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South Korea

President Trump shakes hands with Kim Jong-un, June 12th 2018

The Angler and the Octopus

Kim Jong-un's Ongoing Peace Offensive

Ever since the United States divided the Korean peninsula in 1945, North Korea has had to cope with the existential challenge of U.S. hostility. Korea marks the western boundary of the empire, a border area where the sea power of the United States adjoins the land power of Russia and China. North Korea has been able to utilize this liminality to create a sovereign stateÑthe Democratic People’s Republic of KoreaÑwhose independence is not welcomed by either Moscow or Beijing but tolerated because the alternatives, a client of the other or absorption into the U.S. empire, are considered worse. Washington, as global hegemon, has been less willing to tolerate this independence but has faced constraints. The result has been a policy of hostility, of unrelenting diplomatic and economic war of varying intensity, stopping short of actual kinetic war, though never far from it. | more…

The Samsung Digital City complex, in the South Korean city of Suwon

Crisis Management in South Korea and the Hegemonic Strategy of the Chaebols

In the Republic of Korea, chaebols—diversified and large-scale conglomerate forms of capital governed dynastically by an owner and the owner’s family—have grown quickly, dominating the Korean market and substantially contributing to the Korean economy since their structuring in the 1970s. Some chaebol affiliates have grown into global economic powers within a mere thirty to forty years. However, the fast growth of the chaebols in Korea has also been associated with crises and in trying to manage these crises chaebols have not only changed the ways in which they accumulate capital, they have sought to establish hegemony over civil society. | more…

The Struggle for Food Sovereignty in South Korea

On October 10, 2012, the Korean Women’s Peasant Association (KWPA) was awarded the Food Sovereignty Prize at a ceremony held in New York City. This prize is an alternative to the World Food Prize founded by the late Norman Borlaug, “the father of the Green Revolution.” While the World Food Prize emphasizes increased production through technology, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions solutions coming from those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system.… In order to understand how the KWPA won this prestigious award—even though South Korea’s agriculture contributes only around 2 percent of the nation’s total GDP, while the nation’s market economy is ranked fourteenth among 188 countries—the changes in South Korea’s agriculture under the modern agri-food system need to be examined. | more…