[LETTERS to the editor]When you invite investments ...
My letter is in response to the Grand National Party’s Kim Yang-soo, who seems to think it is troubling that foreigners are making sound investments in Korea and then having the temerity to reap the rewards.
Korea has grown very rich in the last few decades by making things people around the world want to buy. To make automobiles, LCD TVs and ships, Korea needs to buy things like iron and oil from other nations in exchange for won. Other nations accept Korean won because they believe it can be fairly exchanged for Korean goods and services. If people are accepting trillions of won in return for, say, oil, they might not want to be limited in what they can spend the won on. They might accept the won in anticipation of buying a million shares of Hyundai Inc. or a 51 percent stake in a new office tower in Seoul.
So if other nations don’t believe they can trade their won back for a full range of valuable things, from company shares to land, nations won’t want to sell their iron or oil to Korea. They’ll sell it to, say, the United States that offers foreigners the opportunity to invest in the Nasdaq or buy Manhattan office towers. Now, is it a bad thing if I make a trillion-won profit, take it out of Korea, and bring it back to Canada with me? But since I can’t spend it in Canada, I exchange it with someone who wants won to buy Hyundai cars and shares in Hyundai. That money comes back to Korea in terms of buying Korean manufactured goods and investing in Korean companies. Does it matter, in the end, the nationality of the person putting their won on the barrelhead for shares in Hyundai?
In the end, doesn’t Kim simply want more people investing in Korea?
Karl Mamer, Seoul
Perfectly happy at hagwon
I read with interest the article, “Hey, there’s an English teacher” (Oct. 10, 2007). But I was surprised to read that the English teacher in the article was described as “moving up in the world” by moving from teaching at a hagwon to a new job at an elementary school.
Congrats to Ms. Pyman, but the article seems to suggest that those teachers who work at hagwon are somehow “slumming it” until something better comes along.
I am an American teaching English at a hagwon in Seoul. I have found, along with many of my colleagues, that working at a hagwon is both challenging and rewarding, and some of us have chosen to remain at hagwons for many years, passing up opportunities to “move up” to public schools. I hope readers of the JoongAng Daily do not receive the wrong impression based on the article. Paul Nelson, Seoul