Saturday, April 14, 2012

The next East Asian domino

McDonald’s in Taipei. By the 1990s, Taiwan had already become a “post-nation” (source)

East Asia has long been bucking the trend toward globalization. Its countries have become major players in the global marketplace, while jealously guarding their cultural specificity and national character.

But East Asia is now getting with the program. South Korea in particular has embraced the view that all factors of production, including its own people, should submit to the logic of globalization. Although the inflow of migrant labor is supposed to be a response to economic growth, there seems to be little relationship between the two. South Korea has actually had slower economic growth since the Asian crisis of the late 1990s, and yet these same years have seen a steady rise in immigration.

As Kang (2010) notes:

Economic growth in South Korea demanded a change to the solid mono-ethnic labour market, previously exclusive of other races. Migrant workers replaced departing Koreans at small and middle-sized factories, receiving low wages and doing intensive labour, mostly coming as “industrial trainees” at the beginning. But from around 1997, the so-called Asian economic crisis has left them in terrible conditions, being categorized as illegal and undocumented, without any official countermeasures from the Korean government. They were frequently arrested and deported from then. Nevertheless the number of foreign residents is increasing every year, except for 1998 […]

None of this should be surprising. In a global marketplace, there is a strong incentive to cut the cost of labor, either by outsourcing production or by insourcing workers. This two-way process will continue until wage rates are more or less the same throughout the world. So it doesn’t matter how low the wages are in labor-importing countries. What matters is whether the wages are even lower in labor-exporting countries. Such is the logic of globalization.

South Korea’s example is now being followed by another East Asian country—Taiwan. Here too, history seems to have paved the way for globalization. Before 1945, the Taiwanese were citizens of the Japanese Empire, even though most were culturally Chinese. They were thus already thinking of citizenship in ‘propositional’ terms, i.e., as adherence to a particular political system. This tendency was reinforced when the Chinese civil war ended and Taiwan became a place of refuge for the defeated Nationalists. Taiwanese identity thus became constructed in ideological terms … in opposition to the Communists on the mainland.

At the same time, Taiwan took in large numbers of refugees from different parts of Mainland China with different dialects and traditions of their own—an estimated 1 to 1.5 million. This experience would help prepare the Taiwanese for the current wave of non-Chinese immigrants:

Even before the advent of transnational capitalism, there has been steady influx of “outsiders” into postwar Taiwanese society, if one not only includes the gradual absorption of overseas Chinese (including from Hong Kong) but also the marginal existence of long resident foreigners (many of whom have married local spouses and settled into long term employment). To this, one can add in recent years the massive influx of contract laborers (Filipino maids, Thai construction workers, illegal PRC immigrants, expatriate businessmen and technical experts, etc.) as well as increased numbers of Chinese abroad lured back by super-salary jobs and Chinese youth raised abroad who have “returned” to exploit the growing niche of professional work requiring English language fluency. All have in very different ways contributed to an increasingly diversified and transnational local Taiwanese economy, albeit accommodated within an ongoing stratified system. (Chun, 2001)

Another predisposing factor has been Taiwan’s special relationship with its main protector, the United States. Many of its political and economic leaders are graduates of American colleges and universities. On coming home, they propagate the same discourse that they earlier learned in the U.S.:

Multiculturalism is now “in”. As a term of official discourse, the advent of “multiculturalism” (duoyuan zhuyi) seems to be a recent phenomenon that has culminated with, among other things, the election of the first President from the Taiwan independence minded opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). (Chun, 2001)

School textbooks are being rewritten to emphasize this new perspective:

Narrative of immigration plays a pivotal role in the multiculturalism discourse. In a school textbook entitled 'Understanding Taiwan’, Taiwan enters the stage as such: ‘Taiwan is an immigrant society, from the Stone Age to the present, people coming here across many different times and places. Before the largest number of Han arrived on Taiwan, Aborigines were already here’ (cited by Harrison: 2006: 195). It also teaches students that Taiwan’s history is characterised by a) multiple cultures; b) internationalisation; c) prosperous foreign trade; d) bravery, adventurousness, and endurance (Cheng, 2008)

The above predisposing factors have thus allowed a deeper penetration of globalist thinking than in, say, Japan. Nonetheless, globalism is gaining dominance throughout the world. It is perhaps an inevitable stage of capitalism where the business community has freed itself from the nation state and pursues solely its own self-interest:

