Korea: May 11, 2000

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Analysts have calculated the cost of unifying the two Koreas as 150-300% of the Korean annual domestic product. The problem is that South Koreans earn 15 times as much as North Koreans. After unification, the North Koreans would flood to the South seeking better-paying jobs (and there are not nearly enough jobs to be had). It would take one trillion dollars in capital investment to create enough good-paying jobs in North Korea to keep the population from heading south. South Korean companies are more likely to invest money in expanding their existing plants than in building new ones in the North. The result could be a virtual depopulation of North Korea within a few years. --Stephen V Cole

 

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