(by RSIS NTU) “We live in an ‘age of uncertainty’. On the one hand, a power transition seems to be upon us: China has risen, the United States’ resolve and commitment are uncertain, and other regional powers with different political systems are also resurgent. On the other hand, unprecedented globalised inter-dependence creates connectivity and vulnerability in equal measure. Alongside these trends, the onset of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” promises rapid and unpredictable technological change that could revolutionise defence, economic, and social organisations and relations.”
“Amid these rapid and seemingly chaotic shifts, the inter-connections between economics and security not only become more complex, but also more urgent and significant. In what follows, the most important elements of our age of uncertainty are distilled.”
Prof Evelyn Goh, Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies, and Research Director at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, is the author of the working paper “The Asia-Pacific’s ‘Age of Uncertainty’: Great Power Competition, Globalization and the Economic-Security Nexus”. Prof Goh shares with us the key findings and takeaways in this video. She explains the ways in which the economic-security nexus needs to be understood and managed in the Asia Pacific if we are to weather the ongoing transition.
(by University of Washington Press) South Korea’s triumphant development has catapulted the country’s economy to the eleventh largest in the world. Large family-owned conglomerates, or chaebŏls, such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, have become globally preeminent manufacturing brands. Yet Korea’s highly disciplined, technologically competent skilled workers who built these brands have become known only for their successful labor-union militancy, which in recent decades has been criticized as collective “selfishness” that has allowed them to prosper at the expense of other workers.
Hyung-A Kim tells the story of Korea’s first generation of skilled workers in the heavy and chemical industries sector, following their dramatic transition from 1970s-era “industrial warriors” to labor-union militant “Goliat Warriors,” and ultimately to a “labor aristocracy” with guaranteed job security, superior wages, and even job inheritance for their children. By contrast, millions of Korea’s non-regular employees, especially young people, struggle in precarious and insecure employment.
This richly documented account demonstrates that industrial workers’ most enduring goal has been their own economic advancement, not a wider socialist revolution, and shows how these individuals’ paths embody the consequences of rapid development.
Hyung-A Kim is associate professor of Korean history and politics at the Australian National University. She is author of Korea’s Development under Park Chung Hee: Rapid Industrialization, 1961–1979.