First, let's remember what CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA have in store for WE THE PEOPLE next decade or so---that economic crisis and long-term depression/recession designed to take what is left of American quality of life down towards that THIRD WORLD WAGE AND SOCIETAL STRUCTURE.
We can look at any main street media outlet and NOW have discussions of an economic crash---a great depression when NONE OF THIS was mentioned these several years. Our organization was shouting back in 2010 these were the goals because Congress, Obama, the FED all created economic policy they KNEW WOULD BRING THAT GREAT DEPRESSION.
When we see national or local media headlines overwhelmingly showing black urban citizens in a struggle----we know white rural citizens have had these same struggles. We know our baby boomer middle-class will lose all their wealth in this coming economic crash and our young adults will not have that income ladder to climb because these several years of Obama and Clinton neo-liberals dismantled all of NEW DEAL AND WAR ON POVERTY as well as discarding our US Constitution and centuries of Federal laws and court rulings.
PLEASE DO NOT THINK THIS COMING STAGED ECONOMIC CRASH WILL LEAVE A 20% OF UPPER-MIDDLE CLASS WINNERS----IT WILL NOT EVEN PROTECT THOSE 5% TO THE 1% WALL STREET PLAYERS.
This economic crash will be different from that of last century in that global Wall Street has tied so much US Treasury and state municipal bond debt to this crash it will take US to WORLD BANK RECEIVERSHIP. I see global Wall Street players touting stock market gains---while their community banks and credit unions are staged to head to bankruptcy.
COME TOGETHER AS A 99% VS 1%---DON'T FALL FOR FACTIONING---
Could the Great Depression Happen Again?Is the Second Great Depression Coming?
During the Great Depression, people lost their homes and lived in tents. Could that happen in the U.S. again? (Photo: Dorothea Lange / National Archives).
By Kimberly Amadeo
Updated May 01, 2017
If the United States had an economic downturn on the scale of the Great Depression of 1929, your life would change dramatically. One out of every four people you know would lose their job. That's because the unemployment rate would quintuple from its current rate of 5 percent to 25 percent.
Economic output would plummet 25 percent. That means Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would fall from its current $18 trillion level to $13.5 trillion.
Instead of inflation at about 2 percent, deflation would cause prices to drop 10 percent. International trade would shrink 65 percent. That's how bad the Great Depression was.
Could it happen again? In a 2011 CNN poll, nearly 50 percent of Americans believed it could. They thought it would happen within a year. Fortunately, they were wrong.
But many people are still worried about a depression reoccurring. Others are convinced we are already in a depression. They just can't see where the drive for growth will come from. What makes these Americans so worried?
First, stock prices fell in early 2016. Investors lost trillions, and some countries went into recession. That followed losses in 2015, where nearly 70 percent of all U.S. investors lost money. According to some, it was the worst year for stocks since 2008. Nearly 1,000 hedge funds shut down and junk bonds were crashing. (Source: "Will 2016 Bring the Next Great Depression?
" Charisma News, January 1, 2016.)
Second, volatility spooks investors when the Dow swings 400 points up or down a day. Stock market losses suffered during the 2008 stock market crash were devastating. The Dow dropped 53 percent from its high of 14,043 in October 2007 to 6,594.44 on March 5, 2009. It dropped 800 points during intra-day trading on October 6, 2008, its largest one-day drop ever.
Investors who lost money are understandably still spooked by that experience. For more, see Dow Closing History.
Oil prices have also been volatile. They rose to $50 a barrel after plummeting to a 13-year low of $26.55/barrel in January 2016. That was just 18 months after a high of $100.26/barrel in June 2014. Oil prices were pushed down by an increase in supply from U.S. shale oil producers and the strength of the U.S. dollar. Volatility makes people want to save, in case prices skyrocket again. Fore more, see Oil Price Forecast.
Third, the 2008 financial crisis weakened the economy's structure. That means it faces future global stresses without its normal resilience.
