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South Korea In 2008: Domestic Developments And The Economy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the domestic dimensions of the Republic of Korea's (ROK) tumultuous year, picking up the narrative where it stopped in last year's edition of the Yearbook, i.e. after the parliamentary elections of April 2008. Christianity has grown rapidly in South Korea in recent decades, overtaking Buddhism as the dominant religion. Today, around 30 percent of South Korea's 49 million inhabitants are Christians, compared to 22 percent who are Buddhists. In the third quarter of 2008, the South Korean economy began to sputter, growing only (on a year-on-year basis) by 3.9 percent the lowest growth rate since early 2005. The fourth quarter then saw the economy contract in real terms by 3.4 percent compared to the preceding quarter, contributing to an overall economic growth rate of 2.2 percent in 2008.

Keywords: Buddhism; Christianity; domestic dimensions; Republic of Korea (ROK); South Korean economy

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