Monthly Archives: February 2018

Haebangchon T-shirts on sale

The Asia Institute is proud to announce the sale of our original Haebangchon T-shirts.

Please be sure to order them for your self, your family, and all your friends.


Price: 12,000 KRW


We also have Haebangchon stickers for sale & Itaewon stickers as well.

Stickers: 1000 Won each




For all orders, please contact:

Empty Grocery stores in Seoul

It does not take much digging to see a tremendous tragedy unfolding in Korean society today, and yet it is a topic that is studiously avoided not only at coffee with friends at Starbucks, but also in the newspapers, or the TV news broadcasts that serve to distract people from reality.

image1 (22)

In every neighborhood of Seoul, family-run grocery stores are shutting down. I have seen it around me and it troubles me deeply. I watched in our previous neighborhood a group of brave and creative people try to start a bakery. They did not last long, and later the family-owned bakeries disappeared soon after.

These stores are the last holdout of ordinary people who run their own company and make decisions for themselves about what they will buy and how they will organize the space around them. They are being driven out of business. In a sense, it is the end of democracy:  now no one in the local community has any say over how things are run.

I do not know the details of why these stores are closing down right now so quickly. I  welcome your input.

Perhaps they are being squeezed by the distribution system. Or perhaps they cannot compete with the convenience stores that have access to massive capital and can afford to go for months, or years, running a deficit in order to drive competitors out of business. That is the Amazon model, but it is also the Google model. It goes far back in history and sadly few around these days know much about how that game was played before, or how it was fought.

The result will be quite predictable: more and more people working at convenience stores or driving taxis, or working in some other job that does not allow them to make any decisions as to how the business is run but forces them to just follow rules dictated from above. The resulting poverty not only in terms of the income available to ordinary people, but also the loss of diversity in neighborhood cultures is quite clear. The cities are becoming deserts.

It is interesting to compare with the interiors of banks which are quite attractive, clean and spacious. Often there are many empty luxurious seats in the bank waiting rooms. There may be await at the bank for those of us with checking accounts trying to send money abroad, but next door there are sweet young women in the commercial section who sit alone all day long waiting for the business person, or the VIP, who comes once in a blue moon. But we should not make fun of these banks. They do at least offer some employment.

I would only warn those of the upper middle class who assumed that these massive economic rifts created by the financialization of our economy, do not assume that your career will not follow the same course. A competitive market economy driven by profit knows no limits. There will never be a day when those planning for stock market profits will sit down and reflect on how they have gone too far: complete  social collapse will come much sooner.

“清洁能源与人类的未来” 观察者

2018年 2月 9日



中国计划至2020年,共投入3600万美元进行可再生能源的发展。如今中国已经在太阳能与风能的开发与生产方面居于主导地位。如果某些国家认为靠设计几款花哨的新型智能手机与跑车就能拯救它们的经济,它们会大失所望。这种经济上的转变是根本性的,做出错误判断的国家可能会倒退几百年。 Read more of this post

“大学的经济学课程是否过于冷漠?” 观察者

2018年 2月 7日



虽然长期从事中国文学研究,我并未在中国而是在韩国的大学教书。我带的本科生几乎都上经济学课,可能中国的本科生也是类似情况。这真让我羡慕。遗憾的是,我以前没有机会学经济学,如今在这方面也没有底气。所以我有意在自己的韩国与东亚史课堂上问学生一些经济现象方面的问题——我是真的不懂。 Read more of this post

“Bringing the world together to respond to the East China Sea oil spill” The Korea Times


The Korea Times

“Bringing the world together to respond to the East China Sea oil spill”

February 17, 2018

Emanuel Pastreich




Last month’s oil spill in the East China Sea has produced the greatest ecological disaster to hit East Asia. The East China Sea spill is only surpassed in the history of oil spills by the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a catastrophe from which the ecosystem is still far from recovering.

The collision of a Panamanian tanker, carrying Iranian petroleum, and the Chinese cargo ship CF Crystal on January 6 released almost a million barrels of condensate, an acutely toxic chemical that is highly volatile.