Foreign labor in general is not a new phenomenon to global capitalism, which was in fact responsible for orchestrating the first major waves of ethnic migration in human history. However, the role of foreign labor has clearly been transformed by the current phase of transnational capitalism, characterized by disorganized flows of capital and labor, borderless economies and the withering away of nationalist protectionism of various sorts, not to mention the most recent evolution of supra-national economic zones, such as EEC and NAFTA. (Chun, 2001)

Yet East Asia is one region where we may see pushback. At first thought, this prospect seems unlikely. The local political and economic elites have converted massively to globalism. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be any possible ideology of opposition—other than communism, which is widely discredited even in Mainland China. To a large extent, this is what we see elsewhere: globalism has co-opted the entire political spectrum from the left to the right.

Chun (2001) nonetheless predicts that a movement of opposition will develop in Taiwan, ironically out of multicultural discourse, specifically its indigenist component. Although indigenism has primarily served to defend the native Austronesian tribes of eastern Taiwan, it is now also being used to portray the Taiwanese as an indigenous nation, in opposition to the People’s Republic of China. At a time when the PRC has embraced the global market economy, the Taiwanese political leadership is turning towards indigenist rhetoric as the sole remaining means of legitimizing their country’s existence.

According to Chun (2001), Taiwan was already showing all the signs of a “post-nation” by the 1990s: social atomization, disinterest in cultural and kinship affiliation, emergence of the market as the main organizing principle of society, etc. Multicultural/indigenist discourse can do nothing to push Taiwan farther in that direction, but it can do much to reawaken national consciousness. “At a deeper level, both (cosmopolitan) "transnationalism" and (indigenous) "multiculturalism" are in my opinion largely incompatible and mask an imminent future crisis” (Chun, 2001).

Globalism today enjoys a predominance in East Asia that is both monolithic and superficial. Although it has a stronger hold on the elites and on the general population than in the West, this adherence has no deep roots in the underlying culture. In the West, by contrast, globalism has been grafted onto a pre-existing tradition that is much more compatible. There is notably Christianity and its commitment to mission work throughout the world. There is also the emotional heritage of imperialism and colonialism. Although the West lost its colonies more than a half-century ago, many Westerners still feel connected to them and responsible for them.

This cultural substrate is largely, if not wholly, absent in East Asia. When, and if, pushback begins there, resistance will likely collapse after initially strong resistance.


Cheng, I. (2008). Immigrants and National Identity of Taiwan: A Preliminary Study on Multiculturalism Practice

Chun, A. (2001). The coming crisis of multiculturalism in “transnational” Taiwan, New Cultural Formations in an Era of Transnational Globalization, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, Oct 6-7, 2001

Kang, S.W. (2010). Multicultural education and the rights to education of migrant children in South Korea, Educational Review, 62(3), 287-300.


Walter said...

"In a global marketplace, there is a strong incentive to cut the cost of labor, either by outsourcing production or by insourcing workers. This two-way process will continue until wage rates are more or less the same throughout the world."

The operational phrase here perhaps is in a global marketplace. The US had the highest per capita wealth in the 1950s relative to the rest of the world. There was a tight labor market and this was good thing. Yet, this disparity didn't cause the immediate importation of labor. America at the time was very protectionist and still under the protection of the Immigration Act of 1924. In fact, it wasn't until the Immigration Act of 1965 that this course was changed and it still took at least a decade or two after that until you really saw the mass importation of cheap labor. By then, 1950s standards of living started to drop. As noted by numerous economists, American real wages haven't risen since the mid-1970s, when the US first started importing cheap labor.

Walter said...

The US is probably undergoing one of the most rapid demographic changes in the entire history of the world (for a country of its size). In the 1960 census, America was over 90% white / Diaspora European. Soon, whites / Diaspora Europeans will be a minority, and there will be a new majority of non-whites (mostly mestizos and blacks, but also some Asians).

I suspect that 100 years from now the US will look more like a Third World country than a Western nation. The 1950s standard of living will seem like a mythological past.

California is canary in the coal mine. In the 1950s, California had one of the highest standards of living in the US, some of the highest standardized test scores, etc. Now, in most indexes (e.g. standardized test scores), California is in the bottom four.

Walter said...

