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The Next Global Superpower is… Korea?

Haeundae Marine city, Busan, Korea

Korea?! Are you scoffing? Readers, when you spied my headline did you think, “Mr. Hyena’s insane! Korea’s not a superpower; it’s a dwarf peninsula shuddering in China and Japan’s shadow! Korea’s a bisected baby-tiger south / starving-hermit north mess! Korea? Superpower?! Absurd!” Hear me out, netizens. I’ve categorized abundant facts explaining why a unified Korea (or even a solitary south) will emerge as world leader. It’s already preeminent in crucial categories. South Korea is not the destitute orphan pickled vegetable of the 1960’s or the laughable Hyundai of the mid-1980’s. SK is wired, willing, savvy, sexy and it works harder than any other hominid nation. Reunited with its surly sibling, it’ll be the Seoul center of the planet.

The reasons (explained in detail at the link):

Direct E-Democracy

Hardworking Economy

Robot Future

Military Might

Massive Mineral Wealth

Education & IQ Edge

Green Goals

Cyber Warriors

Seductive K-Culture

Read More – h+: The Next Global Superpower is… Korea?

(Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hero8989/3952513186/ / CC)

(via Wade)

South Korea considering virtual currency real

lineage shop

The Supreme Court acquitted two defendants in a case related to the legality of using cash to buy and sell cyber money for online games.

The court conditioned its ruling on the fact that the cyber money was earned through skill, not luck.

Supreme Court Justice Min Il-young ruled in favor of the suspects surnamed Kim and Lee.

The two allegedly purchased “Aden,” cyber money in an online multiplayer role-playing game “Lineage,” worth 234 million won ($207,558), which was lower than market price, through game item-trading Web sites.

JoongAng Daily: Supreme Court acquits two in cyber money game case

(via Theoretick)

South Koreans experience what it’s like to die — and live again

coffin academy

Across South Korea, entrepreneurs are holding controversial forums aimed at teaching clients how to better appreciate life by simulating death. They use mortality as a personal motivator.

Reporting from Daejeon, South Korea – For Jung Joon, the moment of truth arrives for his clients as they slip into the casket and he pounds the lid in place with a wooden hammer.

Insights arise, he says, as they are confronted with total, claustrophobic darkness, left alone to weigh their regrets and ponder eternity.

Jung, a slight 39-year-old with an undertaker’s blue suit and a preacher’s demeanor, is a resolute counselor on the ever-after who welcomes clients with the invitation, “OK, today let’s get close to death.”

Jung runs a seminar called the Coffin Academy, where, for $25 each, South Koreans can get a glimpse into the abyss. Over four hours, groups of a dozen or more tearfully write their letters of goodbye and tombstone epitaphs. Finally, they attend their own funerals and try the coffin on for size. […]

Many firms here see the sessions as an inventive way to stimulate productivity. The Kyobo insurance company, for example, has required all 4,000 of its employees to attend fake funerals like those offered by Jung.

LA Times: South Koreans experience what it’s like to die — and live again

(via Dangerous Minds)

The rise and fall of South Korea’s most popular economic pundit


Until the day he was outed, the most influential commentator on South Korea’s economy lived the life of a nobody. Park Dae-Sung owned a small apartment in a middle-class neighborhood of Seoul and freelanced part-time at a telecom company. Thirty years old, he still hoped to earn a four-year degree in economics. In the mornings, he would bicycle to the public library to study for the university entrance exam. His standard uniform was slacks, loafers, and wrinkle-free button-down shirts, as though he were going to work in an office. But with his slightly chubby moon face, glasses, and neatly parted hair, he easily blended in among the rows of students. While they worked through school assignments, he immersed himself in the text of his chosen profession.

In the evenings, Park would go online, frittering away the hours like millions of other geeks. He often played the simulation game Capitalism II, where he’d assume the role of a blue-chip investor, closing million-dollar deals and speculating on skyscrapers. Nothing that he did earned him any attention.

Then, in March 2008, Park opened an account on South Korea’s popular Daum Agora forum. Here, he decided, he would call himself Minerva, after the Roman goddess of wisdom, and write exclusively on economics, drawing on both public reports and his years in the stacks poring over Adam Smith and Joseph Stiglitz. Affecting the effortless command of a seasoned investor, he strove to project the authority that had eluded him in real life. The world economy is in the midst of collapse, he warned, so pay your debts and stock up on noodles and drinkable water. He made pronouncements on when to buy or sell a home, exchange Korean won for dollars, and pull out of the financial markets altogether.

Wired: The Troubles of Korea’s Influential Economic Pundit

See also:

Christian Science Monitor: Financial blogger’s arrest tests Korea’s progress on human rights

Korea Times: Foreigners Puzzled Over Minerva’s Arrest

zero hedge
Also of interest:

New York Magazine’s article on Zero Hedge and Matt Taibbi’s response.

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