- The housing collapse was worse in the recession than the Great Depression. Prices fell 31.8 percent from their peak of $229,000 in June 2007 to $156,100 in February 2011. They fell 24 percent during the depression. In the early stages of the recovery, foreclosures made up 30 percent of all home sales. Many homeowners were upside down in their mortgages. They couldn't sell their homes or refinance to take advantage of record-low interest rates. The housing collapse was caused by mortgage financing reliant upon mortgage-backed securities. After 2008, banks literally stopped purchasing them on the secondary market. As a result, 90% of all mortgages were guaranteed Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The government took ownership, but banks still aren't lending without Fannie or Freddie guarantees. In effect, the Federal government is still supporting the U.S. housing market. See A Primer on the Subprime Mortgage Crisis.
- Unemployment rates are near the 4 percent natural rate of unemployment. But, 5.6 million are working part-time because they can't find a full-time job. Almost 25 percent of the unemployed have been looking for six months or more. Then there's the 426,000 discouraged workers who have given up looking for work, and are no longer counted in the unemployed numbers. That has drive the labor force participation rate down to 62.7 percent. That means not everyone has returned to the job market.
- Business credit froze up. Demand for any type of asset-backed commercial paper disappeared. The panic over the value of these commercialized debt obligations led to the financial sector's crisis, causing the intervention of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. The governments of the world stepped in to provide all the liquidity for frozen credit markets. The U.S. debt was downgraded, and Europe isn't much better. Worse, all that addition to the money supply didn't find its way into the regular economy. Banks sat on cash, unwilling to lend. They paid back the $700 billion bailout. That's about it.That situation is only now improving.
Fifth, the federal government is unlikely to come to the rescue with stimulus spending as it did in 2009. The $19 trillion debt means that tea party Republicans in Congress have been looking to cut spending instead.
- Stock market crashes can cause depressions by wiping out investor's life savings. If people have borrowed money to invest, then they will be forced to sell all they have to pay back the loans. Derivatives make any crash even worse through this leveraging. Crashes also make it difficult for companies to raise the needed funds to grow. Finally, a stock market crash can destroy the confidence required to get the economy going again.
- Lower housing prices and resultant foreclosures totaled at least $1 trillion in losses to banks, hedge funds and other owners of subprime mortgages on the secondary market. Banks continue to hoard cash even though housing prices have increased. They are still digesting the losses from one million foreclosures.
- Business credit is needed for businesses so they can continue to run on a daily basis. Without credit, small businesses can't grow, stifling the 65 percent of all new jobs that they provide.
- Bank near-failures frightened depositors into taking out their cash. Although the FDIC insures these deposits, some became concerned that this agency would also run out of money. Commercial banks depend on consumer deposits to fund their day-to-day business, as well as make loans.
- High oil prices could return once U.S. shale producers are forced out of business. Millions of jobs were lost when oil prices plummeted. At the same time, many consumers bought new cars and SUVs when gas prices were low. They will be pinched when prices rise again.
- Deflation is an even bigger threat. One reason the Fed doesn't want to raise rates is because inflation has yet to reach its goal of 2 percent annual price increase. Low oil and gas prices have had a deflationary impact. So has a 25 percent increase in the U.S. dollar. That depresses import prices. These deflationary pressures seem like a boon to consumers. But they make it difficult for businesses to raise wages. The result could be a downward spiral. That's similar to what happened in the Great Depression.
- Stock price declines haven't exceeded 11 percent in one day, or 30 percent in a year. The kick-off to the Depression was the Stock Market Crash of 1929. By the stock market's close on Black Tuesday, the Dow had fallen 25 percent in just four days.
- Housing prices and foreclosures have recovered. Rental rates are relatively high, which has brought investors back to the housing market. Now that confidence has been restored, housing prices will continue to rise. The foreclosure pipeline, which once seemed endless, has disappeared.
- Business credit has been affected the most. The world's central banks have pumped in much of the liquidity needed. In effect, they have replaced the financial system itself.
- Monetary policy is expansionary, unlike the contractionary monetary policies that caused the Great Depression. During the recession in the summer of 1929, the Fed decreased the money supply by 30 percent. It raised the Fed funds rate to defend the value of the dollar. Without liquidity, banks collapsed, forcing people to remove all funds and stuff them under the mattress, causing economic collapse. The FDIC helps prevent bank runs by insuring deposits. The Fed has said it will keep the Fed Funds rate at nearly zero through 2012. That certainty calms markets and provides needed liquidity.