Anyway, my point of all this is that I hope North Asians don't make the same mistakes that the US did.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, my point of all this is that I hope North Asians don't make the same mistakes that the US did.

They’re losing their grip as well—just more slowly.

It remains to be seen whether they can delay the progression of the disease long enough to be able to perceive clearly its consequences in Euro territories—or whether their very perception will have become so dimmed by the disease that they are unable to learn from our mistakes.

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

As someone who lived in Taiwan (Taipei) for 5 months, and has also been to Taizhong, and Tainan, I can say most of this is not correct.

1) The multicultural rhetoric in Taiwan is not anything to do with Southeast Asian or Western immigrants.

It has to do with 3 types of Han Chinese and the aborginal Taiwanese.

The Han can be broken into two main groups. The Mainlanders (waisheng ren) who came with the Guo Ming dang (KMT) in 1949, fleeing the Mainland Communist but kicking their corrupt behinds were getting. They set up shop in Taiwan and then lorded over the local Han Chinese population and aboriginals believing they had been "culturally corrupted" by 50 years of Japanese rule (Taiwan had just been returned to Chinese control during the civil war between Nationalist and Communists, right after WWII). It was a "Aparteid Lite", the local people, most of whom could not speak Mandarin, as the MMainlanders were openly discriminated against in various goverornment and management roles.

So who are the others? They are what is called the Bensheng ren. Most are Hoklo speakers, Han Chinese who came to Taiwan starting around 500 years before from Fujian, but a huge inflex came in the wake of the Manchu Invasion of China (lead by Koxinga (Gou yin ye)). Just like the KMT centuries later, he thought he would first kick the Dutch out of Taiwan (which he did), then return to the Mainland and restore the Ming Dynasty, instead he died there and his followers stayed in Taiwan. Many Hakka (another branch of Han Chinese) also came. Combined they are now about 85% of the Taiwanese population. The Hoklos and the Hakkas have their own Chinese dialects, which are not mutually comprehendable with Mandarin. Even now on Taiwan (and I speak some Mandarin) you can hear "Taiwanese accents" basically people who did not grow up speaking Mandarin, it is very distict, and common outside of Taipei.

Lastly you have the Aboriginals, who are related to Malays and Filipinos. They have been there for thousands of years, they are now 2% of the population and mostly pushed up into mountainous areas by the constant Han invasions into the fertile West Taiwanese central plain. Many of the Taiwanese Hoklo's have mixed with the aboriginals as well.

So all this multiculturalism is about "Taiwanese" internal multiculturalism...since Taiwan is no longer a military dictatorship lead by the Mainlanders, and it is no longer illegal to speak the Hoklo language (also called Minnan hua, Taiyu, Hokkien)...they had to learn to live together and respect each other.

Also more respect is given to indigenous now, although many still say they are too dark, lazy, and drunks, many champion them because they see having some of their blood or something as being "real Taiwanese" and not "Chinese" (meaning a Chinese national). Almost all Taiwanese call themselves "ethnic Chinese" (hua ren) but most Taiwanese do not call themselves Zhongguo ren (Chinese nationals/passport holding Chinese) anymore, but in English we often confuse, because we only have one word for "Chinese" in the Chinese language there are several with overlaping meanings.

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

part ii

As far as "foreigners".

There are really two type.

Laowai (typically Western people, especially whites), they are also called waiguo penyou (foreign friends). They are usually older expats transferred there for their companies. Most are just young English teachers, because unlike HOng Kong or Singapore, if you can't speak fluent Mandarin there are few jobs there, besides some highly qualified engineering, programming (a niche being field by Indians), etc. Most Taiwanese approve of these foreigners. Most Indians do not marry locals and go home after two year contracts, they are almost all men, and most, in my experience are not dating Taiwanese women. In fact I would say more blacks in Taiwan (the few their are) have Taiwanese girlfriends, but that is probably due to the fact many Indian men will have arranged marriages back home or due to cultural/religious reasons want to marry an Indian woman.

the other group is "Wai Lao" this means "foreign laborer", they are the Southeast Asians, mainly, and they are typically ignored or looked down on. Some marry poorer Taiwanese farmers or fishermen in the south, but more Taiwanese marry Mainland Chinese than Filipino or Vietnamese women, because although their are cultural differences, there are less far less (and little to no language barrier).

