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Old 10-01-2008, 08:02 PM   #22
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Default Re: Project Cameloter in South Korea


I write to share my views. My cut on this thing is that we (in Korea) will have a lot more time to get ready than some of you may think. I do not recommend that you rush out to some mountain or mountainous monk retreat in Korea and try to do the Les Stroud thing--believe me it is extremely cold in the winters here and the wind chill factor alone will make you wish you were back at the warm hakgwon. I think you will be more than safe in your apartments through the winter if not through til next spring. I predict at least 6 months before things start to kick in from whatever happens in the US (Korea has $220b to $250b in foreign reserves to use over this period to stabilize the local markets). And even then, I just do not see things getting that bad in Korea a la some nightmare scenario as wrought in recent Hollywood disaster flicks.

Korea/Asia will obviously be affected by the coming US dollar/economic collapse but my take on it is that it will be far less damaging/in your face than what it may be in the US.

Most Asian economies have fairly high national savings rates (Korea, Japan roughly 30%, China is up to 50% of GDP) maintained for years/ decades. Korea also has the benefit of having gone through a major economic crisis back in 1997 and the country/people has learned how to survive (the psychological factor is key here). Koreans in general during national emergencies, disasters know how to work together, cooperate, and help one another (with each other and foreigners alike) as was the case in the 1997 crisis.

I do not believe that the dollar/US economy/OTC derivatives crash (if and when it happens) will take down all the functioning economies in Asia (for too long anyways). It will take down the existing financial system based on dollar hegemony and it will take down any debtor nation. But for many of the economies in Asia, they have everything in place to be able to recover and recover quickly.

There are 3.2 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region. Not only is it the most populous and fastest growing region in the world, I believe its importance to the world will only be clearer after the dollar system collapses.

I think on the whole, Korea is not too bad of a place to be for now--it is a creditor nation, it's a democracy (& very friendly to English speakers), it has been through the 97 crisis, and it will continue to trade robustly with other economies regardless of the financial fallout in the West.

In truth, I think we will be fine here. My concern and prayers are for those ordinary people in America who have struggled to make ends meet and put food on the table for their families who may end up suffering even more as a result.
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