- Oil prices are rising. But even at $85 per barrel, they translate into gas prices that are still less than half of what Europeans pay, thanks to high gas taxes. OPEC would prefer to return the price of oil to its sweet spot of $70 per barrel once it has bankrupted U.S. shale producers. That will reduce oil price volatility. OPEC wants to keep its enemy Iran and others from exploring their oil reserves and developing alternative fuels.
- Economic output fell 4 percent from its high of $14.4 trillion in the 2nd quarter of 2008 to its low of $13.9 trillion a year later. It fell a whopping 25 percent in during the Depression. It has recovered to $18 trillion.
- There is a big difference between a recession and a depression. Even if another Great Recession does occur, it is unlikely to turn in a global depression.
The U.S. economy had been living on borrowed money for a long time. The financial crisis scared businesses and families. That's why growth in this recovery is slower than in prior ones. You are witnessing a gradual deleveraging. It will continue for some time. In the United States, Europe, and Japan, it's aggravated by demographics. These countries have aging populations. Seniors don't need to spend as much on housing, cars, and furniture as young people starting a family. But this deleveraging is unlikely to be enough to cause a worldwide depression. That's thanks to growth in China, India, and other emerging-market countries that have excess cash reserves and younger populations.
What's good for the economy may not necessarily be good for you -- and vice-versa. When the economy is uncertain, it's time to get defensive. The only way to do that is to increase your income and reduce your spending. That way, you'll have money to reduce your debt. After that, make sure you have a cushion, and then build up your savings. The best investment is still a diversified portfolio.
If possible, make sure you have a college degree. Education is the great divide in this society -- the unemployment rate for college grads is half the average. Although housing is historically cheap, as are interest rates, only buy a house you can easily afford. The smaller the house, the less furniture you'll have to buy to fill it. The economy will probably avoid another Great Depression, but either way, you'll be in a better position to weather it.
Here we have YOUNG TURKS----sold as a populist online media outlet GIVING US PROPAGANDA-----Sweden was one of the first European nations to be taken by GLOBAL BANKING NEO-LIBERALISM----it has not been social democratic these few decades and YOUNG TURKS KNOWS THIS.
Sweden's uptick in economy is the same uptick all developing nations had when Foreign Economic Zone global factories were installed. It does nothing for Swedish citizens who are being pushed out as global labor pool is brought in.
Our European social democracies have been under attack since this 2008 economic crash and many elections being rigged brought global neo-liberal candidates pretending to be left social democratic---as with UK and BLAIR and US Clinton taking those LABOUR and DEMOCRATIC Parties.
'Issue 169 June 2013
The reality of Swedish neo-liberalism
Sweden once had a reputation as some kind of ‘social-democratic model’ with far-reaching public services and social support. But that has been dismantled by two decades of attacks – what the Economist magazine calls a ‘silent revolution’. PER OLSSON, of Rättisvepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden), reports.
Sweden has weathered the crisis and the country is showing that slashing welfare, lowering taxes and imposing caps on government expenditure is working. That is the message from the capitalist press, think-tanks and right-wing governments around the world. The Swedish finance minister, Anders Borg, was even named Europe’s best finance minister by the Financial Times. But Sweden is no exception to the rule. Years of austerity and right-wing policies have seriously undermined the social fabric of society, while Swedish capitalism has become even more imbalanced and unstable.
The old Swedish model is no more. Instead, Sweden has become a model of neo-liberalism. It has had a more rapid liberalisation than any other advanced economy in the world, in terms of privatisation and deregulation. This was the conclusion of the American think-tank, The Heritage Foundation, last year'.
Here we see who is funding those global banking neo-liberals pretending to be left social progressives--
Sweden Got More Socialist, Economy Now BOOMING
The Young Turks
Published on May 14, 2017Downward redistribution of wealth supercharges economies. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below. http://www.tytnetwork.com/join
'The Sources of Neoliberal Globalization
The Sources of Neoliberal Globalization Jan Aart Scholte Overarching Concerns ... Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom for their core funding'.