Ther are other groups, like subSahara Africans, etc but so few it hardly matters.

I would say the Overseas Chinese returnees are a separate group, but most are just English teachers (English teaching in Taiwan pays about as much as an entry level engineer will get paid)...many of the returnees cannot read/write Mandarin, but can speak, they are usually holding American or Canadian passports (some Aussies too).

So I think your storyline is a bit much, the situation is not that extreme in Taiwan.

IN Taipei, most of the "Wai Lao" live around an area know as the "Combat Zone" near Mingqian West Rd MRt or Shuanglian MRT. They group together in "ethnic ghettos", run small businesses as well.

No one is thinking of multiculturalism in Taiwan and thinking that means Southeast Asians or white folks. haha It is still quite an ethno-centric society, most people agreeing at least they are "ethnic Chinese" even if their is "family infighting"...

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

The only place in Asia that is really multicultural from a Western sense (specifically north American, because I don't believe most of Europe is multicultural at all, but for 2 or 3 nations)...Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and I would also maybe say Hong Kong, but that is a stretch.

I am African American and live in Singapore. I've also lived in Switzerland, Japan, and China.

Kiwiguy said...

***many Westerners still feel connected to them and responsible for them.***

They feel responsible for them, but in a guilty manner. They miss the point that their intervention actually provided excellent governance and infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Wikipedia says,

"South Korea is one of the most ethnically homogeneous societies in the world, with more than 99% of inhabitants having Korean ethnicity"

How does that jive with a multicultural South Korea? It sounds like they are extremely homogeneous.

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

It means 99% of citizens, actually Korea has more foreign immigrants/workers than Japan, the issue is that they are not citizens.

Peter Frost said...

Uncle Tom,

"The nativity composition of the Taiwan population has changed substantially since 1980, which resulted in one in six children being born to foreign-born mothers in 2004."

Lower early neonatal mortality among singletons in transnational marriage families: Taiwan Birth Registry.

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...


Where are most of these foreign mothers from? Mainland China? Vietnam? In the case of both the children will look like the native population.

Especially in the case of the former, they will also grow up with two Mandarin speaking parents and be pure Han Chinese.

There are Filipinos too, and yeah some of those kids will stand out, but not all. I knew some Filipinos in Taipei, all but one were half or full ethnic Chinese who grew up in the Philippines.

And since Chinese culture is highly patriarchal, if the kids don't stand out, and have a Chinese name, a Chinese father, they will be considered Chinese by the vast majority of people, unless they state otherwise.

Living in Taiwan (and I speak intermediate Mandarin) you just don't see a push for multi-culturalism, in fact it is the opposite, many news rags like Apple Daily are always talking about how foreigners are doing some "evil". Usually in Taiwan when they say "foreign" in English or Chinese they mean a Western. Foreign Asians are also foreign, but largely ignored by the general population, but for Japanese (who are looked up too, Koreans tend to get a mixed reaction, and the rest looked down on).

Anonymous said...

A Filipina (advanced by "conservative" Saenuri Party) recently became the first naturalized Korean to win a seat in parliament.

Online pushback:

Peter Frost said...

Uncle Tom,

Most of those mothers are Southeast Asians (Filipinas, Vietnamese, Indonesians, etc.).

Yes, there are ethnic Chinese immigrants in Taiwan (overseas Chinese, mainlanders, etc), but they typically have low fertility. The pattern in Taiwan is probably similar to what we see in South Korea, i.e., Southeast Asians contribute disproportionately because their culture favors higher fertility.

I'm not arguing that Taiwan is as far down the road to population replacement as South Korea. My impression is that Taiwan is where South Korea was 15 years ago. But I just don't see many barriers - ideological, political, whatever - to Taiwan following the same path.

Rocha said...

With fertility going down execpt in africa i wonder how much damage can Asia do to itself before the flood recedes.

Anonymous said...

So the issue is that 99% of South Korean citizens are Korean, but there is a sizable number of Asian non-Koreans there as workers?

But the numbers I see put this at around a million workers, or %2 of the population. I've still not getting how Korea is going Multicultural. The number of foreign workers is a lot smaller than just our percentage of mexican illegal aliens, and the Koreans could kick them out at any time. What am I missing?

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

Well I supposed also that the pure ethnic Korean population is declining rapidly due to a very low birth rate (lack of marriage or just not having more than one kid).

