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Table of Contents
Ⅰ. Modernization through Saemaul Undong
1. Saemaul Undong’ Ideals s 2. Saemaul Undong’ Guiding Spirit s 3. Goals of Saemaul Undong 6 7 8
Ⅱ. Evolution of Saemaul Undong
1. Historical Background and Social Environment 2. Stages in the Development of Saemaul Undong 9 13
Ⅲ. Saemaul Undong’ Main Objectives s
1. Saemaul Undong in Rural Areas 2. Saemaul Undong in Urban Areas 3. Corporation, Factory, and Library Saemaul Undong 21 25 28
Ⅳ. Saemaul Leaders and Saemaul Education: Roles and Functions
1. Saemaul Leaders 2. Implementation Process and Results of Saemaul Education 31 32
Ⅴ. Saemaul Undong: Systems and Methods of Implementation
1. Systems of Implementation 2. Methods of Implementation 37 47
Ⅵ. Achievements of Saemaul Undong and the Factors behind its Success
1. Achievements 2. Factors behind Saemaul Undong’ Success s 3. Reflection on Saemaul Undong 50 55 63
Ⅶ. Implementing Saemaul Undong in the 21st Century
1. Challenging the Future 2. Directions of the New Saemaul Undong in the 21st Century 3. Strategies to Revitalize the New Saemaul Undong 65 67 73
I. Modernization through Saemaul Undong
We Koreans have always perceived modernization as a macro-trend in world history and have naturally striven to modernize our nation. In the early 1970s, modernization efforts implemented by the incumbent administration included Saemaul Undong, or the Rural Reconstruction Campaign. This government program, however, elicited criticisms from some Koreans who argued that the government at that time appeared to be willing to sacrifice social values, including freedom, for the sake of maintaining high efficiency and rapid economic growth. As the movement was initiated and implemented by the government, Saemaul Undong was criticized as being nothing more than a tool to prolong the rule, and improve the legitimacy of the regime. Saemaul Undong’primary objective was to s respond to the basic daily needs of the Korean people. The ideal and spirit of Saemaul Undong, which steered the campaign, were explicitly stated in the following statements of then President Park Chung-Hee:“Saemaul Undong embodies our efforts to improve and modernize our villages by ourselves in the spirit of self-help and independence. The government has launched the national campaign in the firm belief that it would turn every village in Korea into a prosperous and comfortable place to live in.”
1. Saemaul Undong’ Ideals s
Saemaul Undong primarily seeks to facilitate community development and modernization. This ideal is not confined to efforts to improve individual lifestyles and living conditions, but encompasses the whole community. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to develop villages where people can enjoy both physical and spiritual wealth. The term“Saemaul”was coined by combining Sae, which means ‘progressive renewal based on past experiences,’and Maul, which refers to ‘regional and social communities.’ Thus, Saemaul Undong represents a continuous effort towards community renewal and modernization for a better future. The development of Saemaul Undong is characterized as follows: Saemaul Undong emphasizes growth by manifesting and enacting the people’desire to be s free from the shackles of poverty and to join the ranks of well-to-do societies. Such an emphasis was natural at a time when all developing countries were supposed to follow, and were actually following, the western model of modernization. Against this backdrop, Saemaul Undong surfaced as the primary driving force of the nation’mods ernization.
Saemaul Undong stresses societal welfare and signifies the nation’commitment to egalitaris an economic development. As a developing country, Korea was no stranger to regional, industrial and social disparities that accompany the blind pursuit of economic growth. The raison-d’ of etre Saemaul Undong is a balanced pursuit of overall economic growth and an egalitarian distribution process. Saemaul Undong tries to harmonize two conflicting values. While accepting the need for modernization, Saemaul Undong also values traditions that have endured the test of time. Interpreting Sae as referring to the pursuit of change and Maul as signifying traditional communities, it can be inferred that Saemaul Undong stands for the continuation of old values. Common wisdom often criticizes such an approach as unrealistic and ambiguous, but in fact it creates a balance between the two extremes, and opens up the possibility of combining them. Saemaul Undong employs a holistic approach. It never exclusively stresses the enhancement of agricultural productivity in developing remote agricultural sectors, though this is a top priority. Instead, it also develops physical and social infrastructure such as roads and education. Saemaul Undong believes that economic growth in rural communities should be compatible with efforts to preserve conventional cultural traditions and a healthy natural environment.
2. Saemaul Undong’ Guiding s Spirit
Saemaul Undong is guided by three central social values in Korean society: the spirit of diligence, self-help, and cooperation: History has illustrated, in East and West, past and present, that a nation’ fate hinges upon the s
mentality of its people. Although different civilizations have developed different mentalities, the will to independently pursue one’future is universal s to all cultures. Diligence is the result of activating this will and entails the realization of efforts to make the most of what is available. Diligence leads to sincerity, a value that does not allow for falseness, hypocrisy, vanity, or indulgence in luxury. A society whose members sincerely work hard is enabled to develop a sound community propped up by trust and social justice, and without corruption or irregularities. On the individual level, the will to independently define one’fate based on personal efforts is s manifested in the spirit of self-help, figuratively illustrated in the time-honored proverb“Heaven helps those who help themselves.”The first step towards self-help is to understand oneself and one’place in the society, live up to one’role, and s s fulfill ones responsibilities. Such self-understanding means that one neither depends upon others nor transfers one’ responsibilities to others, and s instead, tackles any adversities on one’own, taks ing full responsibility for decisions. It should be noted that diligence and self-help are necessary but insufficient conditions in life. Cooperation is necessary to maximize the results of diligence and self-help, and to maximize the social validity of such efforts. Genuine cooperation, or pursuit of community growth based on mutual trust, results only when the members of a society share a common sense of destiny. The successful realization of cooperation not only gives rise to a tradition of mutual help but also assists individual members of the society to improve their lives by promoting competition and the desire to participate. These three values of Saemaul Undong, each an independent criterion for judging an individual’life worth, exert much more influence s and have more value when combined and harmonized.
One who can help oneself and is diligent can function actively and autonomously through creative thinking and independent judgment. Clear understanding of one’social role and its entailing s duties and responsibilities enhances one’autonos my. One who is diligent and cooperative can sympathize with others and appreciate the true meaning of sacrifice, and can therefore do one’part in s pursuing overall prosperity by serving others and respecting law and order. One who is diligent, cooperative and can help oneself can help construct a mature and moral society characterized by national harmony and social integration. These three working principles for social justice - selfhelp, diligence, and cooperation - help our society move closer to a rational system based on honesty, honor, and justice.
3. Goals of Saemaul Undong
Saemaul Undong strives to guarantee integrity on both individual and social levels, and believes that integrity can begin only when minimum physical demands are met. Based on this belief, the campaign puts improvement of physical living conditions at the top of its list of objectives.
As human beings are destined to live together, society formation and individual integrity cannot be separated from the realization of the integrity of the whole society. Simply putting individuals together does not create a modern and prosperous society. New social demands constantly emerge, requiring harmonized collective approaches. This is the rationale behind Saemaul Undong’emphas sis on common virtues or goals. This focus helps members of society develop a collective identity and sharpen their sense of mutual relative significance. As a result, the community itself can serve as a cultivating ground for an indigenous culture pursuing environmental preservation. Within this framework, the basic goals of Saemaul Undong are: (1) to develop a modern, comfortable and convenient social community; (2) to establish companies that workers can be proud of and where sustained growth is achieved in a cooperative and trusting working environment; (3) to develop and maintain a sound and healthy society whose members are able to enjoy pleasant and intimate relationships; and (4) to build a continuously improving nation that everyone will be proud of. Such a society is sustained by a mature citizenry, substantial economic development, and a culture strengthened by order and morality.
II. Evolution of Saemaul Undong
1. Historical Background and Social Environment
A. Political Background
The 25 years between 1945, when Korea regained her independence from the Imperial Japanese Rule, and the end of the 1960s were marked by unprecedented turbulence and chaos. This period was highlighted by major events including the resumption of independence, the consequent division of Korea, the temporary occupation by the US military forces, the establishment of the Korean government, the Korean War (195053), the dictatorship of first President Rhee SeungMan, the April 19th Student Revolution (1960), the launching of the Chang Myon government (1960), the May 16th Military Coup, and assumption of power by coup leader General Park Chung-Hee (1961).
With the wounds incurred by the nation’ s forced division and the fratricidal Korean War still unhealed, politics in South Korea remained marred by confrontation and chaos, alternating between dictatorship and almost irresponsible freedom. The limited experience of party-based politics, lack of political leadership, lack of modern citizenship, lack of trust in democracy, and unsound socio-political system, among other problems, combined to lead to unhealthy governance, non-productive political activities, and widespread corruption, irregularities and bureaucracy. The Military Coup in 1961 marked a historical turning point for Korea in almost every aspect. A new group surfaced on the political front, and a new governing system changed the administrative framework. A drive to eradicate old societal patterns and attitudes and establish a new order and code of ethics was launched and gained firm
ground. The revolution of the system offered an opportunity to bring about changes in the mindset of the general public. Despite these positive developments, however, the Third Republic that emerged from the Coup did not enjoy enthusiastic political support from the Korean people. Saemaul Undong, which was initiated in the early 1970s, was closely embedded in its historical context and had far-reaching sociopolitical implications. One cannot understand the multiple facets of the campaign without associating one facet with all the others, as these aspects produce spiraling effects while interacting with one another. The political origin of Saemaul Undong is rooted in an attempt by the administration to converge and funnel public energy into productive fields. There existed a formidable need to provide the general public with hopes and dreams so that they could move beyond disparity, frustration, under-motivation, and irresponsibility. There was also a need to draw out courage and further wisdom from the pessimistic public in order for them to help themselves and cooperate on a daily basis. It was suggested that awakening the citizens to face reality and unite is conducive to enhancing national competitiveness and stabilizing the national foundation. The necessary tasks - includ-
ing stabilizing the national government, promoting new leadership, identifying sources of national competitiveness, enhancing national productivity, offering inspiring visions, and stimulating efforts for self-helpnecessitated a national drive anchored to a new idea or philosophy that could earn the general public’ support and mobilize s their participation. The political needs as well as the demands of the time combined to give rise to Saemaul Undong. Saemaul Undong’ precursors can be found s in the 4-H Movement or Community Development (CD) Campaign in the 1950s and the 1960s. These movements, however, were limited to certain areas and targeted mainly rural societies. Saemaul Undong, on the other hand, deepened efforts along this line, and implemented diverse projects and events for the general public in all corners of Korea. The burgeoning stage of Saemaul Undong can be summarized as an effort to create national energy to raise national competitiveness. Specifically, the campaign sought to improve the general public’awareness and stans dards of living by offering new and progressive motivations.
B. Economic Background
Extreme poverty and chaos also characterized the period between resumed independence and the end of the 1960s. The per capita GNP, which stood at a meager US$ 50 at the time of the independence, recorded a tediously slow increase, amounting to $65 in the 1950s and $85 in 1960. The majority of citizens were unable to support themselves because the persistent effects of both Japanese plundering during the occupation and the Korean War drove them to the brink of starvation. A substantial portion of the populace lived on flour granted by US grain aid programs, since the land was devastated and frequent attacks by alternating floods and droughts meant bad harvests year after year. These economic difficulties
left deep and direct marks on the Korean people and the society as a whole, giving rise to unsound social practices and distorted attitudes. The prospect of democracy blooming in Korea seemed just about as likely as“a flower blooming in a waste basket.”Social order was threatened by widespread corruption and irregularities, organized crime, legal offences, and other illegal activities. Acutely aware of these problems, the general public welcomed the ideas of economic development and the establishment of order, two of the policy goals proclaimed by the military government.
The Five-Year Economic Development Plan series, first implemented in 1962, featured export-driven economic growth and development of heavy industries. Its effect began to be felt slowly in 1967, during the second Plan, and consequently, per capita GNP jumped to US$ 257 by 1970. Social order also began to stabilize, albeit only through regulations and external forces. On the other hand, city-building and manufacturing-oriented policies began to take their toll by creating wide disparities in living conditions between urban and rural communities, and between those employed in manufacturing and
agricultural sectors. People from agricultural communities increasingly moved to urban areas, resulting in a disproportionally large urban populace. This tendency was most visible in the metropolitan area surrounding Seoul, the nation’capis tal. The most direct and essential cause for Saemaul Undong involves economic concerns. The strong commitment of late President Park Chung-Hee, then head of state, to eradicate poverty was met by the general public’yearning for a s life free from poverty. This in turn lent energy to the launching of Saemaul Undong, the primary goal of which was to increase income. Saemaul Undong was accepted as a breakthrough based on confidence and optimism in the campaign to escape from despair and frustration. Due to the successful Five-Year Economic Plans, which was started in 1962, the nation’ s economy expanded and the average per capita GNP rose. The economic gap between urban and agricultural areas, however, widened further as agricultural areas remained neglected. Chances of overcoming such regional disparities became increasingly slim as experts judged that it would take a long time for metropolitan and industrial prosperity to spread to rural areas and rural residents. Until then, rural areas would become even more remote, creating serious obstacles to completing national development. People feared that
the ever-growing disparity between urban and rural sectors would trigger mass migration, creating over-crowded cities and deserted rural villages. The economic gap among the different regions would also lead citizens to lose their community awareness, blocking not only the enhancement of social harmony but also the construction of an effective system of national security. In order to prevent such problems from becoming realities, the growing need for economic development of rural communities was recognized. Against this backdrop, Saemaul Undong was launched as a nationwide modernization campaign.
C. Social Background
The coarse living environments represented by inferior housing, undeveloped roads, and poor drinking water supply and sewage systems, fell short of meeting the basic requirements for a comfortable life. Better living conditions were vital to curbing the exodus from rural areas as well as enhancing the living conditions of those staying on. Since such a project required enormous human, financial, and other resources, the government could not fund it independently. Fortunately, a consensus emerged between the government and rural residents that improving living conditions was in the interest of both public and private sectors, and that the needed funds should be shouldered jointly by the government and affected residents. Saemaul Undong was implemented based on this consensus. Another social factor that prompted the implementation of Saemaul Undong was the need for new mindsets and attitudes among the general public. The lives of most Koreans in the 1960s were dictated by irrationality, low productivity, and disorder. Few people prepared themselves for the future, out of pessimism or uncertainty regarding the future. Many were accustomed to living in despair, frustration and idle-
ness. It was only natural to try to awaken the general public to face its unhealthy attitudes and lifestyles, and help people develop mindsets and attitudes that could contribute to the building of a healthy, strong, and stable society. Such a revolution in attitudes could not be achieved without dedication and effort from each and every citizen. Thus Saemaul Undong was born as a nationwide drive, responding to the need for a revolutionary change in citizens’attitudes and mindsets. This very need, an essential factor in the campaign’implementation, became Saemaul s Undong’basic goal as well. s
2. Stages in the Development of Saemaul Undong
A. Stages of Saemaul Undong’ s Implementation
Saemaul Undong evolved continuously for almost one generation after its official launch by late President Park Chung-Hee on April 22, 1970. The campaign underwent a number of changes in the course of its development. These changes, both positive and negative, contributed to making Saemaul Undong a source of the Korean people’ s pride and self-confidence. With the passage of time, Saemaul Undong has gone through different stages emphasizing different developmental criteria. The main representative criteria included ideals, supporting philosophies and goals; main agents of implementation and their functions and roles; overall organization, functions and human power; prioritized activities and projects, and their funding; and strategies and tactics employed and effects achieved. The sub-criteria of these five categories varied, reflecting the demands of the time. It is therefore possible to classify the overall development of the initiative into several stages based on
the scope and content of such changes in the developmental criteria. Admittedly, however, evaluation results vary depending on which criteria are used and how they are weighted. This necessitates a single powerful model to examine the various aspects of the movement. One possible response to this challenge is to classify the developmental stages based on the relationships between the different developmental criteria employed and their varying significance. The following division of the initiative into five developmental stages is based on such an approach. The first stage, the foundation and groundwork stage (1970-1973), strove to create a foundation for the program. In the second, the proliferation stage (1974-1976), the organization and activities gradually grew. The third stage was the energetic implementation stage (1977-1979), during which the effects of the program were felt most. The fourth stage is designated as the overhauling stage (19801989) when the movement redefined its organizational structure and activities as a private-sector movement. The final autonomous growth stage (1990-1998) was characterized by strengthened self-reliance and autonomy (See Table 1).
