SEJONG, Nov. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — More than half of South Korean people think the 1997 Asian financial crisis had an adverse impact on the economy, society and their daily lives, a survey showed Tuesday.
Twenty years ago, Asia’s fourth-largest economy experienced a slump in its currency and a sharp devaluation in its stock markets and asset prices along with other countries in the region. The country was forced to turn to a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which demanded that the Seoul government tighten its belt and carry out tough structural reform, allowing insolvent banks and firms to collapse.
According to the survey conducted by the state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI), 57.4 percent of the 1,000 respondents said the financial crisis was the most difficult period for South Korea in its history, and 59.7 percent said it even altered their daily lives.
Nearly 90 percent said the most direct effect of the crisis was an increase in the numbers of temporary workers, while 86 percent answered that the crisis caused people to seek more stable jobs like being a government official or a teacher. The widening of the income gap between haves and have-nots was cited by 85.6 percent of those checked.
They also pointed out that the 1997 financial crisis has brought about a tightened job market, hurt consumer sentiment and decreased quality of life in South Korea as a whole.
For the future, 41.1 percent of the respondents think job creation is the most important task for the South Korea economy, followed by seeking new growth engines and narrowing economic polarization.
Also, they asked the government to build social confidence through eliminating corruption and tackling the deepening trends of low birth rate and a rapidly aging society.