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io9 looks at the surprising things we are continuing to learn from Tycho's supernova, SN 1572. https://gizmodo.com/a-famous-supernovas-mysteries-are-still-unraveling-hund-1818816208

Anthrodendum has a thoughtful interview between two anthropologists about their experiences as ethnographers. https://savageminds.org/2017/09/25/explaining-ethnography-in-the-field-a-conversation-between-pasang-yangjee-sherpa-and-carole-mcgranahan/

Centauri Dreams reports on the LIGO/VIRGO detection of gravitational wave #GW170814 https://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=38557
D-Brief also notes the detection of #GW170814 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/09/27/gravitational-wave-virgo/
as does Starts With A Bang https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/09/27/ligo-virgo-detects-the-first-three-detector-gravitational-wave/

The Crux notes how ancient rocks on the Québec-Labrador frontier have preserved traces of very early life. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2017/09/27/earth-oldest-rocks-life/

D-Brief notes the potential discovery of a biomarker for CTE, something that may well help professional athletes. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/09/27/cte-biomarker/

Dangerous Minds looks at the time the Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minelli collaborated on an album. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/results_when_the_pet_shop_boys_met_liza_minnelli

The Dragon's Gaze looks at evidence that a sub-Saturn gas giant is forming around T Tauri star TW Hydrae. http://thedragonsgaze.blogspot.ca/2017/09/tw-hydrae-is-forming-subsaturn-gas-giant.html

Hornet Stories looks at the four lessons a professor took from gay porn, about sexuality and its representation. https://hornetapp.com/stories/gay-porn-professor/

Language Log looks at how Joseon Korea once used the wrong Chinese dialect to talk officially to China. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34693

Lawyers, Guns and Money notes an odd defense of Hugh Hefner by a conservative. http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/09/hugh-hefner-good-now

The LRB Blog notes the oddly convention nature of Hugh Hefner. https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/09/28/august-kleinzahler/the-conventional-mr-hefner/

The Map Room Blog argues that faults found with fantasy maps actually reflect deeper issues with fantasy literature. http://www.maproomblog.com/2017/09/the-territory-is-not-the-map/

Marginal Revolution notes that IBM employs more people In India than in the United States.
http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/09/india-fact-day-3.html

The NYR Daily notes a new art exhibition of work by Peter Saul dealing with Trump. http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/09/27/a-carnival-of-desecration-peter-saul-trump/

The Planetary Society Blog notes the Earth pictures taken by the OSIRIS-REx probe. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2017/0928-earth-flyby-osiris-rex.html

The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes a worrying new analysis justifying an American strike on North Korea, despite Seoul. http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2017/09/the-hawks-make-their-case-to-fight-north-korea.html

Drew Rowsome notes an amusing-sounding mystery, Undercover, playing at the Tarragon. http://drewrowsome.blogspot.ca/2017/09/undercover-case-of-comic-mystery.html

Towleroad links to fascinating ethnographic work of LGBT members of American street gangs. How do they do it? http://www.towleroad.com/2017/09/gay-gang/
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  • Singapore, with ultra-low fertility and immigration controversies, is set to face rapid population aging.

  • Shenzhen, the city on the Chinese border with Hong Kong explicitly made after its neighbour, is surpassing its model.

  • Well-to-do Chinese immigrants in Hong Kong are worsening that city-state's real estate crunch.

  • Is China set to shift its model of economic growth to one favouring productivity and consumption in its megacities? Livemint looks at the data.

  • Susan Crawford writes for Wired about how the city government of Seoul is trying to use big data to make things better.

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  • Centauri Dreams notes one source suggesting red dwarf stars may produce too little ultraviolet to spark life on their planets.

  • Hornet Stories notes how LGBTQ Dreamers will be hit badly by the repeal of DACA.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money approves of Frederick Crews' critical takedown of Freud as a scientist.

  • The LRB Blog looks at a new South Korean film examining the Gwangju massacre of 1980.

  • The NYR Daily notes that China seems set to head into a new era of strict censorship, with calamitous results.

  • The Planetary Society Blog considers the 40th anniversary of the Voyagers in the light of the Pale Blue Dot of Carl Sagan.

  • The Signal reports that, for archivists' purposes, online newspaper sites are actually very poorly organized.

  • At Spacing, Adam Bunch notes how Upper Canadian governor John Simcoe's abolition of slavery was not quite that.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the continued official contortions around Circassian history in Russia.

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  • The anthropology group blog Savage Minds now has a new name, Anthrodendum.

