Publication Details

Kim,H. (2003). Political corruption in South Korea. Proceedings of the 21st Conference of the Association for Korean Studies in Europe (pp. 11-16). Association for Korean Studies in Europe.


The exposure of corporate corruption at the heart of the industrial "advanced" world,with the 2001 collapse of Emon and many other multinational corporations,makes it clear that the problem of corruption is not confined to Asia or developing countries but is universal. The Korean case of political corruption poses one of the most interesting case studies of the role and impact of corruption in newly industrializing countries in Asia. With big conglomerate business,chaebol,as the foundation of its rapid industrialization structure,Korea brought about an industrial revolution within just three decades. The chaebol were seen as 'industrial warriors' in the 1970s. In the 1990s,' however,the chaebol acquired huge government-sponsored loans from banks and incentives and other handouts from government,financed extremely speculative investments,and ultimately became a major factor in Korea's financial crisis of 1997. Two former presidents,Chun Doo Whan and Roh Tae Woo,were imprisoned for political and financial corruption. The sons of the two civilian presidents,Kim Young Sam ,and Kim Dae lung,were also imprisoned for bribery. Against this background,combined with widespread corruption in many circles of Korean society,some progressive critics labeled Korea as a "Republic of total corruption".

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Association for Korean Studies in Europe Conference