Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Beef-Crisis


Josh Patashnik thinks that this is a weird form of economic nationalism.
Upwards of 80,000 people turned out in the streets of Seoul to protest President Lee Myung-bak's decision to resume imports of American beef. The backlash against the move brought the government to its knees, threatens seriously to damage Korean–American relations, and prompted the entire cabinet to offer to resign. Having visited South Korea briefly last summer, I'm not surprised: Beef is, for whatever reason, a major symbol of national pride--upon introducing myself as an American, on several occasions I was promptly asked my opinion of Korean beef. (It's really good, but still.) Beyond that, the entire country is gripped by a fervent, almost eerie strain of economic nationalism. You can walk around Seoul for hours without seeing a non-Korean car. And this from a country that has benefited beyond belief from globalization!

It does seem to me just a little but bizarre. On the other hand, I think there are perfectly good reasons to oppose the US food system (more discussion of this later), but I don't think this is one of them.

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