If Sweden is becoming more socialist it is because global labor pool is bringing all income down to third world wages----they will be sending in BASIC INCOME soon----UK's fake Labour Party pol CORBYN is doing just that right now. Switzerland was the first Euro nation to bring on BASIC INCOME but voters voted it down---watch Sweden and they will call all this SOCIALISM.
When global media plays a TRUMP bullying North Korea it is all KABUKI THEATER as North Korea's Great Leader has been MOVING FORWARD---taking that GREAT LEAP FORWARD to global banking neo-liberalism as in China while keeping his citizens deeply impoverished.
What changed these few years is Great Leader being ready to open North Korea to more Foreign Economic Zones and global factories---creating that global 1% billionaire inside North Korea as it did South Korea. All this Trump bullying is simply saving face for Great Leader as he opens to WORLD BANKING.
Make no mistake----nothing COMMUNIST happening in North Korea----just a crazy far-right wing authoritarian sociopath keeping his 99% of citizens deeply impoverished.
Left socialism/communism has no hierarchy====has no extreme wealth---and real left socialism/communism cannot happen in an industrial society because industry creates that hierarchy and wealth inequity.
It will be interesting to see how South and North Korea may reunite as long as the right families get to remain those 1% billionaires.
North Korea’s Special Economic Zones: Plans vs. Progress
| || By Andray Abrahamian and Curtis Melvin
23 November 2015
Since Kim Jong Un assumed power, he has prioritized economic development in a way his father never did. Indeed, much of his domestic brand is now linked to economic growth and quality of life issues. He has tinkered with the modus operandi of both farms and state owned enterprises, and set forth a very visible economic experiment: the creation of a dozen Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in 2013, followed by a second group in 2014, and two more zones in 2015. Four of these could be considered national priorities—Rason, Unjong, Wonsan and Sinuiju (with the extant Hwanggumpyong/Wiwha Islands)—while the rest are fairly minor in scope, size and potential. These zones, with a variety of intended functions and ostensibly foreign-friendly regulations, signal a willingness of the Kim regime to explore economic policy options. However, their slow progress and development also clearly illustrate the challenges North Korea faces to get these projects off the ground given the current business and investment environment.
Despite making SEZ development a policy priority, difficulties in the political arena and a general lack of clear economic goals have meant that Unjong is still in the planning stages, Wonsan awaits international investors and Rason has seen little activity since 2013. Sinuiju/Hwanggumpyong has seen some development, though the unfinished Yalu Bridge is also a reminder of unfulfilled potential. This report takes a look at where these four major zones and a few of the smaller, newer zones stand to date.
North Korea’s Special Economic Zones covered in this report.
(Image: Google Earth)
Sinuiju International Economic Zone
Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang International Tourist Zone
Unjong High-Tech Development Zone
The Rason Economic and Trade Zone
Developments in the Smaller SEZs
- Hwanggumpyong and Wihwado Economic Zones
- Onsong Island Tourist Development Zone
Looking Forward: Unanswered Questions
Overall, although the Kim regime may be promoting special economic zones as a key piece of its economic development strategy, there is still a long way to go to make these zones successful. Certainly, the North’s strained political relations bring about serious financial and reputational challenges to attracting foreign investment; however, it is not the only impediment to success. Inconsistent and unreliable communication about plans for the zones and a lack of strategic planning for attracting either domestic or international investment reflect limitations of the North’s domestic economic policymaking capacity.
Despite these structural challenges, localized efforts are underway to try to make individual zones work. For instance, teams from Wonsan and Unjong have begun experimenting with outreach and marketing. They are also trying to create more comprehensive development plans and organizations. Around Sinuiju, there are at least two significant construction projects well underway, reflecting a desire for cross-border cooperation in that region. The unfinished new Yalu Bridge, however, stands as a reminder that the success of most of these zones depends heavily on the DPRK’s relations with its neighbors. In particular, Wonsan and Rason eagerly await better days. Until they arrive, Rason will continue to putter along; domestic capital and visitors may have only a small impact on the Wonsan area; and smaller projects, like the newly announced Kyongwon Economic Zone, will likely remain largely undeveloped for the foreseeable future.
