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But we side Korean and Chinese pop idol soap operas, view- with those few futurists who believe they have ers find similar love stories, similar depictions of discovered the seeds and early sprouts of the luxurious lifestyles, pretty faces, chic clothes, big future political economy. Ernest Sternberg calls houses and flashy sedans, all elements of the it "The Economy of Icons" while Rolf Jensen des- city life Asian youth dream of today. But they are not stance of style" and discusses the rise of aesthet- enough. We need to understand why pop cul- ic value in economic life.

All four are describing ture itself has so recently begun to flourish. And roughly the same phenomenon. The driving force in this newer economy is not output. Decoupling experiences from services information but image. Now the decisive material in accounting for what businesses create opens is meaning, production occurs through the inser- up possibilities for extraordinary economic tion of commodities into stories and events, effi- expansion — just as recognizing services as a dis- ciency consists in the timely conveyance of mean- tinct and legitimate offering led to a vibrant eco- ing, celebrity underlies wealth, and economic nomic foundation in the face of a declining influence emanates from the controllers of con- industrial base.

And a new base is emerging. We have lived as vides the key to future economic growth Small economic advances that ing the fifth type of society: the Dream Society. At the same time, though automation, abolishing the very same jobs recent cultural, business, and technological it created. The inherent logic of the Information changes are reinforcing the prominence of aes- Society remains unchanged: replacing humans thetics and the value of personal expression. Each new development feeds others.

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The result This is reflected in the three waves of the electron- feels less like the culmination of a historical ics industry. The first wave was hardware. The second wave was software where we are now. Most likely, the medi- tial in the world of business. Corporate recruiters have begun visiting the top arts grad schools in um of the Dream Society will be the picture"30 search of talent. Today, the best pupil is "At the same time, businesses are realizing that the the one who makes a first-rate symbolic analyst.

Here's what he said: 'It's more right brain. I philosophers of our time, Marshall McLuhan36 see us as being in the art business.


Art, entertain- ment, and mobile sculpture, which, coincidentally, and John McHale37 anticipated the growing also happens to provide transportation. And of course postmodern critical So, now, are we all. Korea as a Dream Society of Icons? As the quotation from Postel makes clear, we are not arguing that the dream society of What we do want to suggest, however, is icons and aesthetic experience is emerging that Korea may be the first nation consciously from nowhere, or is completely dominant now. The global dominance of has relied more and more on image projection Hollywood and Disney are not the consequence and less and less on providing useful and accu- of American national policy.


To the contrary, rate information about the product being adver- "serious" people in the United States still view tised. It goes without saying exceptional entrepreneurial and creative spirit that the United States has been the major pro- of a few Japanese, aided by progressively cheap- ducer of most images of the good life and the er and more powerful digital production tech- future for the past seventy-five years, and that it nologies. Now venture aspect is one of the features of the pop Aibo and Asimo suggest that a new era of culture industry. For both the game and anima- warm, caring, adoring "evocative machines" in tion industries, their software markets were the words of MIT theorist Sheryl Terkle are mainly pioneered by newly-risen small compa- going beyond mere artificial intelligence nies.

The First Korean

The popula- Also, from a theoretical perspective, this tion of the industry is said to be about 18,, development has not gone unanticipated. As which means the average number of employers long ago as the first third of the 20th Century, per company is approximately people. Instead of collapsing sources of supply, such as the cultural industry, beneath its political and economic misfortunes, with an economy based on the IT industry as its Japan's global cultural influence has only grown. The an otherwise dismal decade, Japan has been number of people expected to become perfecting the art of transmitting certain kinds involved in the cultural industry in Korea is of mass culture Hollywood's Experts and government officials agreed to full scale efforts towards the content business cooperate in fostering the nation's gaming and the speed of growth of Korea's game and industry so that it can be ranked among the animation industries, back up by government world's top three by The government policy, are also threatening Japan.

There is some evidence to The Internet suggest that leaders understand this to some Several other factors need to be men- extent, but perhaps not to the full extent they tioned as factors that have enabled Korea to might. The 21st Century is the age of knowledge and the Guardian quoted a western diplomat in Seoul creative mind. A powerful cultural nation will as saying, "The Internet is so important here. In par- This is the most online country in the world.

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Some don't even bother potential. It is minutes online per month. There is a debate regarding the IT levels in the world. Accordingly, that people born during a certain time interval both the older and younger members of this tend to have certain common experiences that cohort are swayed by feelings of psychological mark them from people older or than younger inferiority of Korea as a cultural periphery. At than they — experiences that they carry with the same time, this cohort played a leading role them as strong influences on their beliefs and in Korea's "economic miracle" and has a strong behavior throughout their entire lives.

