Collapse in filial piety, nonexistent social safety net produces cohort of elderly Korean prostitutes
How sad is it that my first thought when I saw this was, “BREAKING: Wayne Rooney completes $33M transfer to FC Seoul.”
I bet there’s enough cushy cash in the country’s biggest chaebol (Samsung) to address the money side of this problem several times over. It will never happen, of course, redistribution being evil, but the disparity is telling. Murrikan values spreading around the globe! Yay us!
I don’t know how you re-instill the Confucian values mentioned, which would, I presume, address the emotional side of the problem, which is at least as important, probably more (that is to say, old folks need companionship just as much as younger people).
Values may still be there, but it has become impossible to live by them in our consumerist world where every business grows indefinitely like so many huge, shiny tumors. I´m sure many young Koreans, as well as young generations in other countries, are ashamed not to be able to care for their elders, but they blot out the shame because it wouldn´t allow them to take part in society.
I know we won´t be able to care well for my and my wife´s parents even though we don´t even have children of our own and both work 50+ hours a week, and we´re not even particularly bad off. We can live comfortably on our own but potentially paying for the livelihood of four more people? Nah.
It´s almost ridiculous to imagine that a single person used to be able to provide for a family not too long ago.
As you wrote, the wealth is there for sure, but most of us will never see any of it.
I’m not sure the values are still there. The shift to other more “western” values has been coming for a while.
There’s a part in the documentary Last Train Home http://m.imdb.com/title/tt1512201/ where young Chinese workers on a train going home for New Years yell about how western children don’t have to support their parents and get to spend their whole paycheque on themselves (you can see that this idea is completely new to some). The whole movie is really about the changing values and structure of society as a whole. (Some scenes will break your heart). I know China is not Korea, but the tradtional support of elders is common to both countries, and China is suffering through elder homelessness now as well.
Some things don’t change all over the world.
As the article alludes to, the real problem is the lack of pensions and a social safety net, but since fixing those things might mean taking money and power away from the elite, we can expect to hear a lot of enraged talk from the press about “declining moral values” and a “lack of filial piety”, neatly shifting the focus onto the younger generation of ordinary people, who cannot afford to support generations of retired people on their low wages.
Just think - if we do away with Social Security, America can have this too!
We used to have values like these in the West as well. It´s an out of control economic system that fucks us all over globally.
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