Here is why Trump is making all that noise----we see here 2015 as with China's politburo billionaires North Korean leader is simply trying to keep his citizens unaware of GREAT LEAP FORWARD for his 1%.
'Some politicians and investors have speculated that reunification between the two nations could happen in the next decade. In 2014, famed commodity investor Jim Rogers predicted in an interview with Futures Magazine that the two nations would be unified by the end of the decade and said that a unified Korea, “will be the most exciting country in the world for a decade or two.”'
Global media did the same to hide Chinese hyper-global banking neo-liberalism these few decades with that 1% becoming extremely rich while still calling China COMMUNIST.
Kim Jong Un's economic plan targets foreign investmentIn one zone alone, North Korea plans to attract $240 million in capital.
By Elizabeth Shim | May 19, 2015 at 10:02 AM
A barbed wire fence guards the Freedom Bridge, connecting South Korea to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and North Korea as a train crosses it from Seoul in 2013. North Korea is seeking to attract foreign capital through special economic zones, a 6,000-page North Korean document revealed. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
| License Photo
An exclusive report putting perspective on the week's most important developments.
SEOUL, May 19 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is planning 24 special economic zones in North Korea to attract foreign capital to the isolated country.
The blueprint for North Korea's economic transformation is a 6,000-page document, of which 4,000 pages describe the South Korean economic model, reported South Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily.
The plan aligns with Kim Jong Un's New Year's declaration, in which he emphasized the importance of collecting investment resources. The strategy includes plans to attract foreign capital through special economic zones.
ADVERTISINGThe data confirmed that a North Korean economic development zone law was passed in May 2013, and North Korea subsequently designated five areas as "central-level zones," 19 sites as "regional-level economic zones," which suggests a total of 24 zones could be open to foreign capital investments.
Analysts told the JoongAng that two-thirds of the blueprint was an in-depth examination of South Korea's economic model – evidence of Kim Jong Un's deep interest in the example South Korea had to offer to Pyongyang.
Experts said that of the zones, the Yalu River Economic Development Zone holds the most promise, with its close proximity to the Chinese border city of Dandong.
It is likely that area would receive its power supply from China, and export manufactured goods to Asia's largest economy by land. North Korea plans to attract $240 million in investments to develop the zone's infrastructure, which could possibly mean factories but also agriculture and tourism.
Another planned site, the Hyondong Development Zone on North Korea's eastern coast, would probably attract Japanese capital. Last October, the deputy editor of Japanese business magazine Toyo Keizai told Voice of America that he visited with North Korean officials, who told him they would entrust one or two zones with the Japanese.
Special zones in North Korea are not new – the country has attempted development since 1991.
Multilateral economic strategies, however, are gaining pace in North Korea. Last November, Yonhap reported that 40,500 tons of Russian coal arrived in South Korea through the Hasan-Rajin railway that connects Russia and North Korea. In April, South Korean newspaper Asia Business reported another 47,000 tons of Russian coal arrived in South Korea from the North Korean port of Rajin.
As US is MOVING FORWARD to ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE EXTREME WEALTH EXTREME POVERTY telling American 99% DON'T WORRY GLOBAL WALL STREET WANTS TO TAKE CARE OF IT'S HUMAN CAPITAL WITH BASIC INCOME-----South Korea the Asian NEO-LIBERAL TIGER is doing the same. South Korea's middle-class is disappearing and extreme wealth extreme poverty is the talk of South Korea. When US goes into its DEEP DEPRESSION turning to building US cities as Foreign Economic Zones this will move South Korea from being aligned with US to moving towards an Asian alliance.
What we have seen and heard these few decades as North Korea broadens its global neo-liberal markets----South Korea is talking about needing nuclear capabilities. If North and South reunite----South Korea will get that extreme wealth extreme poverty far-right authoritarianism that is coming to US----AND it will get North Korea's nuclear development. Watch as this MOVES FORWARD. Is World Bank worried about a nuclear reunified GLOBAL MARKET NEO-LIBERAL KOREA---less so. A reunified Korea would look very much like a CHINA......as will a MOVING FORWARD AMERICA.