B. Development, by Stage
(1) Stage 1: Foundation and Groundwork (1970-1973)
The launching of Saemaul Undong on April 22, 1970 signaled the beginning of the nationwide “Constructing Better Villages”campaign. The
government issued working guidelines for“Ten Projects for Constructing Better Villages” a pilot as program. To improve living conditions, 335 bags of cement were allotted to each of over 33,000 villages. One man and one woman were elected to lead each village in planning and implementing projects needed by the village. Projects to improve living environments received the greatest emphasis, followed by projects to increase household income, and projects to reform attitudes. Projects to improve living conditions were focused on expanding road networks inside the village, opening common outdoor laundry facilities, and replacing traditional roofs, fences, kitchen facilities and toilets with more durable or modern ones. Projects designed to increase household income concentrated mainly on raising agricultural income by implementing agricultural roads expansion, agricultural land amelioration, seed improvement, and labor sharing among farmers. Attitude-reform projects were geared towards improving undesirable mentality and attitudes. Specifically, emphasis was placed on removing decadent social trends, promoting a diligent and frugal lifestyle, and forming a cooperative environment. Separate organizations and support systems were established on both central and local government levels to actively and effectively assist Saemaul Undong, and coordinate and encourage the implementation of related projects. The Training Institute for Saemaul Leaders was opened to promote qualified and able manpower. Saemaul Undong began to spread rapidly across the country as people became enthusiastic
<Table 1> Stages of Saemaul Undong
Stage Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Characteristics Foundation and Groundwork Proliferation Energetic Implementation Overhaul Autonomous Growth Period 1970 ~ 1973 1974 ~ 1976 1977 ~ 1979 1980 ~ 1989 1990 ~ 1998
about the campaign’tangible results. Rural living s conditions changed radically, almost beyond recognition, and poverty in agricultural communities became less grinding. Some signs of attitudinal changes on the part of the citizens also emerged. Most of all, per capita GNP rose sharply from US$ 257 in 1970 to US$ 375 in 1973. The first four years of Saemaul Undong have some noticeable characteristics: rapid establishment with almost simultaneous laying of the groundwork for the campaign and promulgating it; powerful government involvement and initiation; and prioritizing of projects to improve immediate living conditions. The first phase of Saemaul Undong achieved greater success than expected owing to the government’ strong commitment, citizens’ s active participation, and the social necessity for such a program.
(2) Stage II: Proliferation (1974-1976) The three years from 1974 bore witness to the establishment of Saemaul Undong as a national campaign. Saemaul Undong began expanding to
include corporations and factories, and the scope and target of projects gradually enlarged. Accordingly, more organizations and greater manpower were engaged in the governmental, regional, and corporation units of the campaign, and more financial assistance and loans were provided. Saemaul Education was strongly reinforced to help campaign leaders develop their capabilities. Related educational opportunities were opened up to public employees, opinion leaders and general citizens, in order to proliferate a correct understanding of the campaign and promote attitudinal changes. In short, the effect of Saemaul Undong in strengthening public order, and rationalizing and modernizing the living modes of the general public, is almost beyond description. Various public events, including National Saemaul Leaders’ Conventions, were also instrumental in encouraging the leaders and promoting the campaign. Priority of projects during Stage II was assessed in the following order: income-raising projects, attitude reform projects, and living envi-
ronment improvement projects. Strategies employed to increase income included straightening raised footpaths between rice fields, streamlining small rivers, pursuing combined farming, operating common workplaces, and identifying extra income sources other than farming, etc. As a result, per capita GNP more than doubled during the 1974-1976 period, standing at US$ 765 by the end of 1976. Much effort went into rationalizing public thinking and attitudes through public education and public relations activities. Projects to improve living conditions, which received the greatest attention in Stage I, also received continued attention in the second stage: efforts to replace roofs, improve house structures, install basic water supply facilities, and construct village centers. Traditional thatched-roof houses almost vanished, kitchens and toilets were modernized, and overall
Impressed by the achievements in the agricultural sector, urban citizens began to pay greater attention to the campaign. An increasing number of citizens participated in a drive to help their native towns, and Saemaul Undong was launched in urban areas as well. The combined pursuit of increased income and changed attitudes was another characteristic of Stage II. This combination aimed at achieving a synergistic effect by seeking physical wealth and mental health concurrently. Another characteristic of Stage II was its successful establishment as a national drive. It began to penetrate the daily lives of the general public by gaining their understanding and sympathy, and the campaign’success story began s to reach other countries.
sanitation improved considerably. It should be noted that agricultural household income was higher than urban household income in 1976. Stage II of Saemaul Undong featured spatial and functional expansion. The positive experiences of Stage I fueled the expansion of the drive to encompass cities and various vocational organizations, bringing some aspect of the campaign to citizens living in every corner of the country.
(3) Stage III: Energetic Implementation (1977-1979) The three years of the third stage of Saemaul Undong were marked by efforts to enhance the achievements of the campaign. Using villages as its basic unit of implementation had placed limitations on the program. Realizing this, the campaign began to focus more on improving economic gains by expanding the basic unit of implementation and scope of projects. It also sought to link the urban and rural areas more closely so that it could cover larger areas and create a closely linked community encompassing both. Saemaul Undong reflected regional characteristics in its devising and implementing of plans. Emphasis was placed on raising income and expanding cultural and welfare-related facilities for rural areas. Raising livestock and growing special purpose plants were encouraged, and industrial parks that combined agriculture and manufacturing were constructed, along with Saemaul factories, in an attempt to augment household income with non-agricultural sources of income. Village arrangements were also improved and refined, and convenient types of housing were introduced to improve living conditions in rural
sectors. The government guided the suppliers of construction materials to produce goods with standardized dimensions, and this greatly contributed to the improvement of housing facilities. On the other hand, material conservation, productivity enhancement, and healthier labor relations were considered as the top priorities in urban areas. Paving alleys, sweeping roads and alleys in front of one’house, and respecting pubs lic order were among the projects implemented in urban areas. Saemaul Undong was also expanded to include corporations and factories, where it focused on raising productivity, conserving materials, and building positive labor-management relations, among other objectives. As a result, productivity and incomes grew markedly. per capita GNP doubled again during the 1976-79 period to US$ 1,394. Most of all, living conditions were improved while regional disparities were lessened. Stage III can be generally characterized as the quantitative expansion and establishment of the
movement’identity. In the earlier stages, individs ual villages were the campaign’basic implemens tation unit. This changed as villages developed links with one another, thus expanding the basic project unit to cover a region. This guaranteed enhanced efficiency and economic gains by allowing several villages to develop and pool their respective natural resources. Consequently, project volumes gradually enlarged, achieving greater economies of scale. More village citizens were able to use more and better facilities over a larger region, and this in turn raised such facilities’ utilization rates. This trend accelerated as people developed the capability to manage larger projects, thanks to increased income and accumulated funds raised jointly by linked villages. Different Saemaul Undong entities, namely, rural and urban communities, and corporations and factories, identified and conducted projects and activities tailored to their respective organizational functions and demands. These combined to raise the practical effectiveness of the campaign.
(4) Stage IV: Overhaul (1980-1989) The demise of President Park Chung-Hee threw the whole country into political and social chaos. The subsequent Fifth and Sixth Republics represented a period of unprecedented turbulence and adverse history for Saemaul Undong. Led by the government in the 1970s, it was taken over by the private sector in the early 1980s. The Korea Saemaul Undong Center was registered as a legal corporation on December 1, 1980. On December 13, 1980, Saemaul Undong Organization Fostering Act (Act No. 2369) took effect, a policy aimed at assisting and fostering Saemaul Undong organizations voluntarily formed by the private sector. The goal of the act was to guarantee the continued implementation and promotion of the drive, and help it contribute to the development of the nation and the society. With this act, the non-governmental Saemaul Undong organization emerged as a national entity that reached every corner of the nation. Saemaul Undong’ member associations s include Saemaul Undong Headquarters, which is the umbrella organization for the Central Council of Saemaul Leaders, the Central Council of Saemaul Women’Clubs, the Central Council of s Saemaul Undong at Corporations, Factory Headquarters of Saemaul Undong, and the Central Council of Vocational Saemaul Undong Entities, among many others. Regional offices are located in major shi (cities) and do (provinces), and branch offices operate in shi, kun (rural counties), and ku (urban district). Saemaul leaders direct lower administrative units: up, myon, dong, and maul. Saemaul Undong Headquarters was later reborn as the Korea Saemaul Undong Center, and the Saemaul Youth Association, Saemaul Sports Association, and School Saemaul Undong became new members. Unilateral mismanagement and insolvent operations by some self-righteous central leaders deprived the organization of public support, and even led the body to be widely criticized. A
national scandal involving fund mismanagement sparked heated public denunciation, which in turn lowered the morale of Saemaul Leaders, and left lingering negative impacts on the campaign as a whole. The campaign, however, survived this adversity and continued to implement projects such as paving roads, giving education on combined farming, improving distribution, operating Saemaul Credit Union, and developing parks throughout the country. During the 1988 Summer Olympiad held in Seoul, the campaign was a key to the success of the global event, organizing a large-scale Olympics Saemaul Undong with the working themes of order, kindness, and cleanliness. Per capita GNP more than tripled from 1979 to 1989, reaching US$ 4,934. In short, Saemaul Undong in Stage IV featured efforts to get the campaign back on the right track. It was changed from a government-initiated to a private sector organization, enhancing the division of roles between the governmental and non-governmental sectors. Although some dysfunction and slackened performance were observed in the process, the drive spared no effort to move beyond such negative side-effects and resume its intended role. Backed up by these attempts, the campaign entered the new decade with renewed commitment and a positive attitude.
(5) Stage V: Autonomous Growth (1990-1998) Saemaul Undong began to seek new changes as it entered the last decade of the 21st century. It identified the following tasks as imposed by the times: ■ effectively responding to the heightening waves of liberalization on the international front and localization on the domestic front; ■ reversing the nation’economic downts urn, which was beginning to be felt; and, ■ rectifying the degenerating public order that was showing increasing disorder and non-ethical practices. The launch of the World Trade Organization, resumption of the local autonomous government system, and the onset of the foreign exchange crisis in 1997, all imposed formidable challenges and difficulties on Koreans. Squarely meeting these national difficulties, Saemaul Undong launched an active drive. Specifically, the organization continued to overhaul and downsize in order to strengthen its foundation of autonomy and self-reliance, and enhance its capabilities. It tried to achieve concrete results by being more responsive to the practical
needs of its field offices rather than those of the desk-bound central organization. Part of this effort included tailoring projects and activities to reflect regional characteristics. Much attention was devoted to encouraging citizens to put their love of their neighbors into practice and serve for others, promoting the sense of shared destiny, and restoring moral ethics in the community. Priority projects in this stage included cultivating better living environments in individual communities, transmitting and advancing traditional culture, revitalizing the economy, promoting direct trade between urban and rural citizens, enhancing the atmosphere of hard work, campaigning for sound and healthy life styles, restoring moral ethics, and galvanizing volunteer services. Education stood at the core of the campaign. Through various casual events and gatherings, as well as formal education and training opportunities, education for public servants, high-ranking officers of firms, students and general citizens was provided to transform their attitudes into those of Saemaul Leaders. Per capita GNP, which amounted to US$ 4,934 in 1989, finally surpassed the ten-thousanddollar mark in 1996. This landmark achievement, however, proved short-lived. The foreign curren-
cy crisis that emerged toward the end of 1997 handed a severe blow to the nation’economy. s The situation remains, but Saemaul Undong has accepted this difficulty as a challenge of the times, one that requires immediate attention and utilization of its accumulated capabilities. Saemaul Undong in Stage V is characterized by several initiatives. First, it attempted to develop autonomous and independent capabilities to pursue its goals by reinforcing its basis of autonomy and self-support. Second, it sought to enhance its competitiveness as an organization on the global stage by coping with the global liberalization and domestic localization trends. Third, it tried to reform the attitudes of citizens and bring about a sound and healthy social atmosphere, one con-
ducive to overcoming the economic crisis.
C. Summary of Saemaul Undong’ s Evolution
Born in 1970, the 29-year-old Saemaul Undong has gone through five stages characterized by different ideals, guiding spirits, goals, projects, organizations, and activities. Admittedly, it sometimes faced harsh criticisms from the general public and suffered from a lack of public support. However, the overall evaluation of the movement remains positive, since the public can appreciate Saemaul Undong’undeniable role and influence s on the nation’modernization and growth (See s Table 2).
<Table 2> Development of Saemaul Undong
Stage Priority Projects Characteristics
GNP per capita (in US dollars)
1.Foundation and Groundwork (1970~73)
∙Improving living environments: Expanding roads inside villages, constructing common laundry facilities, ∙Launching and igniting the campaign improving roofs, kitchens, and fences ∙Increasing income: Expanding agricultural roads, ∙Government-initiated activities improving farmland and seeds, division of labor ∙Attitude reform: Fostering diligence and frugality, and a ∙Top priority on improving living environment cooperative atmosphere ∙Increasing income: Straightening rice field ridges, consolidating creeks , encouraging combined farming, operating common working places, identifying non-agri- ∙Expanding program scope and functions cultural income sources ∙Increasing income and changing attitudes ∙Attitude reform: Attitude changes through Saemaul education and public relations activities ∙Earning national understanding and consensus ∙mproving living conditions: Improving housing and water supply systems, operating village centers ∙Rural areas: Encouraging the construction of more modern housing, encouraging growth of special-pur- ∙Larger units of implementation by developing linkages pose plants, running industrial facilities to combine agri- among villages in the same region culture and manufacturing ∙Urban areas: Paving alleys, cleaning, establishing order ∙Economies of scale ∙Corporations and factories: Enhancing productivity, conserving materials, promoting sound labor-management ∙Appearance of distinct unit characteristics relations ∙Social atmosphere: Kindness, order, selflessness, ∙Reborn as a private sector-organization cooperation ∙Economic development: Combined farming, distribution ∙Enhancing the role division between government and improvement, credit union activities private sectors ∙Environmental activities: Cleanliness, developing parks throughout the country, building better access roads ∙Escape from inactivity and contraction ∙Sound atmosphere: Developing traditional culture, emphasizing hard work, sound lifestyles, recovery of ∙Reinforcing the basis of autonomy and self-reliance moral ethics ∙Economic stability: Economic recovery, urban-rural ∙Meeting the need for liberalization and localization direct trade, diligence and frugality ∙Living environment: Cultivating better community envi- ∙Efforts to overcome economic crisis ronments, emphasizing autonomous living
∙257 in 1970 ∙375 in 1973
2. Proliferation (1974~76)
∙402 in 1974 ∙765 in 1976
3. Energetic Implementation (1977~79)
∙966 in 1977 ∙1,394 in 1979
4. Overhaul (1980~89)
∙1,507 in 1980 ∙4,934 in 1989
5. Autonomous Growth (1990~98)
∙5,503 in 1990 ∙10,548 in 1996
III. Saemaul Undong’Main Objectives s
1. Saemaul Undong in Rural Areas
When Saemaul Undong was established in 1970, the government was unable to provide financial support towards improving the standard of living in rural territories. However, rural villages were eager to use whatever governmental assistance was available to modernize their out-
dated production facilities and living conditions, making the most of what they had and cooperating with one another. Saemaul Undong was the product of the then-president’dedication to the development of s the rural sectors, combined with the agricultural population’desire for a better future, and was s launched with the momentum taken from this encounter. Confirming his belief that a community suc-
ceeds because of excellent leadership, independence and self-reliance among citizens, former President Park reiterated that diligence, self-support and cooperation were the principles behind Saemaul Undong. Saemaul Undong was rapidly adopted across the country, beginning in rural sectors by exploiting the combination of governmental support, active guidance from public employees, and the awareness and will of the agricultural populace. The program spurred enthusiasm and energy across the country, with rural villages as its basic implementation units. In just a few years, rural villages managed to exhibit an entirely new profile. The rural population
developed self-confidence, as seen in slogans such as “We Too Can Do,” “A Better Future Awaits or Us.” Saemaul Undong had successfully planted its seed in rural areas. The conventional formula for regional community development had been “education of residents → adoption of implementation skills by residents → development of regional commun-ity.” The new development model of Saemaul Undong, however, was to conduct projects that “meet residents’ visible needs → encourage selfconfidence among residents, → and achieve village development.” As the campaign to cultivate better villages
presented impressive results, the government saw the need for a more systematic approach to the drive. To guarantee effective rural advancement, the government set the general course for related projects and limited its assistance by providing the minimum basic materials needed for the projects. The focus of the initial stage was on improving rural living environments, which was certain to produce tangible results. Projects included expanding and paving local roads inside villages, opening common laundry facilities, and improving roofs, kitchens, and fences. Positive recognition justified the emphasis on this field, proving that it was most urgent for rural residents to bridge the gap between their income level and that of their urban counterparts. As governmental assistance in providing essential supplies for the related projects was inadequate, rural residents had to tackle the problems arising from limited resources with diligence, self-reliance, and cooperation. Village councils composed of both village leaders and residents decided how to best use materials allotted for village development. This experience contributed to the growth of opinionsharing and grass-roots democracy that reached the smallest administrative unit of Korea, the maul. The government was able to maximize its limited resources by giving priority to villages with excellent Saemaul Undong records. A special bureau in charge of organizing and assisting the campaign and coordinating related projects was appended to the central government, and the Saemaul Leaders Training Institute was opened to advance the qualifications and capabilities of the trainees. As Saemaul Undong spread nationwide and recorded an increasing number of major achievements, the campaign earned the recognition of the Korean people as a national tool for bringing about national prosperity. During this period, Saemaul projects came to encompass collective objectives that included opening village centers, installing basic water supply systems, and
improving housing. Projects to increase income were also implemented, including the encouragement of combined farming, operation of joint workplaces, and identification of non-agricultural income sources. Saemaul Undong changed course from a campaign to improve rural living environments with government-supplied resources to a drive to increase agricultural income. The government provided a significant boost to the program by mandating all government organizations to provide loans for income-increase projects. Saemaul Training Camps taught high-ranking public servants and opinion leaders about the rationale of the movement, and moved them with success stories from agricultural leaders. The experiences in the camps were decisive in expanding assistance to the drive. Towards the end of the 1970s, the rapid urbanization of Korea gave rise to an urgent need for balanced development between urban and rural areas. Responding to this need, Saemaul Undong moved beyond its rural focus and
sought to identify strategies to pursue the campaign on a broader basis. It began to pay more attention to the balanced development of both urban and rural areas. Priority was placed on improving the layout of rural villages and constructing more comfortable housing facilities called mun-hwa-ju-t’ Different project areas aek. were promoted to pursue different income-earning projects, reflecting respective regional characteristics. The government also expanded opportunities to earn non-agricultural income, for example, by constructing Saemaul factories and forming agriculture-manufacturing industrial facilities. Projects to improve rural living conditions were carried out with a focus on widening and paving entry roads to rural villages, and incomeincreasing projects that encouraged combined farming and improved related distribution systems. In the 1990s, the full-fledged local autonomous governmental system led the campaign to identify and implement projects tailored
to regional characteristics. The organization and the implementation system were streamlined, and projects that developed urban-rural trade links, cultivated communities, developed rural traditional cultures, and revitalized the overall economy, were emphasized. Overall, Saemaul Undong brought about revolutionary changes in the agricultural base of Korea by expanding agricultural roads, restructuring arable lands, building bridges, and developing agricultural water supply systems. It also contributed to the continued increase in farming household income by raising agricultural income and expanding nonagricultural income sources. Improved housing and kitchen facilities in agricultural and fishing communities helped construct a more pleasant living environment. Wider entry roads, streamlined local roads, newly opened farming convenience facilities, and the increased opportunities to use public facilities allowed rural residents to enjoy more convenient lives (See Tables 3 and 4).