Condensate spreads quickly and is much harder to contain than crude. It spreads with water currents, exposing all marine organisms in its path. Never has such a large amount of condensate been released into the environment. It will kill or poison a wide range of marine animals, moving far beyond the expanding oil spill in the East China Sea.

If we combine this disaster with the degradation of the biosphere brought about by warming oceans, the acidification of seawater and overfishing, we are confronted with a catastrophe.

Yet you would never guess that anything had ever happened from reading the newspapers in Korea and Japan, let alone those of the United States and China. The overwhelming focus has been on the PyeongChang Olympics, with a few words about a nuclear threat from North Korea thrown in here and there. Even the antics of Donald Trump seem to be far more important than this devastating spill.

As of this moment, I have not seen any advisories about eating seafood products, and the governments of Korea and Japan have not established rigorous inspection regimes for marine produce.

For that matter, a keyword search of Jeju Island’s leading newspapers Halla Ilbo and Jeju Ilbo revealed almost no articles about the risks posed by this disaster. Newspapers in Okinawa and Kyushu, the regions likely to suffer the most serious consequences, had more reports, but they were incidental and not investigative.

Denial and distraction are not going to make this catastrophe go away. There is a serious risk that hundreds of thousands of people will be subject to tremendous health risks from contaminated seafood, and from contaminated water. Entire fishing communities will be economically devastated, and their inhabitants will be in danger.

We do not have much time to end this taboo. It is time for Korea, Japan, China and the entire international community to come together and to talk honestly about how we will clean up this disaster and how the ecosystem will be restored over the next few decades. That process will require close cooperation and the development of new technologies and new treatments. We will have to work together, as a team, to assure the safety and health of residents in the areas immediately affected, and to tell the region honestly how they will be impacted.

This oil spill, more than the North Korean nuclear weapons program, is shaping up to be a major security issue for the region that will require hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade or more.

It is essential that we put together a comprehensive plan to respond to this oil spill quickly and implement it rapidly and systematically. We must use scientific means to assess the dangers and to give reliable information to the world.

We need global cooperation to come up with a solution for the short term, the medium term and the long term. We must bring together players from government, research and industry in all the nations impacted to formulate and to implement a response. We also need citizens to be involved in the process, both providing information to experts and paying close attention to expert opinions and to other information related to the oil spill.

In the long term, we must strengthen regulations concerning the shipping of petroleum products. Most importantly, we must recognize that this tragedy was unnecessary and that we must quickly end the use of such dangerous fossil fuels that kill tens of thousands in Asia, not only through oil spills, but through air pollution.

This effort requires a literal revolution in the nature of government. Government around the world is increasingly weak, responding primarily to the demands of corporations, not citizens. Governments lack the expertise for analysis, and also are unable to carry out long-term plans. Politicians are only interested in the next election. Academics are forced by evaluation systems to spend their time writing for obscure academic publications and are discouraged from interacting with the public, or with government officials, who most need their help.

Citizens are distracted from facts by social media and by entertainment that has blocked out real news. We wander around blinded by a forest of electronic stimuli that induces impulsive purchases and indulges the grotesque cult of self. There is no space left for serious contemplation of the future of our Earth.

Will the United Nations handle this crisis? I would not hold my breath. The U.N. was not permitted to play a role in the clean-up after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. And it has not been able to handle much else over the past few decades. Its funding has been cut and it is made into a beggar for budgets, not a leader in ethical campaigns.

There was no power on Earth capable of telling BP to turn over its platform and clear out of the way so that the Deepwater Horizon leak could be handled by experts selected on the basis of their objectivity. The entire world watched the Gulf of Mexico destroyed, but no one could compel BP to do anything. In effect, there was no government.

So how will we respond to this threat? Will we just stare at our cell phones, slurp cafe lattes with our friends and discuss our vacation plans? Will we play stupid, as our children are poisoned by unknown chemicals in fish? Will we obsess over frivolous matters while the oceans die, forests turn to deserts, societies collapse into anomie and neighbors become indifferent strangers?

