and everyone is connected to the internet. But it does not mean the computer literates are to succeed at this time. Rather it means your creativity will be the factor that describes whether you can succeed or not.
The only way out This society of inequality should be considered a serious problem which could bring about isolation of the 80% as a second class of the community. However, having an elite group in the nation is unavoidable and rather it’s something recommendable. One thing that we can learn from the computer based society is that if we have knowledge, will, and own idea (creativity) about anything, it’s easier to achieve own’s goal. It’s not the computer and e-business that’s making people rich, but how they use it and how the individual strategy creative is are decisive. As a process of education, we have to emphasize on creativity, knowledge, and action; the three components to improve one’s way of thinking, which can change the world.
Public education of 12 years makes dummies Korean high school students were ranked very high in a recent survey of education evaluation. Especially, in mathematics they scored much higher than any other student from other countries. But in the same research on the college students, Koreans were found in the bottom of the list. Did the college students play around while others’ were studying? No, the problem was on the education system; the goal is to send more students to colleges. They are truthfully more knowledgeable than foreign students, but most of their learning is gained through memorization, not understanding. So if college students get to go any further than what they have memorized, they face difficulties caused by not knowing how to understand.
If anyone goes against what’s been taught and assigned, he/she will be left out from the rest classmates. Even though it’s not wrong to be different from others, Korean society won’t let anyone to be like that. It could be learned readily if you take a look at fashion trend of Korean youngsters; everybody wears the same and act in the same way. There have been some changes after the movement of the national globalization. Access to the world became widened through the popularization of internet PC. So far, most of us are imitating buddies abroad, for there has been no proper education that can lead students to think creatively and act out for what they pursue. We need to take some time to think about knowledge, action, and creativity. It’s the time to change our education system.
“Knowledge is being applied to knowledge itself. It is now fast becoming the factor in production, sidelining both capital and labour.” -Peter Drucker-
“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing is constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.” -Charles Dickens-
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!” -Joel Arthur Barker-