<Table 3> Major Saemaul Projects
Project name Expanding village roads Constructing new agricultural roads Installing small bridges Constructing village centers Building warehouses Housing improvements Improving village layout Constructing sewage systems Supplying electricity to rural and fishing communities Operating Saemaul factories
Km Km Unit Unit Unit Unit Village Km
26,266 49,167 76,749 35,608 34,665 544,000
43,558 61,797 79,516 37,012 22,143 225,000 2,747
Growth rate (in %)
166 126 104 104 64 42
<Table 4> Farming Household Income, by Year
(in Korean won)
Year 70 73 76 79
Household income 255.800 480,700 1,156,300 2,227,500
Agricultural income Amount 194,000 390,300 921,200 1,531,300 Ratio (%) 75.9% 81.2 79.7 68.7
Non-agricultural income Amount 61.800 90,400 235,100 696,200 Ratio (%) 24.1% 18.8 20.3 31.3
It is generally agreed that the most significant result of Saemaul Undong in the rural sector was the attitudinal changes by the rural populace, developing self-trust, as reflected in the slogans “We can do,”or“Everything is possible.”Rural residents came to embrace new traditions of diligence, self-help, and cooperation through their enthusiastic participation in the process of developing their own communities, and they simultaneously developed a community awareness with which to overcome common difficulties amidst unfavorable conditions. Future rural Saemaul Undong projects should focus on enhancing the overall competitiveness of the rural sector in the new world order of the Uruguay Round and the World Trade Organization, and in an adverse domestic situation represented by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bail-out. The critical task in this competitiveness-enhancing drive should be to create or identify jobs that kindle pride, a sense of achievement, and hope. Emphasis should be placed on advancing agriculture as an industry, developing organic links to connect the farming, commerce, and manufacturing aspects of rural communities, enhancing cultural opportunities, and improving the welfare system for the agricultural populace. Needless to say, the energy of Saemaul Undong lies in the maul, or villages, as the actual field of life and work. The program must now aggressively pursue the New Saemaul Undong,
not only to construct a better country, but also lay the groundwork for a reunified nation.
2. Saemaul Undong in Urban Areas
The urban Saemaul Undong refers to the drive to develop cleaner and more comfortable urban areas by eradicating irrational practices and establishing a sound social atmosphere. Many factors contributed to the rise of the urban Saemaul Undong initiative. First, the oil crisis and subsequent sluggish economic performance in 1973 led to the increasing importance of conserving energy and raw materials. Urban citizens began to note and acknowledge the significance of the rural Saemaul Undong. An increasing number of opinion leaders who represented various segments of the society and had participated in Saemaul Education recognized the need to spread the Saemaul spirit. In addition, the atmosphere for attitude reform ripened as a means to contain unhealthy urban problems. As industrialization advanced, the urban populace grew in terms of both size and economic influence, emerging as a powerful group that assumed major functions in the nation’ development. All of the s above-mentioned factors combined to promote the significance of the urban Saemaul Undong program to the level of its rural counterpart. The urban Saemaul Undong, first launched in
1973, continued to expand its territory until the end of the 1970s. Since the 1980s, it has changed in nature from a government-led drive to a private sector-initiated program. Projects to improve the urban living environment began in 1973 in certain urban areas and corporations. In 1974, one hour on the first day of each month was designated as Saemaul time, during which households, schools, corporations and organizations cleaned up their neighborhoods. This clean-up event later became established as a leading urban Saemaul project. In 1975, Saemaul Undong implementation system was overhauled to distribute different
functions in separate and independent corporations specializing in the respective functions. Leading figures of the respective bodies who had received Saemaul education led this streamlining process. While respecting the unique functions of each branch, the independent corporation Saemaul Undong organizations collaborated and launched, in 35 cities across the country, non-governmental associations to implement urban Saemaul Undong Movement, i.e., Saemaul Execution Committees. Representative urban Saemaul Undong projects in the 1970s comprised the“three-pronged
campaign”and ten core projects. The‘threepronged campaign’referred to mental, behavioral, and environmental initiatives. The mental campaign centered around practicing Saemaul values on a daily basis, including promoting better ties with neighbors or those from different walks of society, inheriting and advancing traditional ethics propped up by filial piety, loyalty, and reverence for senior citizens, and strengthening community awareness. The behavioral campaign emphasized public order on the street, positive interactions, public manners, punctuality, prohibiting drunken misconduct, and deterring physical assaults on the street. The environmental order campaign stressed cleanliness of the area around an individual’ home or business, controlling the street envis ronment, including street vendors, improving immediate living environments, and developing ‘greener’ cities and streams. The ten core projects were aimed at promoting active participation by urban residents. Such efforts included Saemaul clean-up, market Saemaul Undong, making cities greener, fostering Saemaul credit unions, reducing petty street crime, creating a safe atmosphere emphasizing law and order, running unofficial small-scale village councils called Pansanghoe, reducing consumption, creating a supportive environment for Saemaul Undong, and other projects reflecting regional characteristics. A look at the contents of the projects reveals the change in the nature of the campaign from a government-initiated drive to one run by the private sector. The projects chosen were directly related to the lives of urban citizens, and could easily fulfill common needs of urban residents. To raise enthusiasm and morale, efforts were made to identify urban Saemaul Leaders, remove decadence, allow social leaders to set the standards, and strengthen the function of the Saemaul Execution Committees. In the early 1980s, the urban Saemaul
Undong, then reborn as a non-governmental campaign, re-charted its direction by setting a selfimposed goal of advancing and preparing citizens’ mindsets for an advanced industrial society. Representative projects in this period included the three civil campaigns and the guest-welcoming campaign. The three civil campaigns referred to the daily practices of consumption reduction, respecting the law, assisting and protecting the disadvantaged, and mutual cooperation. Activities included in this category were: collecting recyclable waste; trading used goods; simplifying diverse ceremonies; reducing the national budget; identifying and circulating ideas for consumption reduction; expanding facilities conductive to maintaining public order; outlawing littering; overhauling markets and shopping malls; controlling street environments; increasing penalties for petty offences; energizing small-scale unofficial village councils called Pansanghoe; and expanding sports and hobby clubs. The guest-welcoming campaign was carried out in preparation for the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympiad, emphasizing the daily practices of order, kindness, and cleanliness. As a result, traffic and transactional orders were established, stores offered a wider variety of services, and foreigners were greeted with much more hospitality and kindness than ever before. Efforts were also made to improve living environments by focusing on a positive street environment, including controlling street vendors, and devising plans for the harmonized use of colors in cities. All these efforts combined to contribute greatly to the success of both events. In the 1990s, the urban Saemaul Undong program shifted its focus to public order, a cleaner and more pleasant environment, social services, and citizens’ reconciliation and harmony. Projects were implemented to promote the following objectives: abiding by traffic regulations, systematic management of signboards, bills and posters,
voluntary services to reduce theft and vandalism, garbage collection, purifying streams, beautifying streets, guiding teenagers, helping the socially disadvantaged, participating in regional festivities, and extending opportunities for life-time education.
3. Corporation, Factory, and Library Saemaul Undong
A. Corporation Saemaul Undong
Corporation Saemaul Undong entities began to emerge as one of the important aspects of Saemaul Undong with the launching of Saemaul Undong Seoul Council in August 1975, as a nongovernmental entity. The body’incorporation in s September 1979 offered an opportunity for Saemaul Undong to energize its functions. The early corporation Saemaul Undong, well aware of its nature as a non-governmental campaign, focused on constructing a sound, productive workplace, and overhauling its corporation environment and social service activities. The aforementioned three-pronged campaign was implemented simultaneously. In the early 1980s, corporation Saemaul Undong tried to re-define itself as a tool for realizing three goals: national development, corporate advancement, and individual growth. Such shifts in the campaign’goals reflected s various factors. More and more attention was given to the successful government-driven FiveYear Socio-Economic Plans and the rationalization of corporate management by revamping individual corporations and raising their competitiveness. Citizens were also encouraged to take on their proper role in a society moving toward a democratic, welfare-oriented state. Following the launch of Corporation Saemaul Undong, heads of corporations were the first to receive Saemaul Education in the Corporate
Saemaul Training Institutes, followed by top management officials and employees. Most corporations and vocational associations held a weekly or bi-monthly morning meeting to conduct events such as hoisting the national flag, singing the national anthem, doing stretching exercises, and publicizing events observed in commemoration of Saemaul Week. These activities were designed to promote urban workers’mental fortitude and patriotism, and ultimately, their sense of responsibility for the nation’development. s The mental order campaign dealt mainly with Saemaul Education and helping and protect-
ing the disadvantaged. Specifically, efforts to assist and protect the disadvantaged entailed helping during the busy farming season, collecting recyclable waste, and comforting institutionalized children and elderly citizens. The behavioral order campaign involved establishing public order on the street, car-pooling, and standing in queues and waiting for one’turn. The environs mental order campaign made significant contributions to building a better urban environment by encouraging changes in corporate environments and participation in city- or province-level campaigns to plant and grow trees. The corporation Saemaul Undong initiative also directed its energy toward fostering a sense of unity within the corporation to create a sound working environment. The movement further encouraged projects that ranged from eradicating social distrust and containing abuse of work-related authority, to ensuring fair personnel management and improving the penalty and reward system. The campaign sought to foster mutual respect and trust between labor and management. The launching of the Corporation Saemaul Undong initiative brought about significant changes in labor-management relations. The atmosphere became more mature, propped up by Saemaul values. Both labor and management took more flexible positions in their dialogue, expanding their agenda to include systematic improvements and more futuristic orientation. The labor sector was granted greater opportunities to be involved in management. The corporation drive to assist and protect the poor and the disadvantaged was noteworthy in the diversity and scale of its projects. Attention was given to helping colleagues who were experiencing unfavorable conditions, and various external activities were implemented such as lending helping hands and supplying farm machinery during the busy farming season, and visiting soldiers, orphanages, and senior citizens’homes, among many.
B. Factory Saemaul Undong
The Factory Saemaul Undong directed its energy to restoring the trust and affection of consumers and the general public as a whole. To this end, emphasis was placed on consolidating the foundation for industrial peace and coexistence by bridging the gap in value systems between labor and management, and establishing sound corporate ethics. Separate Saemaul Undong Execution Committees were organized in major offices and factories, and independent departments or sections in charge of Saemaul Undong were operated to conduct the planning, implementation, evaluation and improvement of related projects. One minor defect was observed in relation to the Factory Saemaul Undong. Recognizing the significance of quality control (QC) and monitoring QC in tandem with Saemaul projects, Saemaul departments or sections renamed themselves as
Saemaul-QC departments or sections, resulting in confusion as to their primary task. Currently, the drive continues to be implemented by encouraging the use of pleasant words, respecting others’opinions, and complementing others’merits and achievements, to name a few examples. Efforts are being undertaken for systematic improvements in corporations, including eradicating distrust, ending authoritative management, and containing abuse of job-related authority. The increasing need to transform a workplace to resemble a home encourages management to treat employees as family members. Joint birthday parties and wedding ceremonies are being arranged in addition to Saemaul Education, and family members are given the opportunity to visit the factories. Financial assistance is given to employees and their parents for sightseeing trips, and various outings or athletic activities are held for employees and their families. All these activities prove helpful in promoting the sense of unity and harmony among employees.
C. Saemaul Mini-Library Undong
The Saemaul Mini-Library campaign began with the launching of the Association to Proliferate Mini Village Libraries in 1961. The Korean Ministry of Education endorsed the drive to spread mini village libraries by designating it in 1962 as a policy project for the life-time educational needs of agricultural and fishing villages. Since 1975, when Saemaul Undong embarked on the project in earnest, the movement has become an
integral part of Saemaul programs. The Saemaul Mini-Library campaign is a cultural drive unique to Korea. It aims to promote vocation-related skills, cultural refinements, and even the social significance of the reading adult population by providing new information and cultural and emotional enrichment. Projects to this end include maximizing access to books and cultural events, organizing small-scale libraries and reading clubs, operating mobile libraries, and holding reading contests (See Table 5).
