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New trend of capitalist culture in Korea: The spirit of entrepreneurs and engineers

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the transformation of Korean capitalist culture after the Asian financial crisis of 1997. For many domestic as well as foreign scholars, the crisis is considered to be a turning point in the socioeconomic history of Korea. The relationship between capitalism and culture is grounded in the assumption that capitalism is historically considered as a specific socio-cultural product. The chapter argues that the point of dialectic contact between the subjective meaning-giving (Sinngebung) and the objective meaning given (Sinngebundenheit) by system compulsion (Systemzwang) is the ethical level of meaning in social actors. The cultural dominance of Neo-Confucianism with its exible variants provided the ideological and cultural background for the birth of the capitalist spirit in pre-modern Korean society. Realistic and enlightened intellectuals concentrated all their efforts on the development of industry (Siksan-Hungup) together with industrial education.

Keywords: Asian financial crisis; Korean capitalist culture; Neo-Confucianism; pre-modern Korean society



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