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The Impact Of A Korean Wave

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2689 words Published: 4th May 2017

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Today, a concept is becoming increasingly popular in the world scientific community, according to which all the people are the citizens of one global society that consists of a number of local societies of individual countries. This concept simplifies the consideration of the globalization processes, which in this case turn into the usual social transformations in the global society.

The main consequence of globalization is the international division of labor, migration (and, as a rule, concentration) of capital of human and industrial resources throughout the world, standardization of legislation, economic and technological processes, as well as convergence and fusion of cultures of different countries. As a result of globalization, the world becomes more connected and more dependent on all its subjects (Soleymani 2010, pp. 104-110; Keohane 2002). It causes an increase of both the number of common problems for groups of countries, and the number and types of integrating subjects. According to Szeman (2003, p.94) “Globalization is the moment of mass, migration, muticulturalism, and cosmopolitanism”.

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Globalization is closely linked with the process of centralization of control subjects. In politics, globalization means weakening of national states, it changes and reduces their sovereignty. On the one hand, it happens because modern states delegate increasingly more authorities to influential international organizations such as UNO, WTO, EU, NATO, IMF, and World Bank. On the other hand, due to reduction of government intervention in the economy and tax cuts the political power of enterprises increases (especially of large transnational corporations) (Hays 2009, pp. 17-24; Keohane 2002). Easier migration of people and the free movement of capital abroad also decrease the power of states over their citizens.

The interdependence of the economies of different countries increased immeasurably in comparison with the integration (Keohane 2002, p.15). The increasing globalization of the economy reflects in the sharp increase of scales and rates of capital movement, in the faster growth of international trade if compared with GDP growth, in the emergence of 24-hour working global financial markets. The information systems created over the past decades raised the movement ability of financial capital, which contains, at least potentially, the ability to destroy sustainable economic systems (Castells 2000).

Globalization of the economy is a complex and contradictory process. On the one hand, it facilitates economic interaction between states, creates the conditions for countries to access the advanced achievements of mankind, saves resources, and promotes global progress. On the other hand, globalization has negative consequences: setting a peripheral model of the economy, loss of resources for countries outside the “golden billion”, ruin of small businesses, spreading of global competition to the weak countries, declining living standards, etc. (Hays 2009, pp. 17-24; Giddens 2000).

In general, the costs and benefits of globalization are extremely unevenly distributed among the participants. Increase of productivity, reduction of costs, growth of income and wealth at one pole is achieved at the cost of increasing uncertainty, risk, inequality, and poverty on the other. Individual countries cannot afford to separate from the world market system without paying a high price. At the same time, globalization inevitably strengthens the role of national governments in the domestic economics and in interaction with the outside world. This makes it possible to reduce vulnerability and minimize the social costs associated with globalization, to reach agreement with international capital in terms of achieving a more equitable distribution of gains from trade, foreign investment and other transactions.

Cultural globalization is characterized by convergence of business and consumer culture among different countries and the growth of international communication. On the one hand, this leads to the popularization of certain types of national culture around the world (Regev 2007, pp. 125-28). On the other hand, the popular international cultural phenomena may displace national ones or make them international. Many perceive this as a loss of national cultural values and fight for the revival of national culture (Langman 2003, pp. 223-30; Ossewaarde 2007, pp. 170-79).

Modern movies are released simultaneously in many countries around the world; books are translated and became popular among readers from different countries. Enormous role in cultural globalization is played by the ubiquitous Internet (Castells 2000). In addition, international tourism is becoming increasingly widespread.

In 19 out of 25 countries, most respondents reported the expecting benefits from the expansion of globalization. The highest support was recorded in the Netherlands, where 87% of respondents expressed pro-globalist views, followed by Venezuela (82%), India (79%) and Qatar (78%). In Argentina and Turkey, which are experiencing serious financial troubles, the respondents showed the most negative attitudes towards globalization. According to WEF, from a total of 25 000 respondents, six out of ten believed globalization to be positive, while one in five considered it negative (Soleymani 2010, pp. 109-113).