<Table 5> Current Status of Saemaul Mini-Libraries
(as of December, 1998)
Saemaul Mini-Libraries Places 2,811 Members 90,461
Reading Colleges Books 5,256 Places 39 Members 2,420
Mobile Libraries Units 72
Ⅳ. Saemaul Leaders and Saemaul Education: Roles and Functions
1. Saemaul Leaders
The enthusiasm and creativity of Saemaul Leaders played a primary role in determining the success of the campaign. These leaders consisted of regional representatives who were chosen for their decisiveness and leadership ability when the campaign was launched. The Saemaul Leaders were expected to complement or even surpass the performance and contribution of existing regional leaders. It should be noted that Saemaul Leaders were not appointed by the Korean Ministry of Home Affairs; rather, they were elected by residents of the corresponding regional community. Hence, in the course of conducting their responsibilities, those elected were forced to depend greatly on the authority of the government officials. At the initial stage of the campaign, each village had a ri-jang, or head of a ri, an administrative unit smaller than a rural county, as a paid
appointee. In order to differentiate Saemaul Leaders from these government appointees and to emphasize the fact that they represented the citizenry, they were not paid for their services. Young candidates in their thirties were preferred and compulsory elections for new leaders were held after several years. Such guidelines were intended to secure energetic and more liberal candidates, and to preclude habitual and automatic handling of matters. Separate leadership positions were given to female Saemaul members who took charge of organizing female members and their tasks. They also helped male leaders earn the support of the communities for the campaign. Rural Saemaul Undong was implemented with villages as its unit, led by a Saemaul leader and a female leader. In this regard, it can be inferred that the success of rural Saemaul Undong has hinged on the competence of the Saemaul Leaders in the individual villages. Since the
Saemaul Leaders played a crucial role in the success of Saemaul Undong, their education and training was of equal importance. Leaders completed one or two-week education programs conducted in independent training institutes. The programs were designed to cultivate devotion to Saemaul Undong, and to emphasize the significance of self-sacrifice and of setting a positive example as leaders for others to follow. Rather than teaching technical matters, the program spent more time inspiring employees with enthusiasm about the campaign and fostering trust in the campaign’mission. One noteworthy s characteristic of the program was the opportunity it provided for ordinary citizens to work with some of society’leading figures in the efforts to s achieve Saemaul Undong’objectives. This oppors tunity proved to be a source of pride and extra motivation for ordinary participants in the program. This was manifested in the finding that over 40% of the young rural population who opted to stay in their local communities participated in Saemaul activities, despite the strong trend of relocation among young farmers to urban areas. The project to recruit prospective farmers and fishermen, which coincided with the launching of the Fifth Republic (1980-1987), achieved satisfactory results. Realizing the potential of this labor sector, measures were devised to enhance the competency of this manpower in leading the rural Saemaul Undong. Related systems were implemented to maximize the opportunities for the young rural populace to respond to the farmers and fishermen recruitment project. At that time, the policy focus on the heavy industry benefited industrial high schools more than agricultural high schools. Agricultural high schools that were not closed were absorbed by integrated high schools. In order to cope with such problems, it became necessary for the government to strengthen its policy support to agricultural high schools and to students who planned to stay in rural communities after graduation. High school students
who wanted to engage in farming received Saemaul education during their high school years, and promoted their capabilities as potential Saemaul Leaders through field training during vacations and during certain periods designated for training conducted by other exemplary Saemaul Leaders. In the urban areas, elected Saemaul Leaders worked witht’ ong as the campaign’key unit. s However, they were not able to function as actively as did the rural leaders in leading the residents and aggressively implementing the campaign. Although this situation somewhat reflected the characteristics of urban life, the qualifications and competence of the urban leaders were also less than satisfactory. The essence of Corporation and Factory Saemaul Undong is to develop better ties between corporate owners and employees. Such ties encourage owners to maximize worker welfare and consequently inspire workers to do their best and cooperate in efforts to cut down costs and raise productivity. Currently, corporation and factory Saemaul Leaders are elected among executive officers, managers or heads of small production units of firms, and those elected are given opportunities to broaden their understanding of the campaign while developing their leadership competence through a variety of Saemaul educational programs.
2. Implementation Process and Results of Saemaul Education
A training institute for farmers was opened in January 1972 in the Agricultural Cooperative College run by the National Agricultural Co-operative Federation and began to educate farmers. Education for Saemaul Leaders started in July of the same year, and in 1973, the institute moved to the Farmers’ Center in Suwon-shi, Kyonggi-do.
The institute adopted a new name, Training Institute for Saemaul Leaders, set the standards for other institutes in Saemaul Undong, and played a pivotal role in establishing Saemaul education as a unique form of social education. The institute moved in 1983 to an exclusive building constructed with government subsidy in (Songnam-shi, Kyonggi-do). The following year, it became Saemaul Undong Headquarters’ Training Institute. The Institute selected three goals: recruiting and training top-quality Saemaul Undong leaders, encouraging these leaders to engage in self-help programs, and contributing to the establishment of a beneficial system through diligence, self-help and cooperation. To realize these goals, the institute finalized the following four guidelines: ■ education at a communal camp where trainees lived and worked alongside their trainers; ■ education of trainees on the Saemaul philosophy focusing on putting spiritual ideas into practice; ■ interactive education by sharing success stories during small-group discussions,
and offering continued guidance and assistance after the trainee’graduation s from the program. After the Training Institute for Saemaul Leaders opened in 1973, the Ministry of Home Affairs named the following educational organizations as Saemaul training institutes: ■ all public employee education institutes run by different central government organizations, ■ farmers’ education institutes, and ■ various training institutes, either public or private. These institutes reached a record of 85 locations in 1980. Currently, the Central Training Institute in (Songnam-shi (city), Kyonggi-do) (province), and the Southern Training Institute in (Changsong-gun, Chollanam-do), both run by the National Council of Saemaul Undong Movement, serve as exclusive centers of Saemaul Education. The Saemaul Undong Headquarters have operated a total of 11 Saemaul training institutes listed as follows: (1) Seoul Factory Saemaul Training Institute launched in 1974 by the Seoul Industrial Park for Export Industries (2) Pusan Factory Saemaul Training Institute opened in 1977 by the Pusan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (3) (Anyang) Saemaul Training Institute for the Central Council of Private-Sector Saemaul Undong Organizations, former Farmers’Educational Institute opened in 1968 by the Korea Association to Study Rural Cultures (4) Seoul Educational Institute for Saemaul Credit Union Associations, formerly known as the Educational Training Institute for Village Credit Unions, which was opened in 1963 by the Korea National Reconstruction Headquarters (5) (Canaan) Farmers’ School No. 1 in (Kwang -ju-shi, Kyonggi-do), which started as a
small farm and became a home for agricultural leaders during the 1960s (6) (Canaan) Farmers’School No.2 in Wonsong-gun, Kangwon-do (7) Farmers’Welfare Training Institute in Taejon-shi, Ch ungch’ ’ ongnam-do, which began educating agricultural leaders in the region in 1968 (8) Taegu Saemaul Training Institute, which started as Saemaul Farmers’School in 1973 (9) Korea Industrial Academy in Kanghwagun, Kyonggi-do (10) Seoul Korea Credit Training Institute, and (11) Industrial Promotion Training Institute in Yang-p’ yong-gun, Kyonggi-do and Ch’ angwon-shi, Kyongsangnam-do These Saemaul training institutes have posted an impressive educational performance record, having contributed to the education of the entire Korean population. It is widely accepted that the
trainee program provides extra momentum to Saemaul Undong by having citizens participate, directly or indirectly, in the campaign, and by serving as an instrument to promote nationwide participation in the campaign. Numerous leaders are reported to have been touched and inspired by their Saemaul education, and have guided their respective regions to successful growth and development by leading or actively participating in Saemaul projects. The next section looks at the positive factors that contributed to the success of Saemaul education.
A. Intra-Group Cooperation and Inter-Group Competition
Divided into many small groups, trainees engaged in small-group discussions, outdoor training, and night self-denial exercises, performing the tasks given to each team. They experienced strong emotions as a result of undergoing
such tasks. These powerful experiences helped the trainees realize the significance and power of cooperation to accomplish tasks that would have been impossible to do otherwise. The discussionand teamwork-focused small group activities were also successful in enhancing a sense of responsibility in each participant.
C. Trainers’ Kindness, Commitment and Excellence of Leadership
Trainers and other employees at the training institutes sacrificed a part of their family lives by staying at the camps together with the trainees. They did not receive better treatment than the trainees themselves, and since they set the standard with their exemplary attitudes, the trainees respected them and followed their example. These exemplary trainers and other employees have contributed significantly to the resultant appreciation of Saemaul education.
B. Field Trips and Inspection of Advanced Technology Centers
Field trips, and the first-hand opportunity to watch and learn advanced technologies in particular, were more successful in factory Saemaul training programs than in Saemaul Leaders’training programs. One of the factors contributing to the program’success was its approach permitting s changes in trainees’ attitudes through the increase of first-hand experience, rather than from reliance on instruction.
D. Participation by Trainees
The training program has operated on the basis of a participant-centered training process. Recitation of the principles underlying the train-
ing, and learning and practicing skills through industry-training cooperation have produced tangible results. The practice of sharing between large groups and small groups during discussions, the presentation of relevant information by trainees, and sharing of success stories have combined to achieve considerable results in terms of mutual education. This methodology, an integral part of social education, has also proven its effectiveness in Saemaul training programs.
E. Moving and Interesting Lectures
The enthusiastic, serious yet interesting lectures offered in the Saemaul training program have frequently moved participants, and have prompted changes in attitude and opinion. These lectures convey messages easily understandable to everyone, and focus specifically on practical applications compatible with the Korean situation.
F. Entertainment Programs to Motivate Trainees
Appropriate entertainment interspersed between lectures prevent the trainees from becoming bored. By singing together and playing rhythmic games prior to the beginning of each lecture, as well as conducting simple exercises during break times, the trainees are encouraged to maintain focus on the task at hand. Talent competitions and
recreational events, held on the evening before the last day of training, are also memorable experiences that contribute to the efficiency of the training program. From the factors enumerated above, it is clear that the success of the training program can be attributed primarily to its genuine characteristics. The program also combines practical instruction and communal living, an approach that enables the trainees to learn the value of order and good manners. Saemaul Education comprises of four stages: offering stimulus self-inspection resolution made implementing the resolution. This approach is intended to bring about attitudinal changes by asking the trainees to recall and reflect on their past lives realistically. Based on such reflections, trainees can then decide how to conduct their lives in the future, resolving to enact such decisions and turn them into reality. The Saemaul Training Institutes provides education with the following goals: ■ Developing human resources to lead the regional community in the course of implem- enting the campaign; ■ promoting a desirable value system among citizens; and, ■ helping regional communities, individual members, and the nation as a whole to grow by establishing sound work ethics as a means to realize a wholesome culture (See Table 6).
<Table 6> Education Offered at Saemaul Training Institutes
Education through communal camp lives Total
Education for regional volunteers Education for attitudinal changes in daily lives Education for young adults Education for corporate administrative reform Education for the general citizens Education for foreigners
Non-camping education Education for local residents
Total Central Southern
607,511 469,850 137,661
205,123 177,083 28,040
137,166 95,142 42,024
72,164 51,116 21,048
71,613 44,005 27,608
14,873 9,450 5,423
1,402 1,402 -
105,170 91,652 13,518
V. Saemaul Undong : Systems and Methods of Implementation
1. System of Implementation
A. In the 1970s
(1) The Government Sector
As noted earlier, although Saemaul Undong began as a government-initiated drive, more ener-
gy and impetus gradually emerged from the private sector. The movement’central implementas tion system also underwent reorganization through decentralization. In the beginning, since the Ministry of Home Affairs controlled the campaign, most of the movement’major functions s and organizations were centered in the ministry. Other government organizations took charge of
the functions and systems related to the tasks within their own jurisdictions. The first organization tasked to manage the national campaign was formed in January 16, 1973 in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 6458, which governed the restructuring of government organizations. A new unit to administer Saemaul Undong was established, and officers responsible for the planning and implementation of Saemaul Undong were posted in the Local Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Following in the footsteps of the central government, the cities, provinces, counties, and urban districts opened related sections within their organizations. One public servant was appointed as leader for each community. The Comprehensive Planning Council for Saemaul Undong was also formed at both central and local government levels in line with efforts to enhance consultation and coordination among related bodies. The Saemaul Medal was included in the government award system in 1973, and Saemaul Leaders were issued independent certificates. National Saemaul Leaders’ Conventions were also held to promote pride and morale among Saemaul Leaders. The campaign enjoyed a banner year in December 1974, and managed the most extensive organization network in its 30-year history. Divisions responsible for Saemaul plans, Saemaul Undong’implementation, urban area deve-lops ment, and Saemaul Undong education rose to the challenges presented by their responsibilities. Saemaul Undong officers were also appointed in the Local Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Capitalizing on the momentum offered by this growth, Saemaul Undong expanded the scope of its operations. In February 1978, the Ministry of Home Affairs went through a fullfledged restructuring and, accordingly, the newlyformed Local Administration Bureau took over Saemaul Undong-related tasks from the Local Affairs Bureau. In September 1979, the Division
for Housing Improvement for Farming and Fishing Villages in the Local Administration Bureau was renamed“Division for Saemaul Housing.”Restructuring in the central government prompted different smaller administration units, such as cities, provinces, rural counties and urban districts, to establish new organizations or modify existing units. Other Saemaul Undong-related organizations were also run as part of other ministries. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries opened a division addressing the issue of Saemaul income after its organizational revamping in 1973. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry administered a division in charge of developing processed agricultural food under its Bureau of Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses. Another unit was responsible for providing agricultural and fishing communities with access to telephone services under the ministry’Bureau of Power Develos pment. The Ministry of Culture and Education appointed officers tasked with collaborating with the chief School Commissioner to implement Saemaul education programs. The Ministry of Public Health and Society similarly opened a division responsible for regional welfare under its Bureau of Social Affairs, and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation managed a department in charge of Saemaul projects. In 1972, the Training Institute for Productive Farmers, previously under the umbrella of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, was reborn as the Training Institute for Saemaul Leaders. On the regional front, in February 1973, large cities and provinces opened divisions of leading Saemaul Undong, while smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts set up Saemaul divisions within their organizations. In January 1975, the rural counties abolished their Saemaul units and delegated the responsibilities to the vice county executive. However, in July 1979, the Saemaul offices that had been closed were reopened. Throughout the 1970s, efforts were made to ener-
gize the administrative organization of Saemaul Undong. The personnel management system focused on assigning exemplary public employees to the Saemaul divisions of large cities and provinces, and those of the smaller cities and rural counties. Those in the Saemaul units received extra points when their performance were evaluated, securing advantages in promotion. Saemaul Undong Promotional Councils were organized in 1972 on various hierarchical levels ranging from the central government to smaller administrative units in line with efforts to promote consultation and coordina- tion among relevant organizations. The Central Council was headed by the Minister of Home Affairs and composed of deputy ministers of related departments. The number of member organizations originally stood at 15, and later grew to include 22 organiza-
tions. Directors of bureaus of related ministries were also organized in the Working-Level Council. The Central Council fulfilled Saemaul Undong-related functions such as coordinating annual plans as well as long- and intermediateterm plans, analyzing and evaluating the movement’ performance, and assisting and coordinats ing resolution of the difficulties the movement faced. These same councils were operated across different levels of the government hierarchy, and were overseen by mayors in large cities, governors in provinces, mayors in smaller cities, county executives in rural counties, and heads of up and myon (administrative units smaller than rural counties) in those units. In ri and dong, administrative units smaller than myon, village development councils were organized and led by heads of those units (See Table 7).
<Table 7> The Governmental Saemaul Undong Organization
Central Government Central Government
Central Comprehensive Central Comprehensive Planning Council Planning Council for Saemaul Undong for Saemaul Undong
Ministry of Home Affairs Ministry of Home Affairs
National Agricultural National Agricultural Cooperative Federation Cooperative Federation
Working-Level Council Working-Level Council Large Cites & Provinces Large Cites Large Cites // Province Council Province Council Local Administration Local Administration Bureau Bureau Smaller Cites Smaller Cites // Rural County Council Rural County Council Saemaul Officers Saemaul Officers
Training Institute Training Institute for Saemaul Leaders Leader
Division for Saemauldivision for SaemaulRelated Guidance Related Guidance
Smaller Cites & Rural Counties Smaller Cites & Rural Counties
Saemaul Pivision Saemaul Pivision
Up myon Council Up //myon Council
Village Development Village Development Committee Council
Division for Division for Saemaul Planning Saemaul Planning
Division for Division for Saemaul-Related Saemaul-Related Guidance Guidance
Division for Division for Saemaul Housing Saemaul Housing
(2) The Private Sector Since Saemaul Undong was carried out under the government leadership in the 1970s, independent private-sector organizations were difficult to identify, with the exception of the Village Development Committees in ri and dong. These quasi-civil organizations were composed of around 15 members each, including those representing official and non-official village structures such as mutual assistance organizations to preserve village forests, to revitalize agriculture, and to encourage residents to practice their love of their village. Saemaul Leaders in villages set up separate bodies under the head of the village development committee. The major demographic sectors including youth and women were represented in these separate bodies along with agents for village security, auditing, credit union, and village libarary (See Table 8).