I think it is a little drastic to say going "multi-cultural" but multi-ethnic in a 'biological sense" yes.

Most of the issue is Korean men marrying foreign women (almost all foreign Asians) and having kids with them...but all these kids, in such a paternalistic/confucianist culture are raised as Koreans, because their father is Korean.

I doubt a kid who is half Filipina/Korean father is going to say he is Filipino-Korean. He will just say Korean, until questioned.

Anonymous said...

Here's a recent article on this issue:

"At the center of the civic and media discussion has been a spate of race-tinged criticism and false rumors spreading on Korean Internet sites about Jasmine Lee, the Filipina-Korean who joined the Parliament as a proportional representative from the New Frontier Party after its victory last week.

The vitriol has caused a rare alignment in the South Korean media – both the Chosun Ilbo, the country’s biggest paper and leading right-wing voice, and the Hankyoreh, the biggest media force on the political left, published strongly-worded editorials smacking down the apparent racism."

Anonymous said...

It just seems like the actual data supports South Korean being an highly homogeneous society (if Wikipedia is to be trusted!). Everyone is saying Korean men are marrying all kinds of foreign women, but where is the evidence? Apparently it isn't showing up in any census yet.

Is it just that South Korea is more multicultural by Asian standards? I thought the assertion by Evo here was that they were going multicultural, maybe I misunderstood. This is curious to me, because I don't know of any non-White society that is truly taking mass immigration.

Anonymous said...

Here's a recent article on this issue:

There's a basic imperial dynamic behind this.

Local, provincial elites are co-opted by the "empire", "globalization", whatever you want to call it and increasingly "defect" against local interests. They are offered wealth, position, prestige, etc. (e.g. Jim Yong Kim) in exchange. They also serve to replace native populations closer to the center of the empire (in this case white Americans or Westerners) in certain strata of society since they are more likely to be loyal to the empire rather than to more local interests in the American environment, where they don't really have any ties. Whereas white American populations in those strata may end up being less loyal to empire, globalization, etc. and favor local interests to which they have ties.

This is good for empire/globalization because it consolidates more loyal components in the center and more loyal, less threatening subjects in the provinces. Population replacement and dilution reduces nations and their ability to develop strong nation-states that might be independent of and threaten empire/globalization.

On net, in the long run this is probably bad for the Koreans because they're losing their territory in exchange for serving cosmopolitan interests in a more cosmopolitan environment that is going to be dominated and controlled by more cosmopolitan demographies than Koreans. This is also the case for most white demographies in America and Europe.

Anonymous said...

Jeffery, from Peter's last post:

In 2010, 10 percent of married couples were interracial, an increase from four percent in 2000, according to Statistics Korea. The prevalence of interracial couples is dramatically higher in rural areas. About 40 percent of married couples in Korean rural areas are interracial couples; it is projected that biracial children will represent about 50 percent of rural children in 2020

And if you're going to say something about Chinese and South-East Asians not being "another race", please. I regard them as Europeans are apt to regard Arabs and northern Sudanese mulattoes, and affirm our distinctness in character, capability, and of course physical appearance. I don't say this out of blinkered chauvinism or a conviction in Korean superiority -- Korean cultural accomplishment amounts to slavish imitation of the Chinese, pride in a Venusian orbit in the Sinocentric solar system, and today totally shameless worship of Mammon and the most vulgar extrusions of the same West that militarily occupies us. (The "fanatical Christianity" you sometimes hear about wouldn't be to our credit even if it were real, but in truth it's mostly cargo-cultism. I don't know whether that's better or worse.) Probably a race that really deserves survival wouldn't have let itself be brutalized by history as ours has.

"Hate speech" and officially sanctioned multiculti is already here, soon things will be worse than in the UK (the UK of 56 days' imprisonment for 'racist tweets'):

Ben10 said...

(Of note, there are numerous stories from WWII western veterans who report superiority feelings in the japanese army, for example japanese soldiers thought that american would not be able to fight in the jungle islands)

All this is very interesting, but if it's like in European history, the sad truth is that the wish of 'We, the People..." has little to do with the course of the events.