Globalization is often equated with Americanization due to the increase of US influence in the world in the 20th century. Hollywood produces most of the movies for worldwide distribution. The USA is the home of global corporations: Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi and many others. McDonald’s because of its prevalence in the world has become a symbol of globalization (Szeman 2003, p.101-5). Comparing prices for BigMac in different countries, The Economist examines the purchasing power of different currencies (Big Mac Index).

Other countries also contribute to globalization. For example, one of the symbols of globalization – IKEA – appeared in Sweden; the popular instant messaging service ICQ was first released in Israel, and the well-known software for IP-telephony Skype was developed by Estonian programmers (Regev 2007, pp. 129-33).

One of the results of globalization is the Korean wave – a phenomenon penetration of the Korean mass pop culture into other countries, primarily of South-East Asia. The first country swept by this wave was China. The term “Korean Wave” is widely known as “Hallyu” introduced in China in mid-1999 by the Beijing journalists describing the fast popularization of South Korean pop-culture and goods in China (Jeongmee 2007, pp. 47-48). It all began with a huge success of TV show “What is love”, after which many more shows and songs were a huge success in the Chinese public (Kaori 2009, 341-43).

Currently, the Korean wave has spread to more than 60 countries, mostly in South-East Asia: Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, etc. Gradually the Korean culture goes further and begins to gain popularity in the Middle East and even parts of Africa. Korean TV shows, such as Autumn in My Heart and Winter Sonata, Korean cuisine, taekwondo, and even the interior of apartments in the Korean style are gaining increasing popularity in these countries (Kaori 2009, 341-43). South Korea is in the top ten cultural exporters in the world. In the streets you can often see Korean cars, and many people use Korean cell phones. Many Korean actors are becoming popular outside Korea; some of them (e.g., Pi) even appear on the screens of Hollywood.

Korean Culture and information Service (KOCIS) under the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Korea holds festivals of Korean culture in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in order to improve the image of Korea by promoting its traditional culture. With its rich natural resources and high growth potential, the Central Asian region is becoming increasingly important in the international arena (Lee, & Hobday 2003, pp. 503-5). This region also has close ties with Korea, because 320 000 Korean immigrants live there.

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Central Asia is an important region for the spreading of the Korean wave. It is believed that the Silk Road, passing through the Asian continent, plays an important role in spreading popular East Asian cultural trends to Europe (Lee, & Hobday 2003, pp. 503-5; Jeongmee 2007, pp. 49-53). According to KOCIS, the Central Asian region would be a great place to connect the Korean culture with the cultures of the Middle East (Ghani & Anand 2009, pp.24-27). New research confirms that the popularity of Korean cinema and music in other Asian countries has a positive effect on the image of the country in general and opens the way for cooperation not only in culture but also in many other areas, particularly in the economic sector (Jeongmee 2007, pp. 49-52).

The report of the Korean-Thai center of communications states that since 2002 the three largest TV channels in Thailand have broadcasted over 180 Korean TV shows. And 118 of them were shown in the period from 2006 to 2009. Asked about the image of the Republic of Korea, 97% of the interviewed citizens of Thailand noted that in recent years it improved greatly, and 62.2% believed that the positive impact was made by the TV shows in the first place. Another 20% suggested that it became possible due to the promotion of Korean quality products on the market. The number of tourists from Thailand arriving in the Republic of Korea increased from 73,900 people in 2002 to 190,000 in 2009. During the first half of 2010 more than 120.000 Thais visited Korea (Sang-Yeon 2010, pp. 25-45).

The 2010 work plan of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Korea provides further efforts aimed at reviving the popularity of Korean culture in foreign countries. In particular, it was decided to establish by 2013 at least 30 high-value contents, each bringing the $ 100 million revenue and competing in the global market with contents from other countries (Sang-Yeon 2010, pp. 25-45). By content we mean popular TV shows, movies, software and games. Until now, only three South Korean cultural contents brought such an income: the TV show Winter Sonata, a cartoon character Pororo and online game Lineage (Dator & Seo 2004, p. 33).