The main purposes of Village Development Committees were to coordinate the activities of various functional resident organizations while discussing and deciding on Saemaul projects, and effectively implementing administrative policies. Some of the functions of the Committee were to select suitable Saemaul projects and to devise related working plans; to carry out development projects with the cooperation of local residents; to store and manage resources allotted by the government; and to maintain completed projects, to name a few. The specifics for each project or activity carried out by the Committee began with discussions and deliberation on the implementation of Saemaul Undong. This practice resulted in many types of village protection and improvement projects including anti-theft measures, antiespionage plans, fire prevention and fire-fighting; product promotion projects including production
<Table 8> Organizational Charts for Village Development Committee in ri and dong
Village Development Council in ri/dong
Department of Youths
Department of Women
Department for Promoting Love of the Village
Village Development Credit Union
Women’ s Enrichment Class
Residents in ri/dong
increase, agricultural improvement, and reclamation and irrigation; public welfare-related efforts such as cleanups, sanitation improvement including infection containment, family planning, and improvement of living conditions; socio-cultural projects which encouraged burden-sharing and mutual assistance, respect for the elderly, guidance for young people, and sports, reading, and village gatherings; and finally, the sharing of experiences concerning the administration of ri and dong. The ri and dong Village Development Committees devised project plans, realized and implemented them, and then reported the plans’ results. Project plans had to be implemented in stages. First, it was necessary to follow the Guidelines for Establishing Project Plans provided by the cities or rural counties. Next, they had to be approved at local meetings and then finally approved by mayors or county executives. Weekly and monthly progress reports about the projects were given to the heads of up and myon. These reports were also evaluated by the Committee, and at the end of each project year, annual progress reports were submitted and evaluated during local meetings of residents.
organizations included the Saemaul Planning division, the Saemaul Guidance division, and the group consisting of Saemaul officials. Following the launching of the Local Development Bureau in January 1984, a streamlining measure abolished the group of Saemaul officials. After December 1988, with the birth of the Sixth Republic, the term‘Saemaul’was seldom heard. A governmental restructuring gave rise to the new Citizens ’ Movement Assistance Division in January 1989, part of the Local Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The central governmental organizations no longer used the 16-year-old term, ‘Saemaul’ their projects, a trend that the in local government organizations also imitated. The tasks of the Citizens Movement Assistance Division launched in january 1989 included establishing comprehensive plans for national campaigns and coordinating and assisting those plans, assisting nature preservation campaigns, and facilitating social purification campaigns in tandem with Saemaul Undong.
(2) The Private Sector
The enactment of the Law Fostering Saemaul Undong Organizations in December 1980 gave birth to Saemaul Undong Headquarters which, in turn, paved the way for a new era of leadership by the private sector. The new body has governed Saemaul Undong ever since, incorporating four member associations under its umbrella: the Central Council of Saemaul Leaders, the Central Council of Saemaul Women’Clubs, the Central s Council of Saemaul Undong in Corporations, and the Headquarters of Factory Saemaul Undong. The Federation of Saemaul Mini-Libraries and the Federation of Saemaul Youth were launched in October, while the Saemaul Morning Sports Club was launched in December 1981, increasing the number of member-associations to seven. A proposal to set up regional offices in large cities and provinces as non-governmental Saemaul Undong organizations was approved in October of the
B. In the 1980s
(1) The Government Sector
The responsibility for the government-initiated Saemaul Undong was assumed by the private sector in the 1980s. Accordingly, the governmental Saemaul Undong organizations began to shrink, whereas the private organizations expanded their scope. Efforts to downsize affected both central government organizations, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, and local governments. The Ministry of Home Affairs , a former home to Saemaul Undong, restructured its Saemaul organizations within the Local Administration Bureau in Novemver, 1981. These
same year. By September 1982, a total of 13 regional offices had been established. In October 1983, another proposal to open branch offices in smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts was passed. Saemaul Training Institutes were also opened in the Headquarters and in Songnam-shi, Kyonggi-do in line with efforts to expand the scope and enhance the competence of Saemaul Leaders. The member-associations grew to comprise eight organizations when the Federation of Saemaul Credit Unions joined in February 1984. In March, the opening of the regional office representing five provinces in North Korea raised the number of regional offices to 14, and the 231 branch offices and chapter offices in smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts began to function in their new capacities. This completed the
task of constructing an extensive nationwide and private sector-led Saemaul Undong organization, comprising various member associations, regional structures, and training institutes under the umbrella guidance and monitoring of Saemaul Undong Headquarters. The branch offices grew further with the addition of 10 new offices in 1985. The training institutes were also expanded with the opening of the Changsong Training Institute in Chollanamdo in April of the same year. In 1986, when Kwangju was promoted to metropolitan status, the Kwangju branch office was classified as a regional office. This raised the number of regional offices to 15 once again, while the number of branch offices was reduced to 240. In 1987, another training institute opened on Yongjong Island near Inch’ bringing the numon,
ber of institutes to four. The new institute, however, closed in February 1988. In April 1988, the member- associations suffered a setback with the breakup of the Saemaul Morning Sports Club. However, eight new branch offices were opened, raising the total to 248. In April 1989, Saemaul Undong Headquarters was renamed the National Council of Saemaul Undong Movement, in an attempt to emphasize its nature as a private sector-led organization further. With the Saemaul Youth Federation excluded, it reduced the number of member-associations to six. The promotion of Taejon as a metropolitan city increased the number of regional offices to 16 while the number of branch offices totaled 269 with the closing of six locations and the opening
of 27 new locations. The training system was also restructured, and the institute at the Headquarters was closed, leaving just two institutes. As a consequence, the structure of the private sector-led Saemaul Undong was reconfigured to comprise the following: ■ six member-associations (namely, the Central Council of Saemaul Leaders, the Central Council of Saemaul Women’ s Clubs, the Central Council of Saemaul Undong at Corporations, Headquarters of Factory Saemaul Undong, Federation of Saemaul Mini-Libraries, and Federation of Saemaul Credit Unions; ■ 269 branch offices in smaller cities, rural counties and urban districts; and, ■ two training institutes in Songnam, Kyonggi-do, and Changsong, Chollanamdo. The second-to-the-last decade of the 20th century witnessed the most radical changes in Saemaul Undong organizations, which can be characterized in several ways. The most obvious shift in Saemaul Undong implementation system during this period can be seen in the changes in the leadership and the subsequent rise and fall of the movement as a whole. With the launching of Saemaul Undong Headquarters, the responsibility and authority for implementing Saemaul Undong strategies were passed to the hands of the private sector. The second characteristic involves efforts towards diversification. The organization extended its scope to cover various facets of society, reflecting its ever-expanding functions. As a result, a total of eight different member-associations encompassing Saemaul Leaders, female members, factories and corporations evolved. The completion of a nationwide network covering both the central and local levels exemplifies the third characteristic. The fourth characteristic is seen in the restructuring of Saemaul Undong training institutes. Because of Saemaul Undong’ s goal to achieve optimum efficiency, two out of the
initial four training institutes at the Headquarters, Songnam, Changsong, and Yongjong Island were closed. The last characteristic involves the changes in the number of secretariat employees, which had shown a steady increase since 1980, stabilized at 1,448 persons in early 1988, and slowly diminished to fewer than 885 by April 1989. Summing up, Saemaul Undong experienced revolutionary changes involving both expansion and shrinkage in the wake of changes in leadership during the 1980s.
C. In the 1990s
(1) The Government Sector
Since the government restructuring in February 1991, only one office in one of the ministries, the Citizens’Movement Assistance division under the Local Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, has been responsible for Saemaul Undong-related functions. Because the body had to manage Saemaul Undong in addition to its many other responsibilities including devising comprehensive plans for public campaigns and coordinating assistance, Saemaul Undong’significance diminished accordingly. In s April 1994, the Citizens’Movement Assistance Division was renamed the Social Promotion Division. Its functions included devising comprehensive plans for social promotion as well as coordinating assistance for these plans, and assisting in public relations campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles and conserve nature. This necessitated demoting the status of Saemaul Undong to just one of the many social campaigns. Further government restructuring in December 1994 redefined the tasks of the Social Promotion Division to consist of devising comprehensive plans for, and coordinating assistance to, social promotion, assisting nature preservation campaigns, assisting the management of Saemaul Credit Unions, and improving, and assisting the management of, the
system governing volunteer services. The launching of the “People’Government” 1998 brought s in about another round of massive governmental restructuring. The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Government Administration were merged in February, and the new Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs took over their old functions. The new ministry revamped its structure, installing the Local Autonomy Administration Division, the Local Autonomy System Division, the Local Autonomy Operation Division, the Residents Affairs Division, the Non-Governmental Organization Cooperation Division, and the Local Autonomy Information Division. Among these different units, the Non-Governmental Organiza-tion Cooperation Division was given responsibility for Saemaul Undong. As illustrated above, the government sector has increasingly distanced itself from Saemaul Undong since 1990, in terms of both assistance and guidance, while considering the movement part of the private sector’many cams paigns.
(2) The Private Sector In the 1990-1998 period, the structure of the private sector’Saemaul Undong implementation s system remained mostly unchanged from its 1989 structure, with the National Council of Saemaul Undong Movement serving as its organizational hub. The temporary cessation in the provision of financial assistance from the government prompted the private sector to double its efforts toward self-reliance, and more emphasis was placed on local Saemaul units than on the central organization. The political neutrality of the executive officers of the organization was emphasized, and the secretariat continued to pursue downsizing. The promotion of Ulsan as a metropolitan city in July 1997 pushed the number of regional offices up to 17. The number of branch offices, which stood at 269 in 1990, grew to 271 by March 1991, to 276 by January 1992, and to 278 by the
first half of 1993. In 1994, the number diminished to 245 as a result of the integration of small cities and rural counties into larger administrative regions, a process which closed down 33 branch offices. In March 1995, the number grew once again to 255, but in May of the same year, the number dropped to 249, following the government’incorporation of six small cities and five s rural counties into five cities. In January 1996, 17 branch offices in general administrative districts were closed, while those in local autonomous administrative organizations were maintained. Consequently, the number of branch offices was reduced to 232. In July 1997, the Ulsan branch office was closed with the city’ promotion to s metropolitan city status. Five new branch offices were instead opened in five local autonomous districts, raising the total of branch offices to 236. In April 1998, the cities of Yosu and Yoch’ as on, well as Yoch’ on-gun (country), all in Chollanam -do, were merged as the city of Yosu, and this in turn lowered the number of branch offices to 234.
Since 1989, only two Saemaul Training Institutes have been maintained. In 1990, the Songnam Saemaul Training Institute was renamed the Central Saemaul Undong Training Institute and the Changsong Saemaul Training Institute became the Southern Saemaul Undong Training Institute. The organizations and personnel of the secretariat continued to downsize due to the shrinkage and even complete halt in governmental budgetary support. In the ten years since 1988, as many as 1,061 employees have left their jobs, while 387 have remained on the organization’ s payroll. Revision of the organization’founding s articles in February 1996 cleared the way toward transforming regional offices in large cities or provinces and branch offices in smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts into legal corporations. In February 1998, regulations pertaining to the election of executive officers were rewritten so that the political neutrality of Saemaul Undong organizations could be guaranteed. As of November 1998, Saemaul Undong
implementing organization in the private sector was led mainly by the National Council of Saemaul Undong Movement and six member associations. Seventeen regional offices in large cities and provinces, and 234 branch offices in smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts
combined to support the organization. The Central and Southern Training Institutes serve as a mecca for Saemaul education. Excellent employees have been posted in the secretariat, and a total of 2.32 million Saemaul Leaders are presently at work in different fields (See Tables 9 and 10).
<Table 9> Saemaul Organizations in the Private Sector
National Council of Saemaul Undong Movement Member Associations - Central Council of Saemaul Leaders - Central Council of Saemaul Women’ Clubs s - Central Council of Corportion Saemaul Undong - Headguarters of Factory Saemaul Undong - Federation of Saemaul MiniLibraries - Federation of Saemaul Credit Unions
2 Training Institurtes ∙ Central ∙ Southern Regional Offices in 17 Large Cities / Provinces
Branch Offices in 234 Smaller Cities / Rural Counties
<Table 10> Current Status of Saemaul Leaders and Members
Presidents of regional and branch offices 251 251 ∙
Regional leaders and members Corporate leaders Total Men Women 2,053,011 184,959 1,868,052 242,549 89,351 153,198 1,810,462 95,608 1,714,854 11,618 11,618 ∙
Factory leaders 21,920 21,920 ∙
Mini-library leaders and members 237,850 5,514 232,336
Credit union leaders 2,839 2,839 ∙
Total Leaders Members
2,327,489 227,101 2,100,388
The implementation system of Saemaul Undong in the 1990s underwent few changes, except for those reflecting the re-defined administrative districts. The discontinuation of the government’budgetary assistance, however, brought s to the fore the significance of independence and autonomy of the private sector-led campaign. The issue of how to enhance the efficiency of the secretariat has emerged as a new challenge.
2. Methods of Implementation
A. Selection of Saemaul Projects
Since Saemaul Undong encompasses a wide array of projects, the methods of implementation that the campaign entails vary in accordance with the changing times. Implementation of Saemaul Undong projects, however, proceeds in the following order: selection of necessary projects,
implementation of the projects, and finally, evaluation of the results of the project implemented. In the 1970s, the government (particularly the central government) handled the selection of Saemaul projects. The private sector took over the selection process in the 1980s, a shift that reflected its growing role in the implementation of Saemaul Undong. Decentralization was another characteristic of the 1980s, with increased emphasis placed on local and field settings. As a result of the changes along this line, only national projects were selected by the central Saemaul Undong organization. Projects involving large cities and provinces were chosen by the implementing organizations on the city and provincial levels. Projects for smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts were selected by corresponding Saemaul Undong organizations, while projects for the up, myon, and dong levels were similarly deliberated upon by the organizations at the same levels. Decisions on specifications of projects were left to the ri or dong organizations. At the early stage of Saemaul Undong, the Village Development Committee in a ri or dong was responsible for Saemaul Undong projects because most of the projects were carried out with ri, dong, or maul (village) as their implementation unit. Gradually, however, the same function went to higher implementing organizations as the area to be covered by a single project was increasingly enlarged: first to Saemaul Undong implementing organizations in up, myon, and dong, and then to those in smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts.
As Saemaul Undong primarily seeks to improve living standards, increase income, and achieve attitudinal reforms, projects subject to the selection process naturally address these goals. Each year, higher-level organizations finalize priority projects for the year and notify the villages or regions of the said projects. Based on this setup, each village or region chooses projects or activities that it deems necessary for the overall benefit of the village or region. Several criteria are employed in the selection process and these include: ■ the project should be needed by the residents and the regional community; ■ the project should complement the regional conditions and spur the region’gros wth potential; ■ the project should serve all residents in the project area, instead of serving a limited number of residents in limited areas, by promoting the convenience and interest of all residents; ■ the project’effects should be extensive, s long-term, and large enough to outweigh the material and manpower invested in the project; and the project should be viable in terms of money, human resources, and time.
B. Implementation of Saemaul Projects
Saemaul projects are implemented in accordance with project plans. The actual agent implementing a project also varies, depending on the size, the nature, and the scope of the project. If the nature of a project makes it necessary, local governments or other functional organizations help the Saemaul organization in implementing the particular project, or in some cases, other relevant organizations may give assistance. In the 1970s, Saemaul Undong was carried out with the village as its implementation unit.
The procedure of implementing a project in a ri or dong begins with the village council. The village residents discuss and finalize the details of their project and report the results to either city or county authorities, and then the Village Development Committees in the ri or the dong carry out the details of the plan. Prior to the actual implementation, the committee makes various preparations: raising as much of the necessary funds as the residents can afford; applying for and receiving external assistance in the forms of raw materials, money, and technology; and with the assistance of civil engineers or construction-related technicians of city or rural administration bodies, completing the plans for structures to be remodeled or built. Implementation of projects commences in earnest as soon as preparations are complete. The Division of Community Pride, Division of Youth, and Division of Women lead the residents, particularly organization members, in carrying out the projects. This pattern illustrates that the whole process of implementation is democratic, cooperative, and efficient. Another important factor in the process of implementing Saemaul projects is the contribution of the public servants. A public employee who is a division chief or is in a higher position in the Ministry of Home Affairs is held accountable for the progress of the campaign in one large city or one province. His counterparts in the smaller cities or rural counties, and his counterparts in the up, myon, or dong are likewise held accountable for their corresponding areas of responsibility. These public servants are asked to visit, at least once a month, to check, and guide the progress of the national initiative in their jurisdiction. In the up, myon, and dong, a public servant oversees the village and visits the project site at least twice a week. On the first day of every month, Saemaul Day, responsible public servants pay a visit to villages under their supervision, an effort that is not only conducive to promoting related projects, but is also beneficial to related organizations. Through
this regular contact, a comprehensive analysis can be obtained and provide a basis for planning future projects.