Maybe, just maybe, this catastrophe, combined with similar catastrophes around the world, will force us to reinvent the concept of citizenship, and of government. Perhaps we can start to consider ourselves as citizens of the Earth who have a responsibility to act.

Perhaps this terrible challenge will force us to work together and thereby affirm what a community is, and what a government is, in a positive and meaningful sense. Perhaps we can establish something beyond global governance, a form of “Earth management” that addresses our relationship to the entire Earth.

Governance is necessary, on a global scale, if we want to respond to the terrible damage inflicted on our planet by unlimited development. All actions must be assessed in terms of long-term impact on our environment, and our primary concern must be the well-being of the people.

The stock market should not have any impact on the formulation of policy in response to this oil spill, or to any ecological crisis. If anything, the government should be empowered to restrict the functions of the stock market so as to encourage, and to force, a rapid move away from our dangerous dependence on fossil fuel.

This oil spill is about the mistakes of the crew only in the most limited sense. The dangers of transporting petroleum, and the negative impact on our environment of emissions, have been known for decades. The solution is a fundamental shift away from fossil fuels supported by extensive funding from the government, and strict rules that will require high levels of efficiency and insulation, and demand the immediate elimination of automobiles that employ petroleum.

We need to change not only how we invest our money and plan our economy but also to reform our culture and our habits. Consumption and growth can no longer be the standards by which we determine success. The addiction to petroleum, the advertising to encourage people to purchase automobiles, and the massive investment in highways at the expense of other welfare programs must be questioned as part of our larger response to the oil spill.

Finally, we must face the painful truth that the expensive hardware that our militaries have procured is useless in addressing this oil spill, or other environmental disasters such as spreading deserts and rising seas. We must redefine “security” decisively for our age and move beyond the limited and the confrontational concept of “alliance.” We must embrace the U.N. charter in its true spirit and transform our militaries into transparent and effective parts of society that address real security threats. The foremost threat, according to scientific inquiry, is climate change.

One organization that could play a critical role in coordinating our response to the East China Sea oil spill is the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) in Seoul. The TCS is the sole organization run jointly by the governments of the China, Japan and Korea. The secretariat has proven itself to be extremely effective under the leadership of Secretary-General Lee Jong-heon and has played a critical role in coordinating policy.

This crisis, however, will take that role to a new level. We need an environmental assessment program for water and air quality, and long-term biological monitoring. But they can also work together to increase vessel traffic risk assessment and predict hazardous crossing areas. A whole range of vessel traffic control improvements and improved response protocols should be discussed.

We must enhance and organize the cooperation between governments, between research institutes, between NGOs, and between citizens in Asia to respond to this massive oil spill.

Moreover, this project can be seen not as a temporary step, but rather the next stage of Earth management aimed at the response to climate change and environmental degradation on a global scale. We will be creating new paradigms for universal application: for how to break down a complex problem into parts and assign it to experts from fields such as engineering, biology, demographics, oceanography, statistics and politics.

But we must explain what our response to the oil spill is for citizens and give them a compelling ethical motivation to contribute to the effort. That will require experts in philosophy, ethics, history, art, and literature. We will need artists to make compelling representations of this otherwise abstract disaster and writers to compose compelling phrases.

We will need to rebuild communities, to help fishermen whose communities are devastated, and to resettle people. That requires budgets, but it also requires moral courage and self-sacrifice. Let us pull the region, and the world, together to address this crisis properly and give humanity some hope.

“한국의 미래 외교안보: 역사적인 전환에 대하여 어떻게 대응 할까?” 방송



“한국의 미래 외교안보:

역사적인 전환에 대하여 어떻게 대응 할까?”

2018년 2월 14일


전 기후변화 대사

정우진 교수


아시아인스티튜트 이사


이만열 (Emanuel Pastreich)

지구경영원 원장

아시아인스티튜트 이사

“한국의 미래 외교안보: 역사적인 전환에 대하여 어떻게 대응 할까?” 방송



“한국의 미래 외교안보:

역사적인 전환에 대하여 어떻게 대응 할까?”

