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Monday, November 22, 2004

polarization of economy: consumption

Feel like living the "IMF era" once again with news and headlines like this: "서민들 허리띠 죄고, 유한층은 해외서 펑펑" '소비양극화' 심화, 해외에서 쓴 돈이 가계지출 3% 넘어 (The ordinary people tightening their belts, the leisured stratum going wild abroa: polarization of economy becoming all the more severe, consumption abroad over 3% of household expenses). The picture accompanying the article illustrates the state of ordinary people's economy in its most typical site, marketplace: empty alleys between the shops. (It's not the first time that Pressian has this very same pic in the same use.)

the state of ordinary people's economy in its most typical site, marketplacePressian tells that Koreans' use of money abroad ("shopping, study and training abroad") has increased by 10% during the first nine months of the year, while the whole domestic consumption by households (최종 소비 지출 총액) has decreased by 0.9%, according to the Bank of Korea. Foreign consumption (consumption abroad) takes now 3.2 percent of the total household consumption instead of the 2.9 percent last year at the same time.

Consumption of non-alcoholic beverages decreased by 1.8%, clothing by 1.4%, entertainment 4.6%, traffic 5.3%, education 0.7%.
What have increased are consumption of alcohol and tobacco as by half a percent and communication tech by 7.4%.

Kyunghyang Sinmun has a leader (or editorial...) commenting these developments; it tells that the consumption of the rich needs to be directed at home markets instead of letting them scratch (긁다) their credit cards and spread their dollar wads abroad. Kyunghyang doesn't suggest restricting legislation but change in attitudes towards the use of money by the rich and expects the government to do something about it.
What could that be, cultural revolution which overturns the Koreans' attitudes towards the innûn nom (the haves)?

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