C. Evaluation of Saemaul Projects
The last stage in implementing Saemaul projects is evaluation. Evaluation is critical to the overall success of the whole process for several reasons. It points out the positive aspects of projects as well as the problems that emerged during the process, it analyzes achievements, and, above all, it reflects that analysis in subsequent plans. Evalua0tion of projects is conducted in three different stages: pre-project evaluation, interim evaluation, and post -project evaluation. Pre-project evaluation refers to efforts to review the suitability and validity of projects prior to their implementation. This is helpful in setting different priorities for different projects. The interim evaluation assesses the progress of the project at the time of evaluation, and focuses on correcting errors or weak areas in the process and redirecting the project course. This is done by analyzing the input / output, or expenditures / benefits data. When the Village Development Committees in the ri or dong were central to Saemaul Undong, the chairmen of these organizations held a weekly or monthly committee meeting, and reported the results of such meetings to the leaders of up or myon. The leaders of up and myon presided over
the up or myon Development Promotional Council meetings convened for bi-weekly or monthly evaluations of the implementation of the projects based on the reports from ri and dong, reporting the results to their superiors in cities or rural counties. Mayors of smaller cities and rural county administrators held respective Saemaul Councils every month to evaluate progress, and reported the results to their superiors in large cities or provinces. By each year’end, the Ri and Dong s Development Committees reported the progress made during the year in a general residents’ meeting, and received feedback. The results of the evaluation were also important since they served as a basis for choosing individuals, villages, and regions for awards.
VI. Achievements of Saemaul Undong and the Factors behind Its Success
The Daily Chosun, one of Korea’top newss papers, together with the Korea Gallup Poll, conducted an opinion poll on“the major achievements of the Korean people in the past half-century of modern history.”It was conducted on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the modern Korean government, and the results were published in the July 16, 1998 issue of the newspaper. Results revealed that those surveyed chose Saemaul Undong as the proudest achievement in the nation’50-year-old modern s history. The Korean people’recognition of the s movement was also echoed in the positive evaluation of the late President Park Chung-Hee, who initiated this national thrust to develop regional communities under the banner of modernizing the motherland. Runner-ups to Saemaul Undong in the same poll were the successful hosting of the Seoul Summer Olympiad, the construction of the Seoul-Pusan Expressway, the Civil Democratic Movement in Kwangju-shi, Chollanam-do, and the April 19th Student Revolution. This recognition proves that Saemaul Undong movement, which originally focused on improving Korea’outdated agricultural system s and aiding residents of remote communities, has affected the entire nation, and left an indelible and far-reaching mark on Korean society as a whole. The effect of the movement, much greater than was ever imagined, has led to the following realizations: ■ Rural modernization is not a matter of raising the economic viability of the agriculture; rather, it is directly connected to the modern attitudes and mindsets of the agricultural populace; ■ Raising agricultural productivity, the goal of rural modernization, is closely linked to the development of industries in the urban areas. These deftly illustrate the reason why the
ideals and rationale of Saemaul Undong, originally an agricultural sector-bound initiative, easily moved beyond the rural boundaries, and successfully spread into the manufacturing industry in urban areas as Saemaul Undong at corporations, factory Saemaul Undong, and urban Saemaul Undong.
A. Saemaul Undong and Economic Development
The foremost achievement of Saemaul Undong concerns its role in modernizing Korea’ s rural sector, which until recently had remained remote for almost 5,000 years. For the first time in the nation’ time-honored history, the income of s agricultural households surpassed that of urban households. In 1971, the first year of Saemaul Undong, the average urban family earned 452,000 Korean won while its rural counterpart earned 356,000 Korean won. Within three years this changed in favor of rural households: in 1974, average rural household income was 674,000 Korean won whereas the corresponding figure for the urban household stood at 644,000 Korean won. The year 1974 was also memorable in that the yearly yield of rice, Korea’ staple crop, s reached unprecedented levels. The rural sector was not the only ones impacted by the achievements of Saemaul Undong; its effects were felt throughout the nation. Admittedly, the first half of Korea’100s year modern history was burdened with unfortunate experiences such as the forced demise of the last Korean dynasty, the unwanted occupation by the imperial Japanese, the division of the nation, and a fratricidal war. Against this regrettable historical background, Saemaul Undong’ success s came as an historical event. Its achievement was all the more meaningful as the movement was the driving force behind the development of the rural community, the sector that was hit hardest during those unfortunate years.
Saemaul Undong’success bears global sigs nificance as well. A well-regarded theory argues that it is common for the rural sector of a nation that has gained independence and is regaining national identity, to become dependent on the urban sector in the process of development. In fact, there was a time when Korea benefited from the excess agricultural produce of the US, which served as a lifeline right after the Korean War. The products, largely targeting Korea’urban areas s and densely-populated regions, ironically contributed to lowering agricultural productivity in the rural areas. Although the development of both urban and rural sectors should be closely linked and pursued concurrently, Korea’rural sector s remained out of the national spotlight, overshadowed by urban development. The resulting poverty of the agricultural community was considered to be linked to structural tendencies in a traditional society. Saemaul Undong eradicated
this stereotypical view of the‘helpless’ rural village. Saemaul Undong’economic significance is s clearly manifested in the growing village economy. The rural Saemaul Undong, which constituted an integral approach toward agricultural development, led the efforts to increase agricultural household income from various sources. This achievement contributed considerably to the growth of rural economy, and that growth led to increased income for agricultural households. For instance in 1978, the average household of a village recognized for its excellent Saemaul Undong efforts earned 330,000 Korean won more than did other villages, with a total of 2.08 million Korean won. Raising the agricultural productivity of a village is closely connected to improving the village’ s agricultural production structure; in other words, farming which employs machinery should be pro-
moted and agricultural management should be improved if to record higher agricultural productivity. As for farming machinery, there were 1.4 units of power tillers, 1.1 units of power disinfectant sprayers, 1.6 units of power threshers, and 1.6 units of water pumps per 100 farming families in 1970. These figures rose dramatically in 1978 to 11.3, 10.9, 8.6, and 8.8 units, respectively. In the past, the focus of farming was on growing staple crops; however, emphasis has been shifted in favor of more profitable types of farming, including vegetables, fruits, special plants and livestock.
B. Saemaul Undong and Social Development
While Saemaul Undong was instrumental in developing the Korean society as a whole, it particularly raised the standard of life in the rural sector. The greatest inroads made were in improving educational and cultural opportunities. On the educational front, during the 19691979 period, 12-13% of heads of rural households had received middle school education or higher, or were middle-school dropouts. The corresponding figure rose by a factor of more than 2.5 in 1979, standing at 30%. Some might attribute this improvement to the decreasing population of elderly Koreans with little modern education. However, it is still impressive enough to be called ‘historic’ considering the tendency for the young rural population with relatively higher educational attainment to leave the farms, seeking their means of livelihood in the urban areas. The ratio of those in the urban areas who actually received institutionalized schooling compared to the entire eligible population (age six through 24) was 56.4% in 1970, which slightly increased to 57.5% in 1975. The corresponding figure for the rural areas dramatically rose to 71.5% in 1975 from 59.0% in 1970. This increase attests to the potential of the rural sector for social and economic growth. As far as modernized lifestyles are con-
cerned, the increased agricultural household income and the extended supply of electricity across the country increased the number of households with household conveniences including home appliances. Interestingly, the ratio of households with recorders was higher in villages honored for excellent Saemaul Undong performances whereas the ratio of households with audio sets was higher in average villages. This highlights different consumption patterns; residents of honored villages tend to emphasize rational consumption while those of average villages focus more on conspicuous consumption. Another indication of the productive and investment-oriented consumption by honored villages is that they have a acquired a higher ratio of agricultural machinery. In other words, the residents of honored villages show more practical, and economically productive consumption patterns and practice “delayed gratification.” Social development involves both quantitative and qualitative improvement of living standards, with the latter kind of improvement meriting a more detailed discussion. Two principles that are crucial to the qualitative improvement of living standards are the promotion of democratic citizenship and the elevation of the social status of women. Saemaul Undong has contributed to the promotion of democracy in Korea. Rural residents
began to show interest in common problems and to seek solutions for those problems on their own. The Saemaul Leaders represented a new breed of leaders who were sincere and industrious, unselfishly serving others and their communities, and leading efforts to construct Saemaul Centers. These buildings provided a venue for village meetings and discussions, consequently allowing democracy to take root in the everyday life of Koreans. One of the most radical social changes brought about by Saemaul Undong was the improved social status of its female members. Since the initial stage of Saemaul Undong focused on improving rural living conditions and enhancing facilities such as public wells, communal laundry facilities, and toilets, women villagers aggressively participated in the process. The campaign to raise operational fund for Saemaul projects, which was shouldered mostly by women members, led to the establishment of village credit unions. As more rural housewives aggressively sought outside
employment, the sources of rural household income expanded. As a consequence, the traditionally inferior social and economic status of women drastically improved and was continuously advanced by the momentum provided by Saemaul Undong.
C. Saemaul Undong and Attitudinal Changes
Koreans increasingly realized the potential gains from the collective efforts of citizens. Accordingly, a collective confidence-building effort, characterized as a “Can-Do” spirit, was promoted across the country. Empirical research on changes experienced during the 1970-1975 period clearly show the effects of Saemaul Undong on attitudes. In 1970, 52.0% of the residents polled thought positively about self-help and self-reliance. However, by 1975, as many as 82.0% of those surveyed showed a stronger desire to work hard and to move ahead. The degrees of self-help and cooperation
measured in the same research rose in five years to 76.2% from 47.4%. In contrast, the tendency to refuse to help themselves as well as to help others fell from 8.2% of those polled in 1970 to a meager 2.3% of those surveyed in 1975. Reliability and cooperation also improved among village residents, as 75% of those surveyed in the same year thought that villagers trusted one another and tried to help by sharing their ideas with others in need, a sharp increase from 54.2% in 1970. Although some legacies of the past including distrust of public officials still remain, the levels of caring for others and mutual trust rose from 70.7% in 1970 to 80.2% in 1975. One of the most remarkable changes villagers achieved through Saemaul Undong can be seen in the more progressive and scientific attitudes among Koreans. Only 48.9% of those surveyed in 1970 answered that people around them as well as themselves willingly accept new ways of thinking, new technology and methods. The corresponding figure rose to 80.5% in 1975. A greater number of people also supported efforts to overcome irrational and nonscientific
conventions, including superstitions, as the share of persons whose lives were still guided by these conventions went down from 9.4% to 7.3%. Although Koreans have a long tradition of helping their neighbors, Saemaul Undong fueled the expansion of this tradition. Those polled felt that more people (77.8% in 1975 from 63.1% in 1970) had become politer and kinder as a result of Saemaul Undong. The research results confirmed that generosity and kindness were more prevalent among rural villagers than among urban citizens, particularly among urban merchants and public officials. Another feature of the changes in Korean attitudes was that more emphasis was placed on practical benefits, rather than on unnecessary formalities. The ratio of those who supported simplification of ancestral rites rose to 76.2% from 52.2%. For example, 80.5% of those polled in 1975 favored less expensive wedding ceremonies, compared to 56.2% in 1970. Thanks to the regional community development campaign, many of the customs and conventions that have become impractical nowadays, including fortune-telling and holding shaman rituals to expel bad luck, have disappeared. At the same time, access was expanded to various information sources such as newspapers, radio, television, and agricultural books introducing new technologies. This gradually improved the residents’attitudes in favor of more rational goal-oriented behavior, as opposed to behavior ruled by emotions. In sum, more residents thought that they could cultivate a better future based on their own capabilities.
2. Factors behind Saemaul Undong’Success s
A. The Government’Self-Imposed s Urgent Task: Overcoming Poverty
Each government is responsible for the growth of its society. Saemaul Undong is a representative regional development campaign carried out with full commitment from the government under the banner aim of moderniza-tion of the whole nation.
One decisive factor in dictating the direction and the intensity of government involvement is the government’recognition of social conditions. s The Korean government was at the forefront of implementing Saemaul Undong and aimed at offering a developmental breakthrough to remote rural communities. The development and the implementation of the national campaign therefore reflect the social and historical conditions of the time. The origin of Saemaul Undong can be traced to the overall domestic situation in Korea in the 1960s. Looking back, the 1960s was a decade pro-
pelled by a worldwide drive toward development and modernization. The developing countries, which had recently emerged from colonial rule after the end of World War II, found themselves spending much more time than expected in stabilizing their domestic politics. It was only in the 1960s that these countries began to fully pursue economic growth, and the term‘the decade of development’ was coined in this context. Korea was no exception. Almost concurrently with other developing countries, it began to direct every possible effort toward economic development. The late President Park in particular, after rising to power through a military coup, led efforts to develop and improve the national economy. His enthusiasm toward economic development was the manifestation of his wish to secure legitimacy for his government, which had gained power through unpopular means. The Korean model of economic development has since been dubbed“state capitalism,”or “Corporate Korea.” the core of the model was At the government, serving as the giant corporation, which orchestrated private corporations in the course of developing the national economy. In a sense, the Korean model was a compromise between capitalism supported by individual corporations and communism in which all production in the society was controlled by a central government. The foundation of Korea’ s“state capitalism” lay in a strategy pursuing overall development at the expense of balance among different regions. More emphasis was placed on manufacturing than on agriculture, on exports and imports than on domestic demands, on large firms with comparative advantages in efficiency than on small and medium-sized businesses, and on large cities (as preferable locations for large corporations) than on smaller cities or rural sectors. Against this background, Korea’economic policies brought s about a rapid economic growth that cannot be matched by any country in contemporary history.
But just as the achievements of these economic policies were impressive, their adverse consequences also became increasingly apparent. The disparity among different segments of society widened dramatically: the gap between agriculture and manufacturing, the disparity in the standard of living between cities and rural communities, the differences in the relative significance of different regions in the society, and the gap felt by different groups of people in different professions. Among these differences, the most serious problem was the regional disparity between two geographically adjacent regions of southern Korea, which surfaced during the 1971 presidential election. Prior to the election, the rural communities had supported the ruling party; but rural residents turned their backs on the government. One significant factor behind this was that development policies had ignored the needs of the rural communities.
B. Mobilization of the General Public Aimed at Achieving Balanced Development
The Korean government undertook necessary countermeasures to cope with these adverse consequences of economic development. Subsequently, Saemaul Undong emerged as a cure for the ills that had emerged. However, the nation’ s coffers could not afford to fund the modernization of over 35,000 rural villages. The only available resource was untapped human resources in the rural areas, but because there was little motivation to improve the quality of life, those resources remained idle. History has taught us that the people themselves represent both the driving force and the beneficiary of a nation’development. Responsibs ility for motivating the general public falls in the hands of the political leaders. With President Park’personal experience of the structural povers ty of the rural sector, he could effectively persuade
the rural populace of the need to break the chains of poverty, and could motivate them accordingly. Historically speaking, rural poverty in Korea has persisted for 5,000 years. As Korea was basically an agrarian society, the rural community’ s economic hardship translated into that of the nation as a whole. Coping with poverty and its consequences has been one of the most critical tasks facing the Korean nation as a whole. Naturally, overcoming poverty carries clear and dramatic political reporcussions. A look at representative projects around the world allows us to better understand the point in question. The government of the Netherlands pursued a policy to reclaim land from the ocean, and now reclaimed land accounts for a full third of land in the country. In Israel, the new and modern government strongly supported the construction of new cities which it deemed crucial to national defense. The programs pursued by these two goverments are similar to the Saemaul Undong in that they aim at achieving clear and dramatic political effects.
nation’economic growth, Park presided over the s monthly meetings held at the Economic Planning Board and was briefed on the monthly economic trends. From June 1971, soon after Saemaul Undong was launched, farmers with excellent agricultural achievements began presenting their own success stories in the meetings. This custom continued for about 10 years without a single interruption until the death of President Park. A system to honor successful Saemaul Undong campaigners was put in place to lift the morale of those involved. Taking into account the fact that the administration was governed under a strong presidential system, government organizations built an organic cooperative system to support the prime concern of the president.
D. Saemaul Undong’Visible Effects s in Promoting the General Public’ s Participation
Global experience has taught us that producing tangible results for a government policy drive at the earliest possible stage is key to the successful implementation and expansion of the drive. This is clearly illustrated in the case of Saemaul Undong. One of the formidable impediments to rural development in Korea was the lack of infrastructure. Keenly aware of this, the government allotted in the first year of Saemaul Undong, about 335 bags of cement to each of over 35,000 villages. The cement was given on the condition that it would be used exclusively for communal village projects to improve living conditions, such as broadening entry roads leading to villages, constructing bridges and sewage systems, and general renovation projects. On the other hand, raising agricultural producti-vity in the rural sector would have taken a longer period of time before producing results. The fact that visible results easily change man’attitude has been confirmed once again in s the course of Korea’economic development. As s
C. Strong Political Involvement in the Nation’Policy Project s
The success of massive national policy projects presupposes the commitment of the nation’ s political sphere. Saemaul Undong began smoothly, achieving marked success thanks to the strong commitment of then President Park. His enthusiasm for the national movement was summarized in a quote from one of his public addresses:“Let us reconstruct our rural surroundings and bestow upon our descendants better communities, so that they can declare with pride that their ancestors were farmers who worked at the forefront of Saemaul Undong in the 1970s.” The head of the state during the Third Republic of Korea pursued economic development and was guided by the principle of central planning. In order to verify and encourage the
the results of economic growth were witnessed across the country, the social status of businessmen, the main group player in economic development was raised, and they even emerged as social leaders. This is striking, in light of the Korean tradition placing businessmen at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Traditionally, nobility and scholars were placed above farmers, farmers above manufacturers or craftsmen, and craftsmen above merchants. This concrete change experienced in Koreans’ way of life effectively motivated the rural populace to achieve economic development.
