Date: Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Venue: Mochtar Riady Building, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore
Katharine H.S. Moon
Professor of Political Science
Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies, Wellesley College
Nonresident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
The recent corporate and political debacles in South Korea have compounded the nation’s decades-long struggle as an emerging democracy. The public backlash following the scandals have exposed simmering resentment towards South Korea’s prominent political figures and the leaders of its chaebol conglomerates. The subsequent unprecedented presidential transition and the Samsung leadership crisis continues to generate much media coverage, public interest as well as scholarly debates.
Since the 1980s, South Korea has risen as a democratic country with rapid economic growth. Yet the country is plagued with corruption. In her hour-long seminar titled “The Future of Governance in South Korea: Ongoing Challenges for Business and Politics”, Professor Katharine Moon explored this irony by examining the underlying intricate marital ties that bound corporations with politicians for decades. These ties are the achilles heels that trips almost every President up, leading to constant changes in Presidents, but no reformations to corruption.
Innovative and ground breaking solutions would be required to overcome these entrenched networks and practices. Some unconventional solutions offered by Professor Moon included the introduction of foreign corporate leaders into conglomerates and a halt to intermarriages amongst chaebol families; she believes that introducing fresh blood into conglomerates would curb these collusions and promote innovation. Besides that, she also advocated for the institutionalisation of anti-corruption laws that is built upon existing laws, rather than drafting new sets each time a new President takes office.
The seminar was concluded with a Question and Answer session where participants discussed the future prospects of governance in South Korea with Professor Moon.
This seminar was attended by approximately 70 corporate, research as well as academic participants.