Thursday, June 10, 2010

Putting SMEs in a more 'positive light'

It seems some middle school textbooks have the nerve to make companies that pollute the environment look bad, according to the Joongang Ilbo:
Korean textbooks that negatively portray small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are expected to be revised by the end of July, the education ministry said Tuesday, in a move to prevent students from shunning jobs with such businesses.[...]

One ninth-grade textbook mentions a small dye factory that discharged contaminated water because it could not afford to run its purification equipment, causing a nearby rice field to dry up. Another textbook by a different publisher wrote that SMEs face financial difficulties because large corporations do not pay subcontractors on time. Such descriptions could also give big companies a bad name, Kim said.

“We have expressed our concern to the authors and received verbal responses that they recognize there is room for misinterpretation,” said Yoo Dae-gyoun, senior supervisor for the division of textbook planning at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. “The authors are currently thinking of ways to depict the same material in a more positive light.”
What's next? The military complaining that textbooks that talk about the killing and torture of citizens by the governments of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan make careers in the military look bad? ('Chapter 17: The 1980 Kwangju citizen surplus reduction.') One wonders what lobbying took place by the federation of small and medium businesses. Also, we wouldn't want to make big companies look bad in textbooks, considering how the media is always tearing them down a peg.

[Sound of crickets.]

Oh right, it was the LA Times, not a Korean newspaper, that broke the story of Samsung suing Michael Breen for a satirical article he wrote (which was quickly followed by the suit being dropped) Not that Korean newspapers are the only ones afraid of Samsung. One wonders what what they think of this.

Isn't corporate rule grand?

The Joongang Ilbo also reports that the Economic and Social Development Commission has said it plans to reduce the average annual labor time in Korea by up to 10 percent, down from the OECD high of 2,256 hours per year (in 2008) to around 1,800 or 1,900 hours. Don't start the countdown just yet, however - they don't plan to start this until 2020. Only ten more years!


mkshy said...
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Unknown said...

Life in a corporate state.

Have to wonder when the Korean government will insist that corporations are no longer a necessary tool for nation building.

I believe it's Michael Breen who argues in his book _The Koreans_ that Korea's centralized market economy is successful socialism. I think. I don't have it handy; I can't get the quote right. Will look for it.

I'm more reminded of corporatism (fascism).