  • Anthropology.net reports on the first major study of ancient African human DNA. New history is revealed.

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reports on how gravitational lensing led to the identification of a single star nine billion light-years away. (This is a record.)

  • Centauri Dreams reports the possible detection of a debris disk around pulsar Geminga, augury of future planets perhaps?

  • Dangerous Minds reports on Seoul's Haesindang Park, a park literally full of penises--phallic symbols, at least.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes one analysis arguing for the plausibility of unmanned probes using imaginable technology reaching the ten nearest stars in a century.

  • Imageo shares photos from space of the southern California wildfires.

  • Language Hat shares some stirring poetry in Scots.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the scale of child labour in North Carolina's farm sector.

  • Marginal Revolution thinks that American observers of Putin think, far too much, that he actually has a plan. The degree of chaos in Russia's affairs is apparently being underestimated.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the unsettling rural Americana of photographer Gregory Crewdson.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Zhirinovsky's plan for a sweeping Russian annexation of Ukraine, leaving only the northwest independent.

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  • Anthropology.net notes on how a fossil tooth led eventually to the identification of the fourth Denisovan individual known.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about reasons for people to travel solo.

  • The Dragon's Tales' Will Baird notes that the INF Treaty is on the verge of collapse.

  • Mathew Ingram uses a recent GIF of Trump with the Polish president's wife to show how these lie and mislead.

  • Joe. My. God. notes a sharp collapse in London's LGBT venues--more than half in the past decade!

  • Marginal Revolution reports on British actors who take up tutoring as a second job to support their careers.

  • The NYR Daily takes a look at the latest concerns of South Koreans regarding their northern neighbour.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw takes issue with proposed Australian government surveillance of the local Internet.

  • Progressive Download's John Farrell dissects the origins of the false claim that Copernicus was a Catholic priest.

  • Unicorn Booty has a fantastic interview with a scholar, Jamie Bernthal, who makes a case for queer content in Agatha Christie.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that methane bubble explosions in Siberia could wreck Russian pipelines.

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  • blogTO notes a threat to some of Liberty Village's historic buildings through development.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at planetary formation around close binary SDSS 1557, which includes a white dwarf.

  • False Steps' Paul Drye announces a new book project, They Played the Game, which looks at how different baseball players overlooked in our history might have become stars had things gone differently.

  • Language Hat looks at the linguistic differences between the two Koreas.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the exploitation of Syrian refugees by Turkish garment manufacturers.

  • The LRB Blog examines the phenomenon of myth-making regarding Sweden.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a website sharing the stories of cartographers.

  • The NYRB Daily notes the chaos that Trump will be bringing to American immigration law.

  • Peter Rukavina talks about his experience as a library hacker.

  • Supernova Condensate is optimistic about the potential of Space X to actually inaugurate an era of space tourism.

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  • Anthropology.net describes an effort to digitize tapes recording Navajo oral history.

  • Centauri Dreams remembers Vera Rubin.

  • D-Brief looks
  • Dangerous Minds shares a 1984 TV clip featuring George Michael and Morrissey talking about Joy Division.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting a gas giant exoplanet might be indicated by a protoplanetary disk.

  • Language Log reports on how Chinese netizens are criticizing pollution through the mockery of official slogans.

  • Language Hat looks at the question of how the word "pecan" is pronounced.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues political science is not a science at all, like economics.

  • The NYRB Daily notes that the shared inability of Trump and Putin to plan things and account for unexpected consequences does not lend itself to optimism.

  • Window on Euruasia looks at Tatarstan's issues with regional transfer funding in Russia and shares an apocalyptic account of what will happen to Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence.

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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about the importance of truth in journalism.

  • Crooked Timber looks at the example of Trump and wonders why that kind of charismatic authoritarianism is popular.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a model of the inner debris disk of HR 8799.

  • Far Outliers looks at the cultural divergences between North and South Koreans.

  • Language Hat looks at the complexities of translating the obscenities of the Marquis de Sade.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the collapse of unions and makes a limited defense of Castro.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a plan in the United States to make social science research more productive.

  • The NYRB Daily shares Masha Gessen's article talking about the hard choices she had to make in Putin's Russia and their relevance to the United States.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia's Ukrainian policy may be self-destructive.

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  • 'Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about when it is appropriate to judge a book by its blurb.

  • Beyond the Beyond examines the remarkable scandal in South Korea involving with the cult and its control over the country's president.

  • blogTO notes unreasonably warm weather in Toronto this November.