French revolution: Teachers (= leftist, needless to mention) teach a glorious story. Wrong. Historians revealed that the revolution was wanted and organised by a few rich elite with the support of the bourgeoisie. The majority of the common people opposed it, but this majority was too apathic however, and a few manipulated agitators lead the revolutionary movements in Paris. After a few years of 'revolution for and by the People', the atrocities commited by a couple of psychopathic thugs empowered by the merchants had changed that: incredibly, the apathy in the general population had stopped! NOBODY in France(except the few elite) wanted to hear again about a Republic! People it (cf. the so-called 'terror' periods of the revolution). Zelous french teachers omitt to mention this embarassing detail, rarely reported by historians. But that explains the easy rise of the Napoleonic Empire and the come back of the monarchy soon after.

The franco-prussian war of 1870? manipulation again to the exclusive profit of the money maker. Historians point that the french emperor Napoleon III was AGAINST the war. It is somehow counterintuitive, according to modern main stream media, to consider the non-elected Kings and Empereur as the true representant of the people wishes and interests, but that's the way it was.

WWI? Documents clearly show that the prussian emperor Wilhelm II was, again, AGAINST the war and that he tried everything to stop it. On the other hand, a gang of affairists in France manipulated the opinion to go for it. Apparantly, It was a matter of survival for french bussinessmen who were scared of the rising socialism and of an 'income tax' proposal, no kidding.

In every case, the socio-economic context and the will of the population has almost nothing to do with the course of the events. The Elite has its own agenda and always pushes for more 'republic and more democracy' to get the best leverage on the opinion.
Another recent example: the arab revolutions.

So now my question is: what are the Interests of the asian ruling class ? if war is good for them, then war it will be.

Peter Frost said...


The Korean census doesn't provide data on ethnicity. The only official data we have is the number of 'foreigners' or 'foreign residents.' A foreign-born person with Korean citizenship doesn't appear in the official statistics. The same goes for his/her Korean-born children.

I discussed these issues in my previous post. My impression is that the ethnic Korean population is already down to 92-94% and falling rapidly. This proportion is much lower if we look at newborn Koreans.

Population replacement is proceeding quickly for several reasons:

1. Very low fertility rate among ethnic Koreans (almost 1.0 children per woman).

2. Higher fertility among non-Korean immigrants

3. Tendency of immigrants to settle in rural areas where opportunities for having large families are greater.

4. Much higher rate of illegal immigration (and laxer deportation procedures) than in other East Asian countries.

5. Lack of public education about the demographic issues at stake. Misleading government statistics. 'Media blackout', etc.

Uncle Tom,

Actually, the children of Korean biracial families tend to identify more with their mothers than with their fathers. This is a general phenomenon. Children spend more time with their mothers than with their fathers.

We can speculate back and forth over the long-term consequences. My position is that the burden of proof should be on those who advocate major change, not on those who wish to preserve things as they are.

I don't think that cultural assimilation is the main problem. The children of foreign-born mothers show learning deficits that are strongest in those subjects that require the least proficiency in Korean language and social skills, i.e., that require abstraction and memorization. Is social exclusion the cause? I'm not so sure.


Interesting. I was hoping to get comments from a South Korean reader. Are there alternative media (blogs, podcasts) that can inform South Koreans about the situation in their country? A well designed blog, with regular content, can make a big difference.

If necessary, a blog can be located in another country if the local laws are too strict.


History is written by victors.

Anonymous said...

Peter and Others,

Thanks for your patient explanation. I had missed the part of the South Korean census not taking race (or ethnicity) into account. If this ethnic transition is true, I must say, it provides an objective case to study (one in which I have no ethnic kin involved). And I recoil at seeing Koreans dispossessed in their own home. I've heard the South Korean authorities are cracking down on "racist" sentiment. It will be interesting to see how this all works out.

They do remain more ethnically homogeneous than America was in 1965 (roughly 90% White). And even that 90% of Whites had an ethnic variety of Italians, Germans, English and others. If Korea is still 92% ethnic Korean, it still seems fairly high. But apparently a tipping point will be reached unless something is done.

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...


Why does something need to be done? Are Korean voters not intelligent adults in a multi-party democracy? Cannot they not make decisions and vote politicians who promote policies they don't like out of office?

If Koreans do not like the present situation, Korea is quite a nationalist nation, they will surely stop the current policy.

Much of this is Korean people (men) wanting wives, so marrying foreign women. Many Korean women no longer want to marry or don't want to have kids. They especially do not care to marry rice farmers.

