After undergoing rapid socio-economic and political transformation, the Republic of Korea has arrived at the stage of development which Beck refers to as a risk society. Korea has experienced both sides of the risks which accompany modernity: the wealth associated with an advanced economy and also the hazards which are by-products of industrial society. However the Korean case is distinctive, this article argues, due to the state’s role in calibrating and managing risk. Whereas prior to the financial crisis of 1997–98 state elites privileged big business and exposed workers to higher levels of risk, calculations of the costs and benefits of risk have changed since the financial crisis. A notable outcome has been the straining of traditionally close ties between the state and the chaebŏl.
Field of Research
160603 Comparative Government and Politics 160606 Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific 160505 Economic Development Policy