E. Emergence of New Attitudes
As “heaven helps only those who help themselves,”the prerequisite for achieving improvements in the social and material development of individuals is for people to be increasingly oriented towards innovation and development. In this light, change on the part of those involved was key to the success of Saemaul Undong. Not all of those involved necessarily adopt innovative attitudes and behaviors from the onset of the campaign. A successful campaign requires innovators who proclaim innovation and those who follow in their footsteps, translating their teachings into reality. In this light, Saemaul Undong’success was brought about partly by the s emergence of exemplary leaders and numerous others who sympathized with such leaders.
(1) Historical Conditions It should not be overlooked that the emergence of powerful leaders and the increasing number of sympathizers would not have been possible without the timely maturation of necessary conditions. First of all, Korean farmers traditionally valued pride and self-esteem. As illustrated in Korea’traditional social hierarchy structure, s which placed farmers in the second-highest position, agriculture was not only once the core of all
industries, but farmers were a critical power group second only to the noble class. As the poor members of the noble class made a living through farming, these farmers and the members of the noble class maintained active contact. Children of well-to-do farmers went to a traditional local academy called So-dang, which was run by a noble class member of the area. Whereas farmers were regarded as slaves in other countries, including Russia and Japan, Korean farmers had great
dignity and integrity, and they took pride in their status as land workers. This explains why the foreigners who first set foot on the Korean peninsula toward the end of Korea’ last dynasty (1910) s 1) dubbed the Korean farmers “beautiful swans.” The turning point in the public’perception s of farming and farmers occurred amid poor governance at the end of Korea’last dynasty and the s subsequent exploitation by Imperial Japan, which had occupied the Korean peninsula at the beginning of the 20th century. This had a serious impact on farmers, and an increasing number of the rural populace abandoned their land. However, land reform and the mandatory educational system that followed renewed national independence, and heralded a new era for the rural communities. At the end of the 19th century, the literacy rate in the rural sector stood at 30-45% for men and 210% for women. The corresponding figure for men had risen to 50% by 1945, and rose further to 83.4% by 1970. As a result of the rise in rural literacy rates, modes of thinking and economic opportunities in the rural sector did not deviate much from the national average. The land reform conducted during the 1945-55 period contributed much to bringing about homogeneity in the rural sector. Most of the rural households cultivated an average of 1 jongbo, or 99 acres, and a few households cultivated areas of three jongbo or larger. It should be noted that the homogeneity of the rural sector was one of the conditions leading to the nearly unanimous participation by rural residents in the Saemaul projects. Rural homogeneity as the springboard of rural development ironically emphasized the pervasive poverty which threatened the very existence of the rural community. This adversity reached its peak with the devastation resulting 1) The metaphor of“swans”was based on the white clothing typically worn by Koreans at that time.
from the Korean War. Fortunately, however, the extremely harsh ordeal as exemplified by the War also brought with it the prospects for recovery and turnaround. These positive prospects, combined with the collective attitude of the people who were anxious to tap into those prospects, proved significant to Korea’rural communities and the Korean society s as a whole. The economic recoveries orchestrated by the Germans and the Japanese after WWII illustrated the possibility of turning extreme hardship, characterized by massive destruction and national decline, into a foundation for rapid economic development. The Korean version of economic growth can be understood in the same context. In the early 1960s, the military government, which had risen to power through a coup and had later become the Third Republic of Korea, initiated a campaign called the National Reconstruction Movement to revitalize the rural sector, utilizing the strength of the rural population. In doing so, the government emphasized self-reliance and educated the rural populace through circulating mottoes promoting diligence, self-reliance, and self-help. However, this campaign failed to live up to expectations as it focused solely on enlightening the agricultural population, instead of rendering practical assistance and action to encourage people’ participation. Accordingly, national cams paigns including Saemaul Undong had to wait until the early 1970s, when the government emerged with funds to provide minimal assistance to farmers.
(2) The Shift to Development-Oriented Attitudes Since the early 1960s, the manufacturing industry had grown and spread in the urban areas with guidance and help from the government, while the rural sector had watched on the sidelines. Just as imbalances or even discrepancies in different rates of psychological development naturally occur, differences in level and degree of eco-
nomic and social development among sectors or regions also entail. If these differences deepen over time, those who have been left behind would tend to become frustrated and stunted in their growth and development. Saemaul Undong began at a time when the general public’expectations for development had s reached a peak. Considering that not all the expectations that a national drive elicits from the people in different regions automatically fuel national development, the success of Saemaul Undong in this regard is unique. The movement’success s should be attributed to the unique quality of collective feelings among Koreans, characterized by han, which is roughly equivalent to suppressed anger and sorrow, and by shinmyong, which implies excitement and enthusiasm. The han of Korean people is not identical with the resentment common to the Japanese, who tend to seek revenge on anyone who slights them. Although the Imperial Japanese intentionally underestimated han as somewhat pejorative, han reflects the strong and earnest desire of Koreans to
accept and strive to overcome the difficulties that come in their way. Such a sentiment is manifested in various forms: the tearful commitment of unschooled parents to give their children every possible opportunity to be educated, or the determination of a rural youth who leaves his povertystricken hometown in order to succeed in life in the big city. As illustrated in these cases, Korean han is a positive value encompassing unlimited potential for growth. Whereas han offers the potential for growth, shinmyong serves to accelerate the process of realizing that potential. The Korean proverb“One hardly realizes that he is exceeding his own limits when he is cheered on by others” effectively illustrates the power of shinmyong. In Saemaul Undong, the enthusiasm or excitement was converted into self-confidence summarized by the “Can Do”spirit, and into efforts toward self-fulfillment. These two sentiments were at the root of Korea’impressive economic growth and the dras matic development in rural areas in particular. They were also responsible for transforming the
in basic living conditions have not yet been completed. Self-help villages are those that have prepared themselves for potential income increase and technology development by improving their living conditions. The rapid phase-out of‘basiclevel villages’ clearly illustrates the fact that such villages utilized the element of competition among villages as a stimulus to move up and surpass their level, instead of developing a sense of relative deprivation.
increasingly widening discrepancy between rural and urban sectors into an impetus for those in the rural sector to seek modernization and growth. At the early stage of Saemaul Undong, villages were classified into three categories, depending on levels of village’development. Those that s had not yet been able to move beyond relatively primitive living conditions and outdated modes of production were termed“basic-level villages.” The ratio of those in this category compared to all other rural villages stood at 53% at the end of 1972, but fell to only 1% by the end of 1976. It became apparent that the majority had been transformed into either self-reliant or self-helping villages. “Self-reliant” villages are communities where residents have shown promising attitudes and thought patterns, indicating that they can work toward a self-help village, but the improvements
(3) Expanded Reproduction of the Saemaul Spirit: Saemaul Education The role of enlightened leadership in the development of a society, whether in East or West, present or past, demands no justification. As many regional development theories point out, the substantial stumbling block to the development of a remote area is not the lack of investment but a lack of revolutionary leadership. The extent of the success of Saemaul Undong, which was aimed at enabling the complete transformation of poverty-stricken rural communities into forces geared towards national economic development, naturally hinged on the Saemaul Leaders. The need for Saemaul education, which primarily seeks to develop potential Saemaul Leaders, emerged after the evaluation of the campaign’first year performance was completed. An s analysis of the varied usage of the allotted cement by village revealed that a village managed by a competent leader was able to effectively distribute the limited materials whereas a village that lacked such leadership ended up wasting precious materials. The task of securing competent leaders had become increasingly difficult in the agricultural sector amid sweeping urbanization. Among the consequences of this trend was the decision of many able rural youths to relocate to urban areas. Prior to Saemaul Undong, exemplary farmers naturally served as unofficial leaders of rural communities. The problem was that these leaders were not adequate for the“critical mass”needed for a
rural revolution. This led to the recognition that raising dedicated leaders armed with a thorough sense of their mission should come first before offering governmental assistance. Saemaul Undong began as a response to this observation. Saemaul education focuses on cultivating the minds of the trainees, on the assumption that progress-oriented, aggressive attitudes are the core qualities of Saemaul Leaders. Therefore, more educational emphasis is placed on inducing changes in attitudes and thought, than on teaching new information or technologies. In the participation-based mutual education program, the trainees are educated through communal life at camps and share their ideas via personal conversations and public discussions. The purpose of this program is to lead the trainees to realize that the others serve as mirrors through which they can see themselves. In the program for facilitating attitudinal changes in daily life, the trainees learn how to yield to others and to coop-
erate with others in their daily lives through practicing in everyday situations. The second-hand experience program teaches the trainees about the successes of excellent Saemaul Leaders by sharing success stories. This program effectively encourages the aspirations and the morale of the trainees by inviting them to share a sense of unity with those who have presented their success stories. To summarize, the trainees learn from the Saemaul education programs the significance of the role of leaders as models, and the importance of cooperation in a society where individuals cannot solve all of their problems by themselves. As a natural consequence, the motivation and optimism of Saemaul Leaders were reported to be much higher than average rural residents. In a poll that asked, “What do you think living conditions will be like in ten years?”56% of the Saemaul Leaders answered that “the living conditions will have improved considerably.”Only 40% of the average residents chose the same
answer. The original target group of Saemaul education was productive, exemplary farmers. The Central Saemaul Undong Training Institute played a pivotal role in extending this target group to include Saemaul Leaders, men and women alike, public servants, well-known leaders, youth, various vocational organizations, Koreans living abroad, and even foreigners. As was mentioned earlier, the government played a pivotal role in the process of establishing and developing Saemaul Undong, and President Park’ direct and indirect influence was critical in s the process. He strove to modernize public employees first, believing that this should be a spring board in realizing a modernized nation. In a related effort, President Park made on-site visits early each year to important administrative organizations starting from central government organizations first and then to smaller organizations in provinces, cities, and rural counties. During this series of visits, President Park had the head of each organization brief him on important or pending administrative tasks. Because of this, his governing style was dubbed as briefing-based administration.” “ This served as an important tool in effectively managing the administration. This convention triggered the emergence of a rational administration focused on development.
3. Reflections on Saemaul Undong
The good intentions that prompt the development of a policy do not always justify the policy itself as virtually nothing comes without a price in this mundane world. As Saemaul Undong was run under the strong leadership of Park’dictatorial central govs ernment, the decision-making process was far from being democratic, and failed to reflect the
diverse characteristics and interests of different regions and the various occupational fields. At the early stage of the campaign’ implementation, s central and local government organizations allotted materials first, and then the residents of the community involved were required to make use of the materials in their projects and report the results. As a consequence, those in the villages unconsciously developed attitudes of dependence and passiveness. Saemaul Undong projects focused on achieving quantitative or concrete results, and placed greater emphasis on the results rather than on the process or quality of the implementation. Moreover, the project scope was often rather narrow, which resulted in a failure to tailor projects to the specific needs and characteristics of different implementation units. While Saemaul Undong was actively gaining ground in the rural sector based on the sector’ homogeneity, it failed to s leave much impact in regions outside the rural communities. The achievement of urban, corporation, and factory Saemaul Undong was less than satisfactory in the regions where heterogeneity outweighed homogeneity. The fundamental weakness of Saemaul Undong was that from the beginning, it lacked strong and well-ordered legitimacy. Since the drive developed a theory to validate itself while it was implemented, the initial stage of Saemaul Undong was inevitably characterized by a series of trials and unavoidable errors. More importantly, it failed to earn trust from younger citizens due to the prevalent distrust and misunderstanding that political agenda were behind the campaign. This misunderstanding exacerbated in the 1980s, and made it even more difficult to fully carry out the campaign. Following the political instability after the death of President Park, every newly-elected president attempted to cast himself in a light different from past administrations. Thus a combination of all these factors weakened enthusiasm for the campaign.
VII. Implementing Saemaul Undong in the 21st Century
1. Challenging the Future
A. Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization
It is clear that Saemaul Undong played a pivotal role in modernizing the nation. Considering that we are approaching a new century and a new millenium, it is necessary to devise a new blueprint for the movement so that it can continue to contribute to the national development process. In doing so, focus should be placed on identifying what the movement can achieve, and in what specific areas. If we are to draw up a quality blueprint, we should understand the nature of anticipated radical changes, both internal and external, and prepare for the future based on such an understanding. The most powerful trend today, which has swept Korea and the rest of the world alike, is one that reaches far beyond national modernization. This involves a transition into a much smaller world through globalization, which in turn constitutes a formidable and unprecedented challenge to humankind. By nature, globalization presents us with the prospect of very unpredictable lives. The foreign currency crisis in Korea is one such example: it delivered a severe blow to Koreans, who had taken economic growth for granted, and it has shaken the very foundation of the nation. With the dawn of a new millenium upon us, it has become apparent that the future may not be all that rosy. There is no guarantee that the current financial crisis will not repeat itself, and as a result, the task of national reunification has become even harder. Koreans feel that they are desperately groping in the dark, not knowing where they will find themselves. All of these conditions result from the global trend of world politics that is moving beyond ideological confrontation into the era featuring enthusiastic globalization, which has already impacted the Korean economy unfavorably.
Ironically, however, globalization used to serve Korea well by creating favorable trade conditions that enabled the country to enjoy fame as one of the world’leading export countries. This s very same trend has become the culprit in the current foreign currency crisis. The vicious cycle of “rich get richer and poor get poorer” exerted a has powerful influence, reversing the social progress that was managed so far. Almost every region in Korea, except for a few metropolitan cities, was hit hard by the financial crisis. The massive layoffs following the economic restructuring have precipitated conflicts among different social groups. The unemployment issue in particular is deemed as the most serious threat to the stability of the citizens’lives. The urgency of the unemployment problem becomes all the more obvious if we understand that it is not a temporary phenomenon. Industrial modernization, characterized by automation, has diminished the demand for production workers, while globalization has reduced
the demand for white-collar workers with the advent of the information revolution. Against this backdrop, we are entering a new phase in which the middle class is likely to lose most of its influence as an important social group. Moreover, national borders will become useless in protecting national interests with the emergence of a borderless economy.
waves of globalization.
C. Revitalization of the Saemaul Spirit
We Koreans live in a time of grim reality and an unclear future, and the choices available to us are limited; we must make righteous and just decisions rather than taking shortcuts, and value measures propped up by principles. Saemaul Undong has been evaluated as the most significant achievement of the Korean people in our modern history. Furthermore, the working principles of Saemaul Undong, namely, diligence, selfhelp, and cooperation, are deemed eternal values that have been promoted throughout the history of humankind. Admittedly, there is a tendency to minimize the tenets of diligence, self-help, and cooperation as simply mottos of Saemaul Undong, not as necessary principles for development. However, just as the human body not properly supported by the mind is an empty shell, mental and ethical fortifications serve as the cornerstones of development. Hence, we should consider that lax social discipline is one cause of the current financial difficulties. Conversely, the means with which to overcome the current difficulties must be found in the revitalization and expansion of the Saemaul spirit.
B. Localization as a Countermeasure against Unfavorable Globalization Trends
Globalization is not only a challenge, but a mandate which Korea must continue to strive for. The nation’ identity and potential for further s growth would be threatened if Koreans were to exist solely within the thrust of a centrifugal force figuratively reflecting the nation’present status. s If we Koreans are to ensure the nation’survival, s prosperity and well-being, we must be able to develop a counter-force that will offset the adverse effects of globalization. Localization is the optimal alternative being proposed to bolster the nation’chances of survival. s Successful localization efforts will provide more opportunities for Koreans to cast off old habits developed in the course of the modernization process. Throughout the 120-year-long modernization process, including the five decades since the nation regained her independence, the Korean people and the Korean community have lived in a state of subjugation that has exerted the most powerful influence on their fate. The common thread that binds together the seemingly diverse events that have transpired in the nation’ s modern history is that Koreans were forced to act or not to act. If we are to chart a desirable course for our history into the 21st century, we should begin by realizing the significance of autonomy, volunteerism, and activism. In this light, localization can definitely contribute to promoting this realization and to safely riding the heightening
2. Directions of the New Saemaul Undong in the 21st Century
A. A National Movement Towards Common Prosperity
Saemaul Undong was summarized in the past as a“Prosperity for Ourselves Movement.” The changes that took place from the mid-1980s, including the quantitative expansion of the national economy, and the accelerated migration of the farming and fishing populace to urban areas, however, shifted the base of Saemaul Undong to urban areas. The regional and intersocial group conflicts, which emerged as a result of economic growth, made it inevitable to redefine the goals of the movement.
