What kind of social issues is South Korea facing at the moment? Are they similar to Australia’s social issues or is there something I hadn’t seen as an issue before? I had to ask myself these questions when deciding what to respond to in my own comics.
Having to focus on the tension between North and South Korea is a drain on South Korea’s economy, this is especially difficult when considering that Korea is caught between developed countries and rising one’s such as China and is struggling to compete in the world economy for resources and energy. In 1945, following world war two Japan gave up occupation of Korea, the North going to The Soviet Union and the South going to The United States. Since then, tensions have developed between the two countries to the point where the borders are lined with military from both sides. Being in such close proximity to rapidly developing countries, especially China puts stress on the cost of imports making them expensive for a country such as South Korea. South Korea is tenth on the list for world military balance 2015 from the international institute for strategic studies at $34.4 billion. This enormous cost means South Korea doesn’t have the wealth it needs to afford importing resources in the local economy.
South Korea is also suffering from a wealth gap in it’s society. South Korea’s Gini coefficient (which is a common measurement of inequality ranging from 0 being complete equality and 1 being complete inequality) “for 1990–1995 was 0.258, but with rising inequality its coefficient increased to 0.298 in 1999, two years after the onset of the financial crisis. It continued to increase, reaching 0.315 in 2010” (Koo, 2014). To put this into perspective Australia had a coefficient of 0.317 in the mid early 2000s, 0.315 in the mid 2000s and 0.336 in the late 2000s. While Australia’s Gini co-efficient is higher the change over the years is much greater overall in south Korea.
Both Australia and South Korea are experiencing low fertility rates and aging populations. In 2013 Australia had a recorded 1.88 babies per woman while South Korea had 1.19 per woman this combined with a rising average lifespan leads to a higher expected standard of living among youth which is not sustainable, a gradual decline in population leading to decreased productivity and a larger percentage of older population increases the unemployment rate. A recent multicultural policy has greatly increased immigration to South Korea which is helping to slow some of the effects of the aging population and low fertility rate while simultaneously focusing on foreign cultural education and Korean cultural immersion programs. Australia, on the other hand, has numerous policies for and against immigration that make it difficult to migrate to Australia to work or live.
According to a survey an overwhelming number of South Korean women support gay marriage where as South Korean generally do not. Despite this same-sex marriage remains illegal in South Korea. This is somewhat similar to Australia where Australiamarriageequality.org shows that the Australian public largely supports same-sex marriage although the Australian government is yet to allow it legally.