Economic growth of Korea and its entry into the ranks of developed countries was made possible by utilization of its only abundant factor, labor, and excellent human capital; despite its lack of physical capital and natural resources. Future economic growth for Korea would still depend on accumulation of human capital and its utilization. Human capital has been regarded as a very important factor in the development of national economies for a long time. In the 21st century, the rise and fall of nations will not depend on territory and natural resources but human capital. Having more creative and innovative citizens, and more population in general, has become more important than natural resources.
In the global economic system, management of not only one’s own human capital but also those of other countries is an important issue. In terms of exchange of human capital with Korea, Central Asia constitutes one of its most active partner regions compared to other regions. In summit talks between Korea and the respective nations of Central Asia, the exchange of human capital was the most actively-discussed subject during the 17 summit meetings between Korea and Central Asia since the Central Asian countries became independent in 1992. There have also been over 80,000 non-governmental exchanges since that time.
The active exchange between Korea and Central Asia results in increases in exchange in various sectors and also create good opportunities for understanding each other. Especially, transnational marriage and family accounted for the exchange of about 2,602 persons in 2011; and emigrant workers from Central Asia in Korea number about 30,000. On the other hand, Koreans in Central Asia (Korean Diaspora) plays an important role as intermediaries for cooperation between Korea and the region.
This report includes a statistical and empirical analysis about human resource exchange at the governmental and non-governmental level. Such research can provide legal and institutional policy implications for Korea in human exchange between Korea and Central Asia as follows:
First, various human networks have to be established for continuous cooperation between Korea and Central Asia, from their Presidents down to the people. For this, Korea needs to establish a governmental organization (tentatively named 'Ministry of International Human Resources) which covers human networking, DB, and financial policy. The scope of this organization will cover strategic regions including Central Asia for Korean foreign policy, managing and constructing the global human resource network for Korea in the long term perspective.
Secondly, the relationship between Presidents of Central Asia and Korea has to develop continuously, as it constitutes the substance of cooperation between Korea and Central Asia. To strengthen the relationship between Korea and Central Asia, the relationship with ruling parties in Central Asia needs to be expanded. Case in point, Korea has been engaged in exchange with the ruling party in Kazakhstan, by holding the 'Korea-Kazakhstan Forum' annually. Korea has to bolster not only this Forum but also work with officials in developing countries as well as Central Asia to increase the level of exchange, and create a program for mutual reinforcement of capabilities for common endeavors.
Third, networks in education has to be established for the future generations and for building knowledge-based economies. The Korean government has to change its existing employment policy to promote the creation of a ‘labor pool’ system that can bring together talent in various countries including Central Asia. For this, an exclusive organization for attracting talented foreigners under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has to be established; and this organization has to provide much employment information for reinforcement of the human network in this regard.
Fourth, it is important to establish the human network and promote human exchange at the corporate level. When Korean firms plan to enter into Central Asia, they need to actively provide training opportunities in Korea for local workers to learn the technology that is required in the work place. On the other hand, the Korean government must cooperate to ease the entry of Korean personnel from industries or education sectors into Central Asia. For example, when Korea obtain rights to a major development project in Central Asia, the Korean government can provide support that allows necessary personnel to better participate in those project in Central Asia.
Fifth, the reinforcement of a network with ethnic Koreans (Goryeo-saram) network is also important. Overseas Koreans, or Goryeo-saram, in Central Asia live mostly in big cities and work in commercial sectors. Because they cannot obtain credit loans in Central Asia, the Korea government need to offer them financial assistance in the form of microcredits programs such as a 'Korean People’s Financing Network'.
Sixth, cultural exchange is also important in stimulating human exchange between Korea and Central Asia. This can be done utilizing Korean popular culture such as K-pop and drama which are very popular in Central Asia. Business for exchange of cultural content will assume a key role in expanding the human exchange between Korea and Central Asia.
Exports is one of the main pillars of the Korean economy, but the line of thinking that assumes trade takes priority over everything else cannot sustain relationships with other countries. To become a truly ‘developed’ country, Korea has to strengthen its hard, soft, and ‘sticky’ power based on its human capital.
In the 21st century, global order is expected to be determined by which countries have more sticky power. Even though US has the most hard and soft power, US has a difficult problem with diplomacy in Afghanistan and Iraq because sticky power of the US is weak. Sticky power is the power that can tie both the elite and the people of another country with one’s own country through the attractiveness of its economy and culture. Through global informatization and democratization in Arab Region, Korea government has to strengthen its sticky power that can cover everyone in Central Asia from the political elite to the common people.
Central Asia is the region that sticky power of Korea can be applied with the greatest effect, as everyone from presidents down to the people in Central Asia consider Korea a friendly nation. They are interested in Korean popular culture, and they want to travel, work, and study in Korea. The new policy agenda for the Korean government therefore, has to involve developing its Korean sticky power in Central Asia and at the global level.
- 한, 중앙아시아 인적자원의 교류현황과 활성화 방안
- 윤성학; 김영진; 김일겸; 김안국; 홍미희; 성동기; 이시영
한, 중앙아시아 인적자원의 교류현황과 활성화 방안
[서울] : 대외경제정책연구원
|Series Title; No||전략지역 심층연구 / 11-13|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Social Development < Employment|
|Holding||Korea Institute Economic Policy|