“But if the South Korean authorities opt for a war, persisting in the unreasonable ‘unification of social systems,’ we will turn out in the just war to mercilessly wipe out the anti-reunification forces and achieve the historic cause of national reunification, long-cherished desire of all Koreans,” he said'.
This comment comes after South Koreans shout for US military to leave the country......
'But that’s not the case. South Korea is prematurely pursuing a regional leader status at the expense of its northern defense strategy—and of the U.S. forces that support it'.
Going Nuclear Wouldn’t Be Easy for South KoreaThe option has been revived in the wake of North Korea's latest provocations.
Troy Stangarone February 29, 2016
North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests, pushed boundaries with its missile tests, is pursuing second strike capabilities, and shows no indication of slowing down. South Korea in response has made a strategic bet that closing the Kaesong Industrial Complex can help to create leverage internationally to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions, but some in Seoul and Washington are suggesting that South Korea should consider developing its own nuclear umbrella as leverage in talks with North Korea. However, this would be much more difficult than proponents generally acknowledge.
Since abandoning its own pursuit of nuclear weapons in the 1970s, South Korea has relied on United States nuclear umbrella for extended deterrence to prevent either a large scale invasion by the North or a nuclear attack. However, as North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and missile programs in spite of the international sanctions, it is understandable that experts and policy makers would look for new ways of deterring North Korea and incentivizing it to roll back its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Arguments in favor of South Korea developing an independent nuclear deterrent tend to center around four arguments. First, that once North Korea has a range of deployable nuclear weapons with a second strike capability the military balance on the peninsula will have changed in a dangerous way. Second, that the international community has been ineffective in convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, jeopardizing South Korea’s national security. As a result South Korea needs to take responsibility for its own defense. Only with its own nuclear deterrent would Seoul have the ability to negotiate the elimination or reduction of Pyongyang’s program. Third, that whether now or in the future the protection of the United States might become untenable. This is often expressed in the question of whether the United States would risk Los Angeles to save Seoul or concerns over future U.S. defense cuts. And lastly, that the prospect of a nuclear armed South Korea, and potentially Japan, might focus minds in Beijing on resolving the problem of North Korea.
The South Korean public has also shown support for domestic nuclear weapon. Polls taken shortly after the closing of the Kaesong Industrial Complex show domestic support ranging from 52.2 percent to 67.7 percent and polling done by the Asan Institute for Public Policy after North Korea’s third nuclear test indicated that South Korean faith in U.S. extended deterrence was waning.
However, South Koreans are rarely asked if they would be willing to bear the costs of a domestic nuclear weapon. Those cost would likely come in the form of diminished international standing, economic hardship, and uncertain strategic benefits.
For South Korea to develop its own nuclear weapons program it would have to join North Korea as the only country to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an ignominious club for sure. Withdrawal would dent Seoul’s growing international standing and make it the only member of MIKTA, an emerging club of middle powers, to have a nuclear weapon, something which would not enhance South Korea’s middle power prestige.
While a loss of international stature to ensure domestic security might be an acceptable trade off, there would likely be economic costs as well. Developing a nuclear weapon would have consequences for South Korea’s own nuclear industry. Nuclear power provides a third of South Korea’s electricity and represents 13 percent of its primary energy consumption. Lacking adequate domestic reserves of nuclear fuel, South Korea is dependent upon members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group which conditions supply on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Pursuing a nuclear option would put the fuel supply for South Korea’s domestic reactors at risk.
As North Korea's Great Leader builds more and more global market Foreign Economic Zones moving towards naked capitalism as with China----South Korea's stance has been reunification. As we said in last post------South Korea has been MOVING FORWARD these few decades as has US towards this very far-right, authoritarian, militaristic extreme wealth and extreme poverty that exists in North Korea. North Korea has that nuclear development South Korea wants-----and South Korea has that national wealth and naked capitalism know-how as with GERMANY and its reunification---that North Korea would need. One thing towards North Korea's favor is it has never allowed World Bank/IMF gain control of its economy. Reunification would stabilize North Korea AND help South Korea through this coming global economic crisis.
