Mini-Marshal Plan Burdensome for Taxpayers(The Korea Times)

A comparative study between the German model of unification with a focus on the economic structures at its core, and their relative success and failures, and what is slowly evolving in Korea would be really interesting and illuminating. Somebody must be working on it, I should think, since it is so obvious a comparison even if it would require a possibly unusual combination of language skills.

And in a similar way culturally minded scholars could really explore some interesting comparisons between the treatment and understandings of the East Germans and the North Koreans in the western, capitalist societies that are absorbing them. Both outside groups are sure to experience alienation, discrimination, and, more abstractly but importantly, a reputation for shabbiness and unsophistication that complicates unification.

Some complications are beginning to emerge:

Mini-Marshal Plan Burdensome for Taxpayers(The Korea Times): "South Korea is expected to face difficulties in securing funds to finance a range of large-scale economic cooperation projects agreed to between the leaders of the two Koreas on Thursday.

The Roh Moo-hyun administration has said it will attract funds from the World Bank and other international financial institutions, as well as from the private sector, for the envisioned inter-Korean projects.

But many bankers and analysts here say that most international financial organizations are reluctant to provide funds because of uncertainness associated with the Stalinist state, including its nuclear weapons development program.

They say the government will have no choice but to resort to issuing state bonds and increasing taxes to raise funds, putting a burden on taxpayers for various projects that are similar to a Marshal Plan. The Marshal Plan refers to the efforts led by the U.S. to rebuild a stronger foundation for the allied countries of Europe after World War II.

and some hopeful discussions of future returns:

Amid widely varying estimates of the economic impact of the second-ever summit between the two Koreas, a private think tank said yesterday that the inter-Korean business deals will generate up to $150 billion in long-term economic benefits.

This latter article has a nice map with the many different projects afoot. One of them is a $200 million project for "afforestation," which I have learned means planting a forest for harvesting where one did not exist. A bit more elaborate than tree farming, but a good term to learn anyway.


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