Monday, February 2, 2015

Random Thoughts: Compensating Suicide, Economic Illiteracy, Porn, and Honey Butter Chips

State compensation for inability to learn English

According to this report from the Korea Times, the Supreme Court of Korea ruled the family of a worker who committed suicide after suffering depression due to his inability to learn English was entitled to state compensation; claiming that the man's death was the result of an industrial accident.

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So does this mean that the multitude of Korean high school students who cannot get into the university of their choice because of their poor performance in their English scores in the suneung exams are also entitled to state compensation? There are, after all, quite a number of them who commit suicide every year as well.

Or what about foreigners who wish to work in Korea, but cannot, due to their inability to learn Korean? Are they also not entitled to state compensation? After all, their inability to obtain a visa to come to Korea is the direct result of a government-created barrier, which is far closer to a state responsibility than an industrial accident.

So, dear foreigners who wish to work in Korea but cannot, I'm not saying that you should do this, but if you ever feel like committing suicide, you ought to consider leaving behind a suicide note claiming that it was because of your inability to learn Korean. At least there might be a small sliver of a chance that your family members might get a nice paycheck from the Korean government after you die.

An Economist wins Saenuri Party floor leader primary!

When I saw this headline in the Korea Herald, I braced myself for crushing disappointment. I was thankful that I did. After all, economics is a dismal science whose thinkers range from the likes of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman on the one hand, and Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Thomas Piketty on the other.

This economist, Yoo Seong-min, is a three-term lawmaker and an economist who worked at the Korea Development Institute before entering politics.

So did Mr. Yoo say anything wise or thought provoking or even non-nonsensical? No. What he did say was that he would “support policies that have the support of our people... I will strictly follow what our citizenry demands.”

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Yes, I know this meme is not being used correctly, but it was just too perfect.

Then I wonder if it is safe to assume that Mr. Yoo will support more populist policies, more welfarism, more economic democratization, less economic liberty, and all the while oppose tax hikes for nearly everyone? And will it also be safe to assume that we will see many more things like this recently released report about National Health Insurance Service giving out more benefits to people than it is able to take in premiums?

It seems like no one even cares about economic literacy anymore.

Porn in Twitter

The Korea Communications Standards Commission appears to be preparing to investigate (though the findings seem to have been found already) Twitter for the ease of which it allows some users to distribute pornography.

An official at the commission reportedly said “We won’t let this harmful content damage our children.”

I will admit freely that I could be very wrong, but I have a hunch that this official has never actually met a child before in her entire life.

Also, if this official actually wants to protect children, she might need to straighten out her priorities.

Honey Butter Chips

I was finally able to try this incredibly-hard-to-find bag of chips. For the life of me, I could not understand what the whole damned fuss is all about.

Maybe I'm just a little old fashioned, but I infinitely prefer a bag of good old fashioned Saewookkang.

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  1. I had the Honey Butter chips. Theyre were good, but this is just a snowballing one-of-us thing. Ive seen people walking them in prominent view.
    Who knew a Japanese made snack (CalBee) would be used to show social position here in Korea?!? Wait....

  2. If you're willing to pay scalper's prices (100% markup), greymarket importers stock them reliably. Of course, when the packaging is in Japanese, you won't get the prestige of being seen walking a bag around town like a purse rat, or prominently littering with the empty bag to show your social status in the middle of a busy intersection. I guess for appearances, there's always the Honey Tong Tong?