If the Korea's reunify----North Korea would likely be drawn into the UNITED NATIONS through South Korea's ties....leading to nuclear inspections and normalized nuclear containment. TRUMP and his actions will no doubt push these reunification policies forward. The US losing a strategic military presence in this Asian theater is not as worrisome today as decades ago because the US is tied to ASYMMETRIC DRONE WARFARE......boots on the ground are being retired.
The South Korean global banking neo-liberals want to keep South Koreans from knowing MOVING FORWARD means far-right, authoritarian, militaristic extreme wealth extreme poverty just as American global Wall Street pols are trying to hide from US citizens.
North and South Korea: can Seoul's plans for reunification work?Despite the monumental challenges involved in piecing the Korean peninsula back together, South Korea's president continues to push it as a key policy goal
South Korean soldiers open the gate for the North Korea's train to pass near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in 2007. Photograph: Pool/Getty Images
Friday 18 July 2014 12.07 EDT Last modified on Saturday 13 May 2017 13.35 EDT As tourists approach the entry checkpoint for the Korean demilitarised zone separating North from South, they are greeted by the sight of three-metre-high fences topped with rusting barbed wire.
Thousands come by the bus-load every year to see the four-kilometre-wide strip of land that acts as a buffer around the 38th parallel, which, despite its name, is one of the most highly-militarised areas in the world.
On the South Korean side, at Camp Bonifas, visitors receive a military briefing on this unique stretch of eerily still countryside. They are warned to do exactly as they are told by the South Korean soldiers who escort them on the bus journey to the Joint Security Area (JSA) on the borderline, which has been the venue for negotiations between the two sides since the 1953 armistice – the agreement that brought the Korean War to an uneasy truce, leaving both sides technically still at war.
Only take pictures when told you can, they are warned. Don’t make any gestures towards the North Korean soldiers standing guard on the other side, and whatever you do, don’t get too close to the borderline.
For visitors, the tour is like a bizarre theme park ride; there is even a gift shop, complete with t-shirts and fridge magnets. But for many Koreans, the 38th parallel is an open wound in a once-united nation that is now so deep, it is almost impossible to conceive that it could ever heal.
A North Korean soldier looks toward the South side through a pair of binoculars in between two South Korean soldiers at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) in the Joint Security Area border village of Panmunjom in 2003. Photograph: Vincent Yu/APThat has not stopped reunification becoming one of the key policy objectives of South Korea’s president, Park Gyeun-hye. This week, in the latest stage of her “unification as jackpot” project, Park announced that a special committee to “prepare for Korean unification,” intended to advance this policy, had finally begun its work.
“Hereafter, we will take the opportunity provided by the launch of this committee to arouse greater public interest in unification and discuss alternative means of opening the unification era,” she said at a press conference.
As an illustration of its importance, the committee will be chaired by Park herself, and will consist of more than 70 people from government, the private sector and academics.
Given the vast differences between the two Koreas, the political, economic, social, and psychological challenges of potential reunification are enormous.
Capitalist South Korea is a young democracy, Asia’s fourth largest economy, and a technology powerhouse where more than 80% of people have internet access. Communist North Korea is an impoverished, isolated, dictatorship ruled with an iron fist by the unpredictable young leader Kim Jong-un.
There are any number of ways reunification could potentially be achieved, but two of the most widely accepted scenarios would either involve the collapse of the North Korean regime, or follow a gradual process of reform and cooperation between North and South (building on schemes such as the joint Kaesong industrial complex).
A recent report released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Korea National Diplomatic Academy forecast that North and South Korea could be unified by 2040-2050 peacefully, if both countries are able to cooperate on a joint economic system that would raise the average national income of North Koreans to $10,000 per capita. It is currently estimated at around $1800.
Counting the costs of reunification
According to the report, unification of the Korean peninsula would create the seventh largest economy in the world, with a population of 80 million, and would lead to far greater national security with a large drop in military spending.
But there are also numerous disadvantages for South Korea, not least the cost, which analysts forecast could run into tens – if not hundreds – of billions of pounds. And the report, as well as Park’s reunification policy as a whole, have been met with much skepticism.
