El sueño de una Nueva Era Edo

SEÚL – A mediados de noviembre, todos los ojos virarán hacia Seúl, cuando los líderes del G-20 se reunan por primera vez en la capital surcoreana. La elección venía demorada desde hacía tiempo, ya que Corea del Sur es una historia de éxito notable: en una generación, los surcoreanos, anteriormente sacudidos por la guerra civil, bajo constante amenaza de su hermano comunista del norte, durante mucho tiempo sumidos en la pobreza y gobernados por dictadores militares durante 40 años, han construido la décimo tercera economía más importante del mundo y la democracia más vibrante de Asia.

Históricamente oprimida entre sus dos vecinos gigantes, China y Japón, Corea del Sur durante mucho tiempo había sido percibida como un país desfavorecido con una identidad cultural poco definida. En Asia, en cambio, los líderes de Japón no están esperando la cumbre de Seúl para darle una mirada más cercana a Corea del Sur. Corea del Sur era antiguamente una colonia japonesa (1910-1945) y los nativos eran tratados como una raza inferior. Hoy, la economía de Corea del Sur ha venido creciendo anualmente el 5% en promedio durante diez años, mientras que Japón creció 0,42% por año durante el mismo período.

Se podría decir que Corea del Sur todavía no es una economía madura y que sólo está tratando de alcanzar a un Japón más avanzado. Este era el caso en los años 1970, pero ya no. Mientras que el crecimiento de China está alimentado por una mano de obra barata mientras millones de campesinos ingresan en la economía industrial, esta no es la receta de éxito surcoreana, que ha sido impulsada por la actitud empresaria privada, la innovación y los productos de calidad: Samsung y Hyundai, y no los salarios baratos, son los motores de crecimiento de Corea del Norte.

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