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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

The 60-year Long March of the Korean Economy

The 60-year Long March of the Korean Economy

JEON Young-Jae

Oct. 10, 2008

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Originally released on August 13, 2008

Korea's economy has been one of history's most remarkable performers in the world. Once one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income of only US$67 in 1953, Korea is now the world's 13 th largest economy just 60 years after the founding of its new government and Japan's 36-year humiliating colonization. In the 1950's, Korea's income levels were lower than those in semi-developed countries in South America (e.g. Uruguay and Argentina), and lower still than in some African countries (e.g. Congo, Gabon, and Ghana). Korea's economy has now surpassed all of them through years of rapid economic growth.

But, the Republic of Korea started its history divided from North Korea and went through the Korean war, which started with aggression from North Korea. Though the country would face unfavorable geopolitical conditions for many decades after its founding, it prospered nonetheless. Introduction of a free market system laid the foundation for economic growth and the timely and wise implementation of various policies allowed for remarkable economic growth.

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