“Not one paragraph explained what it means to actualise unification,” wrote Oh Gyeong-seob of South Korea’s Sejong Institute in a column for Daily NK. “The hypotheses and presumptions in the report were unsupported by evidence. It was a blueprint for the most splendid building imaginable, but did not demonstrate the ability to construct it.”
Analysts say those attempting to predict a possible reunification date might as well stare into a crystal ball. With so little known about the machinations of the North Korean political elite, some believe Kim Jong-un’s reign could just as easily fall tomorrow as it could in 30 years time.
“Every South Korean president seems to need a unification policy,” says Dr Robert Kelly, professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea. “That’s probably a good idea, but it’s also de rigeur and ritualistic at this point”.
“There are lots of plans floating around about what to do after [a collapse], but no one actually knows how to get North Korea to change without unacceptable levels of violence”.
The Myeong-dong district of central Seoul, South Korea's capital city, just an hour south of the demilitarised zone. Photograph: AlamyPark is not the first South Korean leader to stress the importance of preparing for possible collapse of the regime in the North, nor is she the first to trumpet the perceived benefits of reunification. She is, however, facing a problem that her predecessors did not share: young South Koreans are becoming less and less keen on reunification.
Persuading young South Koreans
While older generations remember connections with those in the North, many twenty-something South Koreans feel they have very little in common with their neighbours.
“I am not in favour of reunification because my country is going to be too confused,” says Yun Jeong-in, a student at a university just outside Seoul. “North Korea and South Korea have totally different lifestyles and cultures. If there is a reason to reunite, it is only to save poor North Korean people. There is no other reason for me”.
Ten years ago, research conducted by Seoul National University found that 92% of South Koreans considered unification "necessary", but by 2007 that figure had falled to 64%.
In March, a survey found that 22% of South Koreans in their twenties would prefer to maintain the status quo, higher than any other age group. Of that same age group, 27% said they regarded North Korea as a neighbour, 28% they felt it is an enemy, and just 14% said they felt North Koreans were “one of us”. The survey also found that 38% of South Koreans would not be willing to pay more than $100 in additional taxes towards the costs of reunification.
A view of central Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, from the Juche tower in June 2014. Photograph: UkrikPedersenTransterra/BarcroftResults of a poll of North Korean defectors published this week showed 95% of participants, perhaps unsurprisingly, felt reunification is “very necessary”.
In the South, Professor Kelly believes “unification talk is cheap and easy rhetoric” that is “perfect for nationalist politicians” wanting to please older voters.
AdvertisementBut for some, the campaign to persuade younger South Koreans that a united Korea could create a new Asian powerhouse is already paying off.
“I do agree with [working towards] reunification,” says Lee Jun-mo, who hopes to study photography at university. “Korea would be more influential throughout east Asia and the world. South Korea alone is like island; all roads are blocked by North Korea. When Korea is united again, the roads will lead to China, Russia, and all through Asia to Europe. It will cost a lot of money to get reunited but I see as an investment, not only for economic and political benefits, but for humanitarian benefits too”.
The North Korean viewBack in the demilitarised zone (DMZ), a South Korean soldier tells the tour group about a North Korean defector who had managed to cross the border, and had been picked up by South Korean authorities that week. He says he cannot reveal details about the process that involves receiving a defector in the South, but agrees that they would likely end up in Hanawon, the government rehabilitation centre where defectors are “debriefed,” often for several months.
There are various schemes to help North Koreans settle in, but despite this, some still find it almost impossible to feel at home in South Korea, and say they face discrimination. A few North Koreans have even returned.
Some policy experts believe that efforts towards reunification should refocused to begin with these defectors, to improve relations between the South and North Koreans who already live in the same country. It is this, they argue, that should help create a blueprint for wider cooperation.
“The first hurdle towards unification is the issue of North Korean defectors,” writes Professor Park Sang-bong of Myongji University. “If the South Korean government does not have the will or ability to manage North Korean defectors... then “unification as jackpot” becomes a meaningless phrase, a hurdle that neither public nor politician can overcome”.