You want to ban freedom to marry? Is it better for Korea's population to collapses?

Instead of looking at this through your chauvinist Western racial lenses, why not look and see what Koreans think. What are the opinion polls in Korea?

Anonymous said...


You place too much faith in the democratic process. Really what this all comes down to is the degree of political transparency in korea. You assume that multiculturalism is an expression of the will of the people; however this may or may not be the case. I for one get the impression it is being imposed from on high, the same way that it is being implemented in western countries. Additionally with regards to intelligent, educated people; there are plenty of educated and intelligent people in the united states, but that doesn't prevent them from voting for stupid policies.

"Much of this is Korean people (men) wanting wives, so marrying foreign women. Many Korean women no longer want to marry or don't want to have kids. They especially do not care to marry rice farmers.

Instead of looking at this through your chauvinist Western racial lenses, why not look and see what Koreans think."

You state that many korean women no longer want to marry or don't want to have kids, especially when it comes to marrying rice farmers. This is a reasonable assertion, however you go on to state that jefferey should stop looking at things through a chauvinist western racial lens; this is the part where the irony is unbearable. You bash jefferey for looking at things from an overly western POV and defend korea's current direction, but the truth of the matter is that korea's current quandry is entirely a result of uncritically imbibing western thought and policies. One small example is how you said that korean women increasingly don't want to marry, or to have kids, however this is actually a pretty clearcut outcome of the proliferation of western ideas of gender equality in korea; therefore one could say that korea's issue of lonely rice farmers was tangentially exacerbated by western ideologies, and now in order to fix that problem, more broken western ideologies and going to be implemented. Two wrongs never make a right.

As a brief aside, I have noticed in the past couple of years that in korean movies there has been a disturbing shift in content. I remember only six to seven years ago that korean movies seemed fairly original, thoughtful, and to a degree wholesome; but now it seems like a lot of what is coming out is pretty bad/subversive on the whole. In particular one recurring theme I have noticed is the increasing presence of movies that pretty overtly glorify "grrrl power", or "eat, pray, love" kind of themes. Pretty much the kind of movie where the woman is portrayed as being independent, bossy, in charge, and doing what she wants without little consequence. That being said, if we are starting to see these kind of movies being released, one can only imagine what is being taught in their schools. Its quite concerning to me, especially as a person of korean descent. Its quite depressing seeing korea on all fours like a common dog trying its hardest to cozy up to the west, and become part of the big boys club. Korea really has no idea its in over its head...

Anonymous said...

This is the other Korean commenter.

The pervasiveness of outmarriage in rural areas is due to unprecedented outflows of people into urban centers like the sprawling Seoul metropolitan area in the past few decades, enough to effectively depopulate great expanses of countryside. A common perception today is that the men left remaining in rural areas are devoid of capability and prospects -- or otherwise they would have "made it" elsewhere. And maybe there's something to that, but current trends will mean the irreparably exacerbation and racialization of these already-severe socioeconomic divides. At any rate, the materialism of the typical Korean woman today is such that most of these men have literally zero prospect of marriage to a fellow Korean.

This would be problematic enough on its own, but rural regions of South Korea are the only places even close to replacement-level fertility (South Jeolla Province at 1.54 to Seoul at 1.02)....

Huge sectors of the so-called elites have wholeheartedly embraced ideals of "connectivity" and "progressive thinking" -- which amounts to lowered restrictions to the arrival and permanent residency of foreigners and elimination of "backwards" protectionist agricultural policies. Not only that -- Korean firms, in response to food insecurity concerns -- are themselves hoping to flood the market with foreign produce grown on gigantic tracts of land leased in the developing world (like the now-imploded deal Daewoo concluded for over 3 million acres of farmland in Madagascar, which helped precipitate the coup against Ravalomanana). Will this do anything other than exacerbate the plight of Korean farmers? The increasingly cosmopolitan-minded Korean ruling class is hugely complicit in the demographic disaster and, because of its inability to say no to the outside world either in free trade or in "multiculturalism", will make it irreversible.

Anonymous said...

It looks like in 2009 about 10% of Korean marriages were to foreigners according to government statistics. Most of them seem to be Chinese or Vietnamese. Only about 3,000 Cambodians and 1,000 Indonesians (net) enter the country per year.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it looks like you had that statistic in your last post already. Well, that's about 8 minutes of research I'd like back.