To perform this task, the government plans to provide financial support to relevant sectors of the economy and optimize the legal framework. Therefore, attracting interest to Korean culture in foreign countries is one of the main tasks of the Korean Government (Dator & Seo 2004, p. 36-40). Cultural contents are the intangible values, but their producers can get virtually unlimited incomes. This can be possible in the case of a successful combination of technology with creativity. The Republic of Korea possesses advanced information technologies and unique cultural traditions, both attracting the attention of the world (Jeongmee 2007, pp.52-59). Consequently, the revival of “Hallyu” or Korean Wave is an achievable goal.

The complex process of globalization, which has been gaining speed for thousands of years, is irreversible through many aspects. The global economy is integrated to the extent that the stakes are too high for everybody. The optimism of millions in Asia and in the fastest growing economies (Ireland, the former socialist bloc, Africa and Latin America), and the desire of ordinary citizens not to miss their chance in the conditions of open economy – that’s the reality of the globalized world (Ghani & Anand 2009, pp.19-23). But the flip side of it is the disturbance of American and European middle class, grinding poverty and despair of those who stayed behind (Giddens 2000). The question is whether anxiety and fear will prevail over optimism or not, and whether they will turn the world back, for another dark period of isolation.

Never before, since the formation of the Western alliance in 1949, the international balance of power has undergone such major changes. Among the issues that have appeared on the agenda in recent years are the emergence of new powers in Asia, the new balance of power in Eurasia, the Middle East problem and transatlantic moves, new challenges to the traditional forms of statehood and the general feeling of insecurity, including the threat of terrorism (Giddens 2000). The scale and speed of changes caused by globalization, regardless of the nature of these changes, will be a characteristic feature in the next 15 years.

The appearance of China and India, as well as other countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, as the new actors on the world scene is possible. The basis of anticipated rapid growth of economic and political power of these countries lies in the combination of sustained strong economic growth, increasing military power and huge population. According to projections, by 2020 the GNP of China will exceed the GNP of the developed Western powers separately; excluding the U.S. India’s GDP will also surpass the GNP of European economies (Soleymani 2010).

With the appearance of newcomers on the world stage, the picture of the world will radically change by 2020, which will in future contribute to the annihilation of the usual characteristics of East and West, North and South, affiliated and non-aligned, developed and developing countries. Traditional geographic groupings will no longer share old values in international relations. A world divided by states, and the world of mega-cities of telecommunications, trade and financial flows will exist in parallel. The fight for the allies will be more open, and the unions themselves will lose their traditional strength.

We view globalization as the growing increase of interdependence in the flow of information, technology, capital, goods, services and people throughout the world, as an overarching “mega-trend” significant influencing the formation of the major trends in the world. However, the future of globalization is ambiguous, till states and independent players, including private companies and nongovernmental organizations, will fight for the right to define its contours. Thus, if the era of globalization doesn’t end with the collapse as a result of a catastrophic war and global crisis, we can suppose that the world economy is likely to expect continued impressive growth by 80% in the next 10 years, while the average income per person will get approximately 50% higher (Soleymani 2010).

Most countries around the world – both developed and developing – will benefit from the participation in global economic processes; and Asia, having the fastest-growing consumer markets, a growing number of companies that have become truly global players, and growing scientific and technological potential, will be capable of succeeding Western countries in the role of the region with the most dynamic economy (Dator & Seo 2004, pp. 33-35; Ghani & Anand 2009, pp.19-23).

In the international context, states should advocate for the mitigation of the adverse effects of inequality, asymmetry in the interdependence. This calls for more fair and democratic rules of the game in international relations. The role of individual countries must be viewed from the perspective of the external opportunities and challenges arising from the emergence of new areas of relationships due to the globally integrated production, TNC, various types of capital movements, more close relationships in trade with goods and services, and cross-national information flows. In general, cooperation between countries and international organizations could be useful for solving a number of global issues, including management of globally integrated capital markets, trade information services, as well as the labor market, cultural heritage and tourism.


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