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Age- "can do" spirit with a burning desire to leave the cohort analysis has recently been applied in periphery and enter the center. They under- Korea to identify and explain significant differ- stand that the Korean Wave is to some extent ences of attitudes about the future of Korea. They even believe that it is the real- generation", "R generation", "Generation ", ization of their long desire for Korea to be and the like, we believe it is more helpful to dis- prominent on the world stage. The members of the Colonial Cohort were Most Koreans are Boomers and thus dominate born and grew up in the early Japanese colonial Korean economics and politics.

They witnessed period Born between and While firsthand the democratization of Korea, and few of this cohort is still alive, they and their played a major role in the information technolo- efforts are still revered since they envisioned gy revolution. They also only to see the country tragically divided as a view Hanryu with a sense of pride that Korea is consequence of the Korean War.

The Veteran finally entering into the cultural center. This is Cohort were born and educated in also the cohort that spent their teenage years the Japanese language during the Japanese enjoying American pop music and Japanese pop colonial period. They fought during the Korean culture even though the latter was prohibited in War and thus hold very strong anti-communist Korea at the time.

Although they have a com- feelings. Their lives have been characterized by plex against the cultural center, this group con- intense suffering, struggle, and eventual victory. Korea as the Wave of a Future The Silent Cohort and the Internet use is much more pronounced in Network Cohort share many similarities South Korea than in other similarly advanced in terms of cultural perspectives and attitudes societies such as the United States where there toward the Korean Wave.

The Silent cohort is is virtually no difference in Internet use between probably the first "otaku" generation in Korea. To relatively abundant material environment, and the dismay of many older and some not-so-old have no interest in politics. They would rather South Koreans, the honorifics system of Korean indulge themselves in computer games and ani- language is often ignored on the Web, and this mation.

They are more accustomed to using allows communication between generations on computers and the Internet than are the Baby a more equal basis. This has translated into Boomers, and are always searching for their greater political activism among the youth own character and uniqueness. Unlike the Unlike Japanese and almost more than older cohorts who spent their teenage years many Americans, Koreans seem to have singing American popular songs, the Network embraced credit cards with great enthusiasm, cohort enjoys music that was made in their own and have run up debts of truly impressive mag- country and in their own language.

They are the nitudes. Many became a record high of 3. For them, nationality Korean adults faced bankruptcy due mainly to and the origin of a cultural product are not overdue credit card debts and it is likely to con- important as long as they are satisfied with the tinue to surge. One said, "I feel as though I have year, up more than 50 percent since , a been driven out of my own old house. Some of Seoul analysist said. He said the figure is already them are bitter about the sudden power shift greater than Japan's 70 percent and similar to between generations.

A businessman in his the 81 percent in the United States.

But there was no such thing as our turn. Dream Society of Icons and Aesthetic Suddenly, the younger ones are in charge. According to a recent sur- no longer apply. While this huge level of debt vey, 58 percent of South Koreans use the may indeed come back to haunt Korea, it need Internet. An economy not a threat as long as interest rates stay low, of "aesthetic experience" seems just right for Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan says" Koreans who seem to love to treat politics, in a report to the US Congress. The Dream subsequent wars, despite a recession in Society seems a dream come true for many and the resulting loss of , jobs, US con- Koreans.

In fact, consumers have increased spend- responsibly of a "dream economy" when a bil- ing for 48 quarters straight, an incredible streak. Isn't humanity more likely to tributors need to do when people exceed their spend its time coping with the long-ignored credit limit is to raise the credit limit endlessly, consequences of global climate change instead or, if consumers do enter into bankruptcy, to of being lost in dreams via online games? Where are they in the econ- again and again.

It can all be done in the name omy of icons?

History, Economics & Politics

Indeed, since many of the terror- of transforming the nation into the Dream ists are apparently driven by fundamentalist Economy of Icons and Aesthetic Experience. To phobias — phobias that many Korean as well as do otherwise — to pretend the debts are real American Christians share — how can one pre- and to call them in — will bring the current glob- sume that pop culture has any future at all in a al economic house of cards crashing down.

Far world whipped into submission by Mel Gibson's better to keep the Dream alive! And what about the growing threat of war, But How Realistic is Any of this? Perhaps the Korean Wave is just a passing Indeed, where is North Korea in all of this any- fad and not the wave of a future after all. Second, the law is male-centered, including with respect to rape law. Third, Korean criminal law is state-dominated; examples include the National Security Act and the criminalization of conscientious objection to military service. A critical examination of these characteristics of Korean criminal law will reveal valuable lessons for Korea and other newly democratized societies.

Cho has written and published extensively on Korean criminal law and other legal issues in both the U. Cho obtained his S. For additional information, please contact Prof. Yong-Sung Jonathan Kang jonakang u. Jutae Lee is a member of the Korea Trade Commission and a professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul where he conducts research in issues of foreign investment, corporate behavior, and free trade.

He was awarded a Korean government medal for international trade contributions. Lee will speak on the general contours of the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement including the provisions of the agreement and the political clashes surrounding the negotiations and conclusion.