The pains and difficulties Koreans face under the IMF bailout system at the threshold of the upcoming century offer Korean society the invaluable opportunity for self-reflection. If we Koreans are to overcome this crisis, we will have to enhance the competitiveness of society as a whole, and promote the spirit of mutual help and mutual assistance. In order to achieve these goals we must eradicate both our indulgence in luxury and blind group egoism. We will also have to revolutionize our attitudes as well as our economic mechanisms so that we can replace all inefficient systems and outdated conventions as we strive to cope with globalization. Viewed in this light, the duties and the responsibilities imposed upon Saemaul Undong at this stage are enormous and significant. Saemaul Undong should offer hope, vision and courage to all people facing difficulties. It should stir up the energy and enthusiasm neces-
sary to motivate Korean society to start over. The new Saemaul Undong should strive to construct a new and better country by actively responding to the conditions of the times. While the goal of the early Saemaul Undong was promotion of prosperity, the new Saemaul Undong intends to establish itself as a national movement to realize a wholesome community, guided by the ideal of“mutual prosperity.”In other words, the ideal and the goals of the new Saemaul Undong are embodied in the endeavor to foster common prosperity, serve as a of the social integration process, and become a leading force in the revitalization of the country.
B. Orientation of the New Saemaul Undong
The new Saemaul Undong should be guided by three vital missions. First of all, it must identify its new tasks for the purpose of promoting people’awareness of existing social hardships s and mobilizing their participation in the process of overcoming such difficulties. Specifically, it should seek to revolutionize the daily lives of citizens and reconstruct regional communities, and lead the way in identifying and pursuing practical and plausible tasks, initiating efforts to revitalize the national economy and to help the unem-
ployed overcome the current difficulties. Saemaul Undong should also newly establish itself, shedding its old image. Most Koreans have a positive understanding about the campaign because of its great contribution to the development of both the nation and the regional communities. However, its initial characteristic as a government-initiated movement has been the source of a great deal of negative perception and criticism. Accordingly, efforts should be made to leave behind the old mentality, conventions, and systems so that the movement can build a horizontal, cooperative partnership, in place of a government-dependent campaign. Achieving financial self-reliance is one of the urgent tasks in this regard. Furthermore, activities should be strengthened and carried out in cooperation with various non-governmental organizations and vocational associations with a view to promoting a better understanding of the campaign. This way, the campaign can expand the scope of its activities and roles as well. Last but not least, Saemaul Undong should redefine its role by fully exploiting its dynamism and strengthening its function in promoting public welfare. It is well understood that the energy of Saemaul Undong is felt most keenly in the field, where the villagers can enthusiastically translate into reality the objectives and specifications laid out in a particular project’blueprint. Neverthes less, there persists a tendency for implementation to center around the orders, interference, and the control delivered top-down from the central government. The emphasis must be shifted to the field, or the actual implementation sites, by abolishing central government-oriented functions, systems, and conventions. At the same time, the campaign’executive organization should be recreats ed as a new and open entity, by securing necessary expertise, efficiency, and autonomy.
Thus far, Saemaul Undong has done its part in achieving national and social development as a campaign aimed at advancing the attitudes of Koreans, developing the economy, and improving society. In this light, the new Saemaul Undong can be defined as follows: ■ Saemaul Undong is a movement designed to promote love of country and efforts for its revitalization. ■ It is a campaign designed to revolutionize the attitudes and lifestyles of citizens, helping them develop sound and healthy attitudes. ■ It is a drive to help community live in love and harmony. ■ It is a national conservation movement focused on building an environmentally sustainable community. ■ It is an initiative to prepare for the nation’ s reunification and to construct a world where everyone can enjoy prosperity. The new Saemaul Undong should prioritize the realization of these five characteristics, accept the mission and execute it step by step. This approach will emphasize personal responsibility for self-improvement first and foremost in our daily lives, in our dealings with our neighbors, through continued education, campaigning, and various events designed to enhance public welfare. The focus of the new Saemaul Undong’ s efforts will be to identify general goals and specific tasks as guided by the following principles: First, the ongoing“Saving the Nation and Revitalizing the Economy”campaign will focus on helping the unemployed overcome their current difficulties. The Korean nation achieved modernization by exploiting the deeply embedded sentiment of patriotism, while at the same time mobilizing public confidence through the“Prosperity for Us Campaign.”The new Saemaul Undong will lead efforts to promote self-help
C. Nature and Tasks of the New Saemaul Undong
measures to deal with the current IMF crisis. Moreover, it will create a consensus concerning the need to“Unite and Begin Once More”while fostering an environment favoring frugality and hard work. It will focus on igniting in the minds of the general public a strong will to achieve their goals and helping them translate these goals into reality. At the same time, the campaign will aggressively pursue revitalization of the agricultural and fishing communities, recognizing that rural as well as urban sectors should enjoy common prosperity. In order to realize the afore-mentioned goals, the new Saemaul Undong should focus first on those hit by unemployment. The ongoing shortterm efforts to help unemployed heads of families unable to afford meals will be augmented by a long-term structural prescription, establishing local social networks, and operating an on-site educational program to help those who plan to open new businesses. In order to help revitalize the economies in agricultural and fishing villages, it will seek to establish a system of direct trade for agricultural products, active utilization of arable lands now lying idle, and the operation of a sys-
tem to honor exemplary villages. Furthermore, it will provide intensive assistance, and in decisionmaking, it will be as sensitive as possible to the special characteristics of each village. Second, the campaign to revolutionize public attitudes will be conducted in line with another national movement to reconstruct the nation as a whole. The focus of the campaign will be on enhancing rationality and maturity in Korean society and promoting the sharing of attitude and value systems, thus curbing widespread irrationality, inefficiency, and irregularities. There will be expanded access to social education in order to foster democratic citizenship, because adopting appropriate attitudes and moral standards will ensure that citizens can compete on the global stage armed with advanced global perspectives. The tasks pertaining to the second category will include establishing basic order in daily life by emphasizing public order, kindness, and cleanliness. The campaign to revolutionize our daily lives will be promoted to reach every villager through various campaigns and events specifically tailored to the realities of each village. In addition, the campaign will maximize public participa-
tion through The“5-Froms Movement”( “from myself, from small matters, from things nearby, from easy matters, and from now on.” The ) Family Saemaul Undong, a movement to promote the practice of these principles in the home, will be aggressively pursued. Traditional virtues and values will be strengthened by operating schools that teach proper manners, encouraging young people to write letters to parents and elderly relatives, and emphasizing the importance of traditions such as raising the national flag. New social education programs designed to raise up democratic citizens by strengthening voluntary participation and socialization, and promoting awareness of qualities, attitudes and behaviors required in the information age will be introduced. Third, the campaign to help neighbors live in love and harmony focuses on the goal of social integration. Specifically, it aims at achieving regional integration by helping heal the wounds left by conflicts and confrontations among various regions and different social groups, while at the same time eradicating unsubstantiated prejudices about certain regions and their inhabitants. In addition, the campaign seeks integration among people in different groups. In order to build a society where all members live together in harmony and prosperity, extra efforts should be made to help those who have been left behind in the process of economic development, as well as those hit hard by the current economic crisis. To this end, the movement will expand citizen participation by establishing a system to monitor and assist volunteer workers striving to restore humane and caring regional communities. At the same time, it will fulfill its accepted role as one of the key organizations in Korea working to promote the public good. Projects to meet these goals will include strengthening social integration by promoting mutual understanding between the southeastern and the southwestern regions of Korea. This will
be achieved by holding various events, establishing regional ties, and promoting cultural and social exchanges. A wide variety of regional service activities will also be organized and systematically implemented. Regional Saemaul volunteer centers will be opened in order to transform the homily “Love thy neighbor” into daily practice. A network will be set up connecting communities with volunteers, in order to help senior citizens living alone, orphaned youths who have assumed the role of parents to their younger siblings, and children unable to afford meals. On another front, in order to better assist urgent rescue missions and disaster recovery activities in contingencies such as floods, there will be improved mobilization and organization of needed personnel. Specifically, the availability of food supply vehicles and volunteer personnel will be maintained around the clock, programs to restore affected sites will be developed and training programs will be augmented. Students’ volunteer activities will also be aggressively promoted through cooperative efforts with schools in each district. Fourth, the campaign to protect nature will focus on expanding the scope of the nature conservation drive to comprehensive efforts to preserve life on the planet. This is based on the recognition that in order to ensure the continued survival of humankind, people must live in harmony with nature. A comprehensive environmental preservation campaign will be carried out by mobilizing the collective efforts of villagers. The tasks relating to the fourth category will include promoting resident participation in Saemaul cleanups, cutting down on food waste, separate collection of recyclable waste, and recycling. The philosophy behind these activities is to encourage initiating these practices at home to reduce and prevent the spread of pollutants. A system requiring certain regions to take care of small rivers in their jurisdictions will be established in order to raise the efficiency of the campaign to revitalize and regenerate rivers to the
point that they can support life forms once again. This will be achieved by promoting competition among the different regions involved, and by attracting the attention and participation of the residents. A wide variety of environmentally oriented events and activities will be implemented to induce and expand voluntary participation. These can include summertime infection prevention programs, manufacturing soaps from recycled vegetable oil, operating environmental information centers in summer resorts, collecting recyclable raw materials, and developing parks throughout the nation. Fifth, a campaign to prepare for the nation’ s reunification and to bring Saemaul Undong to the global level will focus on facilitating the realization of the importance of common survival and
common prosperity. Specifically, efforts will be made to help feed those who are less fortunate and unable to afford decent meals. The campaign will also strive to lay down a foundation for the implementation of Saemaul Undong following the nation’reunification. Furthermore, the guiding s spirit of Saemaul Undong, which values diligence, self-help, and cooperation, will be promoted in countries which look to our nation as a model. The tasks to be employed in fulfilling the goals mentioned in this category include an agricultural cooperation project in the Maritime Province in Siberia, Russia. If realized, the project will be instrumental in promoting Saemaul Undong overseas in cooperation with underdeveloped countries. Other projects that are being finalized range from overseas volunteer services
3. Strategies to Revitalize the New Saemaul Undong
A. Re-establishment as an Advanced Non-Governmental Organization
Toward the end of the 1980s, sweeping changes were made in Korea, and democracy was enhanced as a result. This in turn brought about an explosive growth of non-governmental, nonpolitical, and non-profit civil movements, thus dictating the need for Saemaul Undong to advance its mechanism and structures as well . We have witnessed advanced welfare societies plagued by numerous social problems. Oftentimes, they have failed to act on various demands involving women’rights, environmens tal protection, and anti-war activism. Social ills such as massive unemployment and the plight of the homeless, among others, have pointed out the limitations of capitalist welfare states. The new idea has emerged that the private sector must play a part in meeting the needs of these socially disadvantaged groups. As a consequence, NGOs have rapidly expanded, their work guided by the principles of participation, autonomy, and volunteer activities. The essence of non-governmental organizations in Western civil societies lies in voluntarism. They have developed a time-honored tradition characterized by voluntary participation as they moved beyond the continuous confrontation among governments, markets, and the citizens during the Citizens’Revolution. On the other hand, in the developing countries, national economies have been weak with little or no capital to support social welfare policies. Accordingly, the NGOs in these countries went along two different paths respectively: either leading anti-government movements, aligning themselves with anti-establishment political movements, or acting to supple-
by university students, participation in non-governmental organizations in the United Nations, and establishment of overseas offices for Koreans living abroad and foreigners who have completed the Saemaul education program, to expansion of exchanges with national campaign organizations of other countries and related non-govermental organizations(NGOs). Planned exchanges with Japan, aimed at energizing the northeast Asian region, are included in these efforts. Saemaul Undong will also lead various civilian projects to assist Koreans in North Korea and cooperate in improving the North’agricultural structure by s approaching it from various perspectives. Finally, Saemaul Undong’efforts toward reunification s will be aggressively pursued in line with efforts to bring about national reconciliation and the restoration of the Korean society.
ment the functions of weak public welfare systems by developing close relationships with the government based on mutual interests. Saemaul Undong began as a“Third Sector Movement,”the name indicating another option in addition to the public and private sectors. The movement functioned to perform what would normally be governmental tasks but had not been accomplished, and tasks in which the government could not directly involve itself. Typical civil movements in Korea tended to be elite- and cityoriented, indulge in technical or peripheral issues, and focus on criticism, monitoring, and the filing of formal complaints with government authorities. Departing from these movements, Saemaul Undong created and accumulated‘positive
virtues’ mobilizing a large number of citizens by nationwide in tackling common social tasks through action and concrete practice. However, as we are approaching a new century, it is critical that the nature of Saemaul Undong adapt to the coming age if it is to survive and flourish in these times of unbridled globalization. The requirements of globalization are autonomy, a strong private sector, and a market-oriented mentality. Because Saemaul Undong was initiated by the government during the era when the nation’economic growth was led by the governs ment, some still regard it as a quasi-governmental organized movement. Such misunderstandings must be clarified through the creation of an autonomous, independent organization.
B. Securing Autonomy in Administration
In order for Saemaul Undong to establish itself as a genuine nationwide civil movement in both name and reality, it should make efforts to secure autonomy in its management and execution of projects. First, it should direct all of its energy to restoring the Korean self-confidence echoed in the motto,“We Can Run Again,”and reviving the Korean people’enthusiasm and excitement s through implementing a campaign to revolutionize their daily lives. Focus should be on practical issues, not on any entertainment of abstract ideas. Second, it should contribute to the expansion and strengthening of civil society by constructing systems to promote cooperation with various vocational and other civil movement organizations. The goal of these efforts is to transcend egocentrism and egoism and instead, to pool collective wisdom in cooperative efforts to solve social problems. Third, it should re-establish itself as a transparent, 100% autonomous, efficient civil movement by maintaining and cultivating a sound, equal partnership with the administration, on which the campaign used to depend. Fourth, it should enhance its autonomy in executing the projects for which it has accepted responsibility. Specifically, it is of critical importance to enhance financial self-reliance and the pride of Saemaul Leaders in local fields, and establish exemplary Saemaul workers as role models. Fifth, it should focus on maximizing the efficiency of project implementation. Specifically, it should put more emphasis on fields of implementation so that the creativity and diversity of different regions can be revitalized in this age of localization. Also new productive tasks should be developed according to rational management-oriented strategies.
C. Expanding Its Role as a Community-Based Safety Network
Saemaul Undong was created on the basis of the traditional Korean philosophy of assisting neighbors according to ture, kye, and hyangyak2) As an agrarian society, Koreans have cultivated community awareness and community-oriented behavior through agricultural cooperation and have developed the perception that relationships between neighbors are like those of close relatives. This cherished tradition took deep root in communities that were bound together, not because of geographical proximity, but because they actually shared their lives: a common desire to share the joys and sorrows of life with neighbors and to work together to solve the problems of the region. The restrictions caused by inadequate supply of labor forces were solved through sharing labors among farmers. Those in need were helped by the united efforts of the neighborhood whereas major village events, large or small, were shouldered collectively. Villagers’behavior was bound more by traditional norms than by formal laws. Those who were disobedient to their parents, cheated or robbed others, or committed adultery were never forgiven; violators of such social boundaries were immediately ostracized according to the collective decision of the villagers. Hyangyak was instrumental in promoting positive traditions and behavior through mutual encouragement and guidance among villagers. It emphasized four principles: mutual encouragement of good deeds, mutual correction of misconduct, interrelating with others with proper manners and sharing good customs, and mutual aid to those in need. In 2) The former two refer to traditional private-sector organizations in Korea for facilitating mutual help, whereas the last is a traditional mechanism to promote common values.
short, it signified a voluntary agreement among villagers, their code of conduct, and a village ethical code. Supported by Hyangyak, villagers developed a unique code by which to live harmoniously. However, rampant materialism in the wake of drastic urbanization and industrialization has led to self-centered behavior that has weakened traditional village ethics. Presently, Korean society is witnessing a variety of rampant social problems: the rise of a decadent entertainment culture and illegal activities, extremely dichotomous thinking, an irrational identity with a particular region or group, inter-
societal group conflicts and mutual distrust, high accident rates, including traffic fatalities, and pollution due to various causes. As a means to overcome the grim reality and to construct a better civil society, Saemaul Undong will enhance its ability to assist in the restoration of traditional, genuine community where citizens encourage good