Korea: May 31, 2004

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 South Korea has undergone a major social upheaval in the last few decades. After World War II, most of the population could best be described as "peasant farmers," with fewer than ten percent educated and urban. A recent major opinion survey found two thirds of the population describing themselves as "middle class" (although most said "lower middle class"), while two percent said they were "upper income" (rich) and only twenty percent "lower class." Some 91 percent want businesses to operate in a more ethical manner (corruption in the corporate world is common). Politically, 39 percent are conservative, 29 percent liberal. Only nine percent see North Korea as the enemy, but only 21 percent feel the south should provide economic aid to the north. However, 36 percent feel that the north and south should cooperate with each other. The pro-north groups tend to be younger, better educated and more prone to holding public demonstrations to spotlight their views. Among a minority of college students, it's been fashionable, for several decades, to declare North (and South) Korea the innocent victim(s) of American imperialism. This sort of thing appalls parents, although the kids eventually grow out of it. 

 

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