Does Rapid Growth and Economic Well-Being Bring about Happiness in South Korea?

Jong Ho Seo final report –  Sustainable Development  ISG 2015

Korea Cheonggyecheon strream afterAfter the Japanese occupation of Korea, there was a hope for Korea’s industry. Citizens were motivated and worked hard in order to step forward for the bright future. Although life was still difficult, Koreans were happy with the fact that they got independent from Japan.

On 25th of June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. South Koreans had no choice but escape immediately to south and leave behind their property. The Korean war lasted 3 years, 1 month, and 2 days (25th of June, 1950 – 27 July 1953). The Korean war was a disaster. It did not only kill people but affected mentally and destroyed their hope and confidence. After the Japanese occupation of Korea, South Koreans were delighted and confident that they can develop the country independently. Everything was destroyed and Koreans left with no choice but start all over again from the scratch.

South Korea’s economy grew rapidly after the Korean War and now South Korea is one of the wealthiest nations and a member of OECD. South Korean’s market is now ranked 13th in the world by GDP and also by purchasing power parity (PPP). According to “THE WORLD BANK”, South Korea’s population is about 55.22 millions and GDP was $1.305 trillion in 2013.

To compare South Korean’s life after the war and present, they have almost everything to fulfil their life. However, why South Korea has the highest suicide rate in OECD countries? It is extremely important to find out the reasons for suicide and why Koreans are not happier than before. This research paper will focus on three main topics as follow:

  • South Korea’s rapid growth
  • Why South Koreans are not happier than before
  • What can improve or make them happier

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Korea Cheonggyecheon strream before and after

* About the author: Click here for profile –

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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the IMBA Seminar on Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy of the Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Paris, March 2015.

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