  • Dangerous Minds shares a corporate sales video from the early 1990s for Prince's studio.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the effect of Proxima Centauri on planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.

  • The Extremo Files notes unorthodox ways of finding life.

  • Language Log talks about the language around Scotland and Northern Ireland and their relationship as complicated by Brexit.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting inheritances reduce inequality.

  • Savage Minds talks about an anarchist archaeology.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers a controversy at the Library of Congress.

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Torontoist's Emily Macrae reports on what lessons, positive and negative, Toronto can take from Seoul's bringing a buried waterway to the surface.

Today, the Cheonggyecheon stream flows through almost 11 kilometres of downtown Seoul, but it spent much of the last century covered in concrete. As the city grew, the stream became increasingly polluted, until it was paved over in 1958.

When an expressway was built along the stream’s course in 1971, it seemed like local politicians had literally prioritized the circulation of vehicles over the water cycle.

However, between 2003 and 2005, the city invested $900 million (U.S.) to restore the stream and remove the elevated highway. Today, water once again winds through the downtown while the source is anchored by a large public plaza.

[. . .]

From an environmental perspective, the stream is only a partial victory. As activist and academic Eunseon Park explains, the stream bed is made of concrete, which limits integration with surrounding ecosystems and contributes to an expensive algae problem.

Socially, the project lacked public consultation and was instead pushed through by the mayor, intent on cementing his legacy before entering national politics.
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  • Bloomberg notes Venezuela's hopes for an oil price at $US 50, looks at Labour keeping the current London mayor's seat, observes the vulnerability of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and warns of a possible drought in the US Corn Belt.

  • Bloomberg View notes the continuing fragmentation of the Orthodox Church, and suggests Putin might accept a partial ban on Russian athletes at the Olympics.

  • CBC looks at Russia's state-supported soccer hooliganism.

  • MacLean's notes Florida theme parks' concerns re: alligator attacks, and notes how homophobia complicates the grieving process for survivors of the Orlando shooting victims.

  • National Geographic looks at the logic chopping behind South Korea's whale hunt, and observes that some coral reefs have coped.

  • The National Post notes Russia's professed interest in improved relations with Canada.

  • Open Democracy frames the Orlando shooting in the context of an international campaign by ISIS.

  • The Toronto Star suggests Portugal's decriminalization of drugs is a model for Canada.

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  • Bloomberg notes the rise of populism in Mexico, looks at how Europe is losing its reputation as a renewable energy leader, looks at political protest in Zimbabwe, and looks at changing habits of Saudi oil ministers.

  • Bloomberg View notes the politicization of the Israeli army, looks at an effort to smuggle Korean pop culture into North Korea, and considers strategies to encourage Japanese to have more children.

  • The Globe and Mail considers the risky strategy of marijuana growers, who hope to get the government to back down as they do their thing before legalization.

  • MacLean's notes that the outcry over the shooting of the gorilla in the Cleveland zoo is misconceived, and reports on Kamal al-Solaylee's book about being brown.

  • NOW Toronto notes that one argument raised against letting permanent residents vote in Toronto is that Donald Trump allegedly has an apartment here. (Wrong, on multiple grounds.)

  • Open Democracy looks at how British authoritarianism is restrained by the European Union.

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  • Bloomberg notes the defection of 13 North Korean workers at an overseas restaurant to the South, reports that Venezuela has declared Friday a holiday to try to save on power consumption, wonders if low oil prices will hurt the Philippines through diminished remittances from the Middle East, notes that Russian efforts at import substitution are failing, and argues against a $15 minimum wage in the United States.

  • The Inter Press Service reports on how forests can help solve urban water scarcity issues.

  • MacLean's notes the general attack in Alberta on Mulcair, from the NDP and from the Wildrose Party.

  • The National Post notes the export of old homes from British Columbia to the United States, and looks at how Russia's targeting of terrorists' families works out.

  • The Dragon's Tales linked to this PNAS article speculating as to why Mars is so small relative to Earth.

  • Wired notes how a study that was product of fraud ended up apparently being confirmed by research conducted by the same whistleblowers. How tragic for the first author.

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  • The Atlantic's James Parker explains the unique power of the lyrics of David Bowie.

  • Asia Times notes how the Korean Wave is an issue among some Vietnamese, who remember South Korean military atrocities during the Vietnam War.

  • The Toronto Star looks at the legacy of Toronto's Hammy the Hamster.

  • Northeasternontario.com explores the legacy of northern Ontario's Highway Book Shop.

  • The Inter Press Service features an opinion piece on the need to decolonize education, starting from the Rhodes Must Fall movement in South Africa.

