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Rural Development: Lessons from the Liberalization of Korean Trades

Korea Journal / Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2009, v.49 no.4, pp.91-134
Michael Meinschmidt
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With strong government thrusts toward agricultural trade liberalization to increase high-tech export volume, South Korea’s rural communities have had to brace for significant adjustments brought about by agrarian modernization. Rural “development” of the past few decades has failed to restructure the farming sector for international competition, largely due to favoritism toward big corporations and ineffective government policies characterized by top-down management and minimal communication efforts. Following such shortcomings, the considerable reduction in the number of farms and a widespread realization that reform has to come “organically” from within organized rural communities, rather than imposed by development, this paper argues for possible change through human agency and shows how one community is tackling “self-reform” toward a more sustainable life in a globalizing rural area, while trying to dodge the global reflexes from overemphasized modernity.

rural reform, rice, family farming, cooperative pooling, agricultural autonomy, trade liberalization, KORUS FTA, land issues, democracy, reflexive modernity



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