Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reading :: Korea as a Knowledge Economy

Korea As a Knowledge Economy: Evolutionary Process and Lessons Learned By Joonghae Suh and Derek H. C. Chen

This book, published by the Korea Development Institute and the World Bank Institute, overviews Korea's economic growth from the 1960s through 2007 (when the book was published). Full of facts and figures, the book describes how the Republic of Korea has developed (Chapter 2), the challenges to its development strategies (Chapter 3), its economic framework (Chapter 4), its information and communication technologies (Chapter 5), how it's meeting skill and human resource requirements (Chapter 6), and how it's encouraging and leveraging science and technology (Chapter 7).

The book is based on the World Bank's knowledge economy (KE) framework, with four pillars:

  • "an economic incentive and institutional regime"
  • "an educated and skilled labor force"
  • "an effective innovation system"
  • "a modern and adequate information infrastructure" (p.4)
And it's filled with bar charts and line graphs that show metrics leaping upward as time goes on. The ROK has enjoyed remarkable growth, particularly in the penetration of information technologies and telecommunications. It has also begun to address some of its structural limitations. For instance, until recently, universities did not focus on application (p.123) and applied research was left to government research institutions and the private sector (p.127); more recently, that situation has changed.

In all, the book is long on figures, and it paints a picture of remarkable progress and optimism. I'm not sure how to evaluate that picture, but it does seem to accord with other literature I've read about the ROK. 

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