Korea to invest $38 billion in 'New Green Deal', Signaling Asian Middle Class 'Eco' Values Shift

January 06 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment   Year: 2010   Rating: 4 Hot

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Is Asia's expanding middle class closer to reaching a tipping point where modern notions of 'environmentalism' become a key component to improving quality of life factors? Maybe!

The Korean government is pushing forward on a massive 'Green' New Deal style investment package could create more than 900,000 jobs.

The $38 billion investment plan includes: waste to energy power plants, support for 'Green Homes', transportation infrastructure for rail and bicycles, cleaning up polluted river systems, and investments in energy storage technologies used for electric vehicles.

Real story = Values Shift up Maslow's Hierarchy
The long view implications of this story go far beyond any actual investments that may or may not turn Korea's attention towards 'cleantech' industries. These projects might already have been planned long before the recent global economic slowdown.  And $38 billion is not a lot of money for a 'New Deal'.

The real story is the media spin on 'green' and underlying values statement that shows widespread support within Korea for cleantech and eco-friendly ventures.  The ripple effect of modern notions of environmentalism (able to address impacts of large scale industrialism, not traditional forms of agricultural living) could begin to challenge the notion of 'growth at any cost' that dominates economic policies around the world in all nations, but especially in emerging economies.

Values are very important when it comes to 'cleantech' policies, and there is no evidence that 'environmentalism' as it is viewed in American and European life is a current global phenomenon.  There are still several billion people in the world who see 'quality of life' factors as related to jobs, education, home ownership and upward mobility, not planetary health.   

What is driving this value's shift?  Economic Growth, not Traditionalism

The main driver of change is likely the past few decades of sustained industrial economic growth and a growing feeling of personal security among Koreans.

This developmental approach towards values is explored in bio-psycho-social value frameworks like 'Maslow's Hierarchy' and Spiral Dynamics.   

 

 

Financial Times

PhysOrg

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Also read:
'Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility' By Ted Nordhaus, Michael Shellenberger

Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. Although Korea has a bad habit of pardoning white collar criminals (and we aren’t doing much better), they are thinking ahead with this initiative and getting everyone online with WiBro (between WiFi and WiMax technology).

    Posted by: AdamEdwards   January 07, 2009
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