2018년 2월 14일


전 기후변화 대사

정우진 교수


아시아인스티튜트 이사


이만열 (Emanuel Pastreich)

지구경영원 원장

아시아인스티튜트 이사






The Washington Post is pornography

“How To Deprive Mainstream Media Of Revenue And Get Around Their Paywalls”



This article opens with this great line”

“Some people use private browsing to watch porn. I use it to read the Washington Post. And I probably feel a lot dirtier afterward.”

The author then explains how to get around firewalls walls and browse for free.


But although the article is quite helpful, it fails to take head on the primary issue.


The Washington Post is a form of pornography: a cultural and intellectual form of pornography that allows the educated American who has the means to analyze the current developments in the country and engage in real political action to rather indulge in fantasies of being somehow engaged in thoughtful discourse on society, when he or she is rather trapped in the worst form of narcissism and consumerism. This intellectual porn encourages profound denial and renders the educated classes just powerless consumers who can do nothing but shop and satisfy their impulses. The cult of the self becomes the only form of political action.









 (2009-12-02 00:00:00)
























战火中的颠沛,运动中的磨折,坷坎的命运成就了你。 (陈老师生于抗战时。历经49年后的历次运动)

南京的水,重庆的山,山川的灵气蕴育了你。        (出生地是南京,少年时长于重庆)

从东北到贵州,二十年的风霜见证你的傲骨。        (毕业于东北,分配到贵州。在贵州入狱)

从上海走向世界,四万里的旅程诉说你的沉思。      (主要学术工作在上海交大。游历世界)


五十知“天命”,首倡“生态文明”,            (知“天命”,是指陈老师以超乎人类的眼光看历史)


花甲诲新知,书造化雄奇,                       (陈老师教课时,已经快六十了。)

你豪阔的辞章开启年轻的心扉。                   (他的课为一批学生开启了新的视界。)


《归程何处》?你以自然史观话千年的文明          (陈师的书《归程何处--自然史观话文明》)

《文明前景》!你以生态文化解全球的危局          (陈师的书《生态文化与文明前景》)


你是长者,永远给天涯羁旅的游子留一扇通往“家”的门  (呜呼!写到此句,我又再次忆起学生时代,孤身在外的我在陈老师那里得到的家一样的温暖。情实不能自抑!)






















卢昱 2009年11月




“한국의 미래 외교안보: 역사적인 전환에 대하여 어떻게 대응 할까?” 세미나

“한국의 미래 외교안보:

역사적인 전환에 대하여 어떻게 대응 할까?”



2018년 2월 14일

오후 5:00-6:30

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

5-6:30 PM

PKM Gallery

서울특별시 종로구 삼청로7길 40



정우진 교수


아시아인스티튜트 이사



전 기후변화 대사



이만열 (Emanuel Pastreich)

지구경영원 원장

아시아인스티튜트 이사



우리의 귀중한 지구 하고 인류문명 선례 없는 전환을 직면 하고 있어요. 전통적 외교 안보 국제관계 무역 등등 再定義 되는 과정 중 입니다. 그러나 우리들은  여전히 옛날 외교안보의 개념에 집착 하고 있어요. 사실은 현재 가장 큰 위기는 북한 에서 오는 미사일 공격이 아니고  동중국해 기름 유출, 기화변화 및 사막화, 빈부격차 및 기술의발전 의  빠른 속도 입니다. 이런 위협들은 100% 확실 한 것 에 불구 하고 항상 북핵문제 만 언론 및 학술논문에서 강조 되고 있고 동북아 공동체 외교안보 협력은 언급도 되지않아요.

이 세미나에서 전문가 두명은 여러분 과 같이 한국의 진정 한 외교 안보 문제를 냉정하게 분석 하고 건설적인 제안도 합니다. 참석을 바립다.


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