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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Distrust of the National pension

(Update on the bottom)
Remembering how negative all the neighborhood shopkeepers' attitudes towards the national pension plan were at the time of its implementation to cover also the urban self-employed, I'm not at all surprised to see all the news about the gowing dissatisfaction and mistrust towards the system (Hankyoreh, Ohmynews). There's been a text going around the internet pointing out real and imagined deficiences in the system. These articles also present alleged cases of unjustice in having the pension payments collected forcibly.
Seems that one of the biggest problems is that the pension system, in which people pay a portion of their income to the pension fund administered by the National Pension Corporation, is being implemented in a situation where people's incomes are not well registered. (And this is not only the authorities' fault.) This results into situations where someone getting 400-450 000 won a month from unemployment jobs has had to pay 40-50 000 a month because he didn't pay any during his previous 2 years' unemployment. Also wage earners fear they end up paying more and getting less than the professionals (doctors, lawyers) who are able to underreport their income.

South Koreans have a long way to go to attain a social democratic mindset... (My comments to a recently held social attitude survey by Hankyoreh)

Funny to notice that the demonstration was in the form of candlelight vigil; there was also a picture of someone who held a text "conscientious pension objector" (yangsimjôk kungminyôn'gûm kôbu).

Here are some comments from the people I talked with some years ago:
Hairdressing shop. How about the kungmin yôn'gûm like in this piece of news? – There are those systems, but you cannot trust the government (chôngbu). My husband (uri ajôssi) paid money to a fund (chaedan) while he was working (hoesae tanil ttae), but when he went to collect the money after he had quit the job (no longer didn't work) he was told that there's no money any more. You cannot know how these money is being taken care of or you cannot know if it's any good.
Restaurant. How about this kungminyôn'gûm (showing her the Chosôn Ilbo article)? You don't need that kind of a thing. Nararûl mot midôyo… Toni ôbsôbôjilkka poa… (Can't trust the government. They might waste the money) It has happened before that money has been gone (wasted or something) from places like that.
Flower shop. – How about this pension system (showing the newspaper clipping)? It's no good! Even that amount is a burden (k'ûn pudam). It's only taking money from the seomin and giving it to people already having money. (Her words are not exactly that but the meaning is.) – Kûrôm ûimu kaibirago hanûnde… –They can't make (force) people to join the system.

Joongang Ilbo has a big headline on the top of its homepage, that 72% regional insurance payers (chiyôk kaipcha) are not having their income properly reflected in the pension payments. (Or more precisecly, the tax authorities have proper income information of only 28% of the regional insurance payers.)

In the case of self-employed (small shopkeepers etc.), as the pension administration has no data on their income (or they don't have any taxable income), it charges an average pension payment of 74 000 W (50€) a month. One can file a complaint, but if one doesn't, it can lead to provisonal seizures (kaamnyu 가압류) later if the payments are not honored. And as the amount of payment is decided on the basis of income two years back, it can lead to considerable difficulties if for example one's business has turned worse.

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Comments to note "Distrust of the National pension" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 30.3.09 : 

Pension payeouts are a big thing for English teachers. We are able to check on line the amount of money deducted from our paychecks and the amount contributed by the Institute. We are also able to go to the local pension office and check to see what we have accumulated.

I thought that it was the buisness that you worked for that handled your pension.

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