Anonymous said...

Roll eyes. I don't believe Korean news reports of massive or even small immigration into the country. I think it's a ploy to get Western nations off their back over their monotone country and racism toward foreigners and to present a friendly environment for Western companies to set up business there. I also don't believe their birthrate statistics at all. They supposedly have had low birthrates for many years yet their population continues to grow. Germany supposedly with a higher birthrate and higher immigration rate has a population in decline. The numbers don't add up for the Koreans. Other East Asian countries do the same thing with manipulating statistics. Even if immigration is larger than it was 10 years ago it's not going to affect Korea because the immigrants are East Asian and at any time the Korean government can deport them like the Japanese did following the the recession in 2007-2008. "Face" is a very important concept among East Asians. Right now, they are presenting a face TO Westerners as a welcoming modern multicultural country.

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

Shocking Stats about Taiwan...but maybe not so shocking...

As I said most of the people in Taiwan marrying foreigners are marrying Asians from neighboring nations with similar cultures (Japan, Greater China, and Vietnam).

Anonymous said...

I think it's a ploy to get Western nations off their back over their monotone country and racism toward foreigners and to present a friendly environment for Western companies to set up business there.

That doesn't really make sense since Western multinationals and corporate culture today are major vectors for globalism and Cultural Marxism.

"IN LATE September, the South Korean arm of IBM, an American computing multinational, put out an advertisement soliciting applicants for a round of job vacancies. The text was standard fare in every aspect except one: sexual minorities—gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people—were to be given “extra points” in the screening process, according to Asia Kyeongjae, a South Korean financial newspaper."

Anonymous said...


"Foreign multinationals in South Korea have learned to exploit large local firms’ prejudices by seeking to hire talented women who would otherwise struggle to find decent jobs. Now that this “gender arbitrage” gap is narrowing, sexual minorities could be next on the list."

Anonymous said...

The South Korean men taking SE Asian wives thing is analogous to Western men taking Asian wives recently.

Over the past generation or two in the West, feminism has led to many women pursuing careers which have occupied many of their fertile years. This has reduced the supply of available, fertile, marriageable young women. They have been monetized, provided subsistence and wealth by employers and the government. Their social status relative to Western men has been raised. And since women prefer men with greater wealth and status than themselves, this has reduced the supply of fertile, marriageable young women available to men even further. Many of these women end up childless since if they're unable to snag a wealthy or high status male their instincts have trouble accepting a fertile relationship with regular men whose status has been rendered relatively lower in the current environment. And non-Western men taking Western women and wives has reduced the supply as well.

As a result some Western men have been turning to Asian women.

This situation has also started to develop in East Asia, and there is a decline in the supply of available, fertile, marriageable young women, with the decline compounded further by some Western men having to turn to Asian women.

As a result some South Korean have been turning to SE Asian women.

This environment is probably imposing a major selection event worldwide. For example, the kinds of women who are most susceptible to and targeted by things like feminism and thus end up childless or with very low fertility are likely being rapidly selected out.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 21 April 5:05, join the real world. American white women have the lowest employment rate of any group recorded by the US government while East Asian women have the highest even higher than their counterpart East Asian men. The employment gap is the largest among white men and women and smallest among East Asians. White men prefer their partners to stay home that is why white women have the lowest employment rate. Work environment is a place to find a partner and since East Asian women are more likely to be in the workforce they come into contact with white men.

East Asian women are not passive or docile. That's a myth. What I see as the real reasons some white men are partnering with East Asians is obsesity and workplace proximity. White women are more likely to be overweight. White men prefer thin women.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't comparing contemporary female employment rates among different races in the US. That's not relevant to my point regarding change in the West over the past couple of generations.

The supply of fertile, marriageable young white women available to regular white men to marry has fallen. This is the major driver behind things like white men marrying Asian women.

If young white women are being herded into certain areas during their fertile, marriageable years, and there's been a change in social relations such that social status of white women relative to white men has risen, then the supply of fertile, marriageable young white women available to many regular white men will have fallen.

A white guy who is surrounded by Asian, and not white, women at work, and who has less of a social status advantage relative to the white women he might encounter outside of work than he might have enjoyed a couple of generations ago, has fewer young white women available to marry than he would have in the past.