  • Open Democracy describes, from the Russian and the Ukrainian perspectives, just how badly Russia-Ukraine cultural relations have fallen since 2014.

  • Vulture features an insightful interview with RuPaul on, among other things, drag and contemporary gay culture.

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Heejin Kim of Bloomberg notes that Chinese upset at the South Korean deployment of an anti-missile defense system might derail the two countries' close relationship.

South Korean consumer shares, 2015’s stock-market darlings as tourists from China flocked to Seoul department stores, are now among the nation’s worst performers this year as a missile spat cools relations between the neighbors.

A measure of such companies on the MSCI Korea Index has tumbled 5.9 percent in 2016 through Wednesday after its best annual gain in a decade sent valuations to a four-year high relative to the broader gauge. Orion Corp., a confectioner that earns more than half its revenue in China, and cosmetics maker Amorepacific Corp. are among the biggest decliners as the U.S. and South Korea consider installing the Thaad missile-defense system on the peninsula.

Policy makers in Beijing have objected, saying the shield designed to protect against North Korea’s nuclear threat covers more Chinese territory than the Koreas combined. Kee Hosam, a money manager at Dongbu Asset Management Co., recalls how Japanese stocks were sold off in 2012 amid a spat with China over islands in the East China Sea. The suspension of government-level exchanges or trade sanctions have been used in similar disputes.

“We can’t help worrying about China’s response,” said Seoul-based Kee, who helps oversee $10.6 billion in assets and has offloaded consumer plays linked to China from his portfolio. “We are concerned an unexpected issue could break out due to the conflict over Thaad.”
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Bloomberg's Kyungji Cho examines how South Korea has become one of the major investors in American office towers, concentrating particularly in New York City and San Francisco. For all of South Korea's recent growth, the United States is still a preferred destination for investors.

South Korea’s institutional investors are putting money in debt to buy Manhattan and San Francisco skyscrapers as they flee record-low bond yields and falling shares at home.

A group of Korean insurance companies is investing about $220 million in a mezzanine loan, which is repaid after senior debt in case of a default, for the 54-story AXA Equitable Center at 787 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan this month, people familiar with the matter said last week. The Teachers’ Pension is underwriting a combined $100 million mezzanine debt along with other domestic funds for the 32-story Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco, the fund’s first investment abroad in such loans.

Korea, with an aging population and a national pension fund with 507 trillion won ($414.2 billion) in assets, was the fourth-biggest foreign investor in U.S. offices last year, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. data. Driving the foray abroad are 10-year won sovereign yields that dropped 60 basis points in the past year and a benchmark share index that lost 3 percent.

“It’s hard to make money from the stock or bond market,’’ said Kim Chang Ho, the Seoul-based head of the global alternative investment team at Teachers’ Pension, the nation’s second-largest public retirement fund with 12.8 trillion won of assets. “Real estate mezzanine debt is relatively safe compared with equity investment while offering higher yields than senior loans. It’s not easy to secure these deals given they’re scarce and the competition among investors is heating up.’’
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Bloomberg's Sam Kim notes the continued breakdown of inter-Korean relations, as South Korea pulls out of the Kaesong industrial park in the north. A more recent news report suggested the North nationalized the holdings of the South there.

South Korea is pulling out of an industrial complex jointly run with North Korea, taking aim at their last remaining symbol of economic cooperation to punish Kim Jong Un for a recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

“An extraordinary measure is needed to force North Korea to give up its nuclear arms,” South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong Pyo told reporters Wednesday. The government did not want companies and funds for the Gaeseong factory park used for North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, Hong said.

The withdrawal, which takes effect immediately, will impact more than 120 South Korean companies employing about 54,000 North Korean workers at the complex that sits just north of the heavily armed border.

South Korea is seeking to dry up North Korea’s coffers at a time China, while condemning Kim’s actions, has been reluctant to support tougher sanctions -- including on energy imports -- that could destabilize an ally. South Korea is also considering opening its soil to a U.S. ballistic missile defense system opposed by China.

Gaeseong has long been viewed as a source of hard currency for the isolated government in Pyongyang, which had no immediate response to the decision. North Korea has received 616 billion won ($514 million) in cash since the complex began in the early 2000’s, including 132 billion won last year alone, Hong said. South Korea’s government and private citizens have invested more than 1 trillion won, he said.
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Bloomberg's Heejin Kim describes the extent to which South Korea's thriving media and pop-cultural industries are becoming major drivers of the country's economy, supplanting the old heavy industries which drove the country into the First World in the first place.

