Monthly Archives: December 2013

Is the term “capitalism” outdated?


I wonder whether the term “capitalism” itself belongs in the ash bin of history.  Does it really help us understand how society and economic transactions work today, or does it rather us from a more serious consideration of what is actually happening in our society, how digital technology impacts value, how trade distorts production processes, how cultural assumptions impact transactions?  We are looking at a digital translation of all phenomena combined with a highly integrated trade and logistics system. This is not “capitalism” in the 20th century sense of the word, and perhaps this new economic system deserves its  vocabulary.

“The standard code for women in the Republic of Korea”

“The standard code for women in the Republic of Korea” 


This remarkable public advertisement has appeared recently in the Seoul Metro and sponsored by the City of Seoul. The graphic is a modified bar code which is referred to as “The standard code for women in the Republic of Korea” beneath.

the “V” is glossed as “V Line” the following numbers are glossed as “bust, waist & hip” and the “S” as “a perfect S line”

The text below reads

“Society tells me i must have the same body, the same face, as everyone, but I do not want to be like that. To do so to conform to a stardard made not by myself, but by others. The way I am now is the one and only true form for me. It is just fine for me, and fine for you, to just be the way we are.”

The ad is remarkable in part because of the striking creativity of employing the bar code image as a symbol of the oppressive domination of women by images and the resulting usage of plastic surgery and other techniques as an artificial means to conform.

The ad is also noteworthy because the city government produced it as a means of playing a positive role in society and offering up an alternative discourse for women in opposition to the dominant one of consumption and indulgence. It seems like a positive model for the role that government can play in society.


being human

다문화 프런티어 (연합뉴스) 2013년 12월


다문화 프런티어
나는 한국이 좋다

“한국전통문화의 현대적 수용을 통해 아시아의 가치를 재발견 하라: 임마누엘”  


연합뉴스 다문화


The Snail is Smothered by his Shell

The Snail is Smothered by his Shell

Emanuel Pastreich

December 25, 2013 

Do humans determine what will happen, or is it the system, the material culture that grows up around us the power that determines the future? Humans are surrounded by objects and institutions that are not part of their bodies, but an essential part of their lives and experience. Perhaps the closest analogy to human culture is the snail and his shell, an essential external item that is nevertheless not actually the snail. But recently those institutions and habits of the human are shifting and changing so quickly, and growing so rapidly, that we find complete chaos around us. It is a chaos that we cannot see.  An ideological chaos in which each person thinks he or she is doing his or her best but cannot even make the slightest modifications in behavior.

We cannot even require reuse-able glass with a deposit for all liquid products sold. It is such a simple step that would do much to help reduce such mindless consumption, but not only can we not implement such a policy, in spite of all our sophisticated conversations over cappuccino at Starbucks, we cannot even formulate it as a priority.

Perhaps this fog in our thinking is one of the greatest dangers of rapid technological change. There is the distinct risk that when we encounter the greatest crisis of climate change many citizens of the world will only be vaguely aware of what is happening to them.

Emanuel interviewed on Arirang’s “The Inner View”




Focus: Emanuel Pastreich

In five installments on Youtube:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Arirang TV Description:

Emanuel Pastreich, who obtained his doctorate at Harvard University, views Korea differently from most people. While Koreans are busy promoting their culture through the Korean wave, or Hallyu, and K-pop, he advocates that we should focus more on the deeply rooted traditions such as the traditional practices related to Chuseok, one of Korea’s most important holidays. He also argues that we should develop the rural areas, which have preserved some of these traditions, to attract foreign tourists because their natural scenic landscape can be compared to Provence in France.

Emanuel has another name, Lee Man-yeol, which was given to him by his father-in-law. It resembles his actual name in its sound, but has a different meaning – ‘a man of many passions.’ He is indeed a very passionate person. While others praised Korea on the conspicuous achievements, he spoke about the beauty of Korea that was yet to be discovered by the global community by looking beneath the surface. He studied the traditions and history of Korea, based on which he attempted to provide solutions for Korea’s future.

“Korea can create a better future for itself by incorporating the administrative system of the Joseon period.”

Everything seems to be evolving very quickly these days, with the traces of the past diminishing just as fast. Emanuel Pastreich says that it is in these times, we need to look to the past to seek solutions for the future.

It has only been 7 years since he set foot on Korean soil, and it hasn’t been easy, adapting to a society that’s different from his home country in many aspects. But on the other hand, coming from a different ethnic and cultural background, he can offer a fresh perspective on various sides of Korea from an objective point of view.


“美, 근시안적인 ‘내기’ 전술 벗어나야” (중앙일보 Sunday)

중앙일보 Sunday

“美, 근시안적인 ‘내기’ 전술 벗어나야”

페스트라이쉬 경희대 교수가 본 바이든 ‘베팅’ 발언

2013년 12월 8일


임마누엘 페스트라이쉬

조 바이든 부통령이 6일 서울에서 박근혜 대통령을 접견하며 한 발언 가운데 한 구절은 동아시아에서 미국의 안보공약을 믿는 사람들에게 충격을 줬다. “미국이 아닌 다른 곳에 내기를 거는 건 좋지 않다”가 그것이다. ‘내기(betting)’란 단어는 상처 난 엄지손가락처럼 눈에 확 띄었다. 이 단어만 없었다면 그의 말은 아주 사려 깊은 연설이 됐을 것이다.

국제사회에서 미국의 역할은 내기를 거는 게 아니다. 그것은 분쟁 국가 간에 가교를 놓고, 공통의 가치를 창출하며 동아시아와 세계의 장기적 비전을 추구하는 것이다. 바이든 부통령은 매우 점잖고 성실한 사람이다. 가장 뛰어난 정치인 중 하나다. 그러나 월스트리트와 투기경제의 상징인 ‘내기’란 말로 인해 발목이 잡힌 셈이 됐다. 내기란 발상은 동아시아와 세계가 공통의 사회를 창출하려는 노력을 왜곡한다. Read more of this post