[KS] Tokto

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Fri Oct 12 02:13:48 EDT 2012

What I find so interesting here is how Tokto relates to globalization 
and the current state of capitalism in Korea and the world as such. I 
think the most common understanding of globalization is based on a 
revised Marxist approach, especially if talking about nation-states 
with mostly commercial globalization ('trade globalization') like 
Korea, where globalization is intentionally being build-up as a tool to 
strengthen capitalist competition with other nation-states. Now, (a) 
the revised Marxist understanding of globalization has it that it is 
the stage of (our current) development where corporations are fighting 
on a global level, where they compete globally for higher growth rates 
and higher capital gains, and these corporations are then supported by 
'their' nation-states. In Korea, this also seems the prevalent view. 
See the recent short notes on this list about "nation branding" as an 
expression of that, and how South Korea has officially made that a 
policy since just a few years. In the neo-Marxist understanding 
nation-states as such have little to no role in this, they just support 
the real players, the corporations. (b) An alternative view, though, 
would be that the actual players are not the corporations but the 
nation-states and their governments and organizations (and those are 
not necessarily equivalents of a country's corporations). 

The question as regards to this island, big enough for some birds to 
shit on but otherwise hardly of any economic importance--and therefore 
at first sight only being in the way of accumulating capital and 
streamlined global trade operations, in other words, anti-capitalist 
and backward in character--well, the question is then how that goes 
together with what we perceive as the hyper-capitalist logic of 
commercial globalization? Obviously, national territory and territorial 
units have not been touched in any way by globalization. I then start 
to wonder if maybe what (especially in South Korea) is seen as a 
national support system for its corporations (e.g. culture as support 
system *for* corporations, see again the "nation branding" campaign) is 
actually not what it is, if maybe it is in fact the nation-states and 
their political institutions in Asia that are the actual movers and 
shakers. I can't imagine that Samsung or Kia would get any profit from 
the kind of campaigns you now see in Korea. Maybe the economists on the 
list have some input?

Frank Hoffmann

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