While Korean steel mills and ship yards struggled to stay in business in 2015, the nation’s media companies were busy emulating the boom years of the 1980s -- literally.

Shares of CJ E&M, which owns cable TV channel tvN, doubled in 2015 as it capped a year of hits with a weekly drama called "Reply 1988." The show depicting the lives of high school students during a year of 11.9 percent economic growth and the Seoul Olympics struck a chord with households in an economy reeling from 11 months of slumping exports.

The "Korean Wave" of popular culture that spans drama, K-Pop music, fashion and cosmetics boosted a range of stocks last year as companies around Asia sought co-productions or product tie-ins. Shares in Showbox Corp. and Chorokbaem Media Co. jumped more than 50 percent in 2015 on production tie-ups with companies from China.

"While the industries that led Korea’s growth for the past decades are having difficulties from getting out of the doldrums, we found the media content industry emerging as a promising sector for the next generation," said Chang Lee, head of the Equity Research Center at NH Investment and Securities. "We are neighboring with China, a major content importer, and both countries signed a free trade agreement recently."
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The National Post hosts Simon Romero's New York Times article noting the beginnings of a rush to start exploiting Antarctica. This, it's worth noting, will probably not work out well for the locals.

On a glacier-filled island with fjords and elephant seals, Russia has built Antarctica’s first Orthodox church on a hill overlooking its research base, transporting the logs all the way from Siberia.

Less than an hour away by snowmobile, Chinese laborers have updated the Great Wall Station, a linchpin in China’s plan to operate five bases on Antarctica, complete with an indoor badminton court, domes to protect satellite stations and sleeping quarters for 150 people.

Not to be outdone, India’s futuristic new Bharathi base, built on stilts using 134 interlocking shipping containers, resembles a spaceship. Turkey and Iran have announced plans to build bases, too.

More than a century has passed since explorers raced to plant their flags at the bottom of the world, and for decades to come this continent is supposed to be protected as a scientific preserve, shielded from intrusions like military activities and mining.

But an array of countries are rushing to assert greater influence here, with an eye not just toward the day those protective treaties expire, but also for the strategic and commercial opportunities that exist right now.

“The newer players are stepping into what they view as a treasure house of resources,” said Anne-Marie Brady, a scholar at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury who specializes in Antarctic politics.

Some of the ventures focus on the Antarctic resources that are already up for grabs, like abundant sea life. China and South Korea, both of which operate state-of-the-art bases here, are ramping up their fishing of krill, the shrimplike crustaceans found in abundance in the Southern Ocean, while Russia recently thwarted efforts to create one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries here.
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Bloomberg View's Michael Schuman suggests that China should look towards South Korea, to find an example of how to deal with uncompetitive state-linked conglomerates.

Earlier this week, markets made clear how little they think of China's attempts to revamp the giant, state-owned companies that dominate its economy. After the government approved the merger of two massive shipping groups, two of their listed subsidiaries swiftly shed more than $850 million in value on Monday. Investors appear to appreciate something the regime doesn't: Simply tweaking the structure of state-owned enterprises -- professionalizing their management, inviting in private investors and merging lossmaking companies -- isn't going to transform them into world-beaters.

If Chinese leaders want proof, they need look no further than neighboring South Korea. Twenty years ago, Korea had similar problems with its biggest companies as China does today. While the family-managed conglomerates known as chaebols weren't owned by the state, the financial community in Seoul widely believed they were “too big to fail” and would always be supported by the government. As a result, a few large companies were able to suck up the economy’s financial resources no matter how poor their performance, how high their debt or how silly their business plans. Though conglomerates such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG dreamed of becoming innovative enough to compete head-to-head with rivals from the U.S. and Japan, their products were considered second-rate -- and earned the low prices to match that reputation.

Today, the chaebols have grown into the national champions China wants its SOEs to become. Samsung is the largest smartphone brand in the world. Hyundai cars are known for quality. LG has a buffed image in appliances and electronics.

The key was breaking the triangle between government, banking and corporations. During the high-growth period in Korea, the close networks among the nation’s top policymakers, chaebol chiefs and major bankers propelled stellar growth rates by funneling credit to favored industries, thus creating the conditions for high investment. But by the 1990s, that system had begun to work against the economy. Gorged with easy money, chaebols never had to become truly competitive. Managers, free from oversight by bankers or the demands of profitability, wasted funds on uneconomic projects while starving potentially more productive and innovative parts of the economy of resources.

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