South Koreaâ€™s triumphant development has catapulted the countryâ€™s economy to the eleventh largest in the world. Large family-owned conglomerates, or chaebÅls, such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, have become globally preeminent manufacturing brands. Yet Koreaâ€™s highly disciplined, technologically competent skilled workers who built these brands have become known only for their successful labor-union militancy, which in recent decades has been criticized as collective â€œselfishnessâ€ that has allowed them to prosper at the expense of other workers. Hyung-A Kim tells the story of Koreaâ€™s first generation of skilled workers in the heavy and chemical industries sector, following their dramatic transition from 1970s-era â€œindustrial warriorsâ€ to labor-union militant â€œGoliat Warriors,â€ and ultimately to a â€œlabor aristocracyâ€ with guaranteed job security, superior wages, and even job inheritance for their children. By contrast, millions of Koreaâ€™s non-regular employees, especially young people, struggle in precarious and insecure employment. This richly documented account demonstrates that industrial workersâ€™ most enduring goal has been their own economic advancement, not a wider socialist revolution, and shows how these individualsâ€™ paths embody the consequences of rapid development.
|Place of Publication||Seattle|
|Publisher||University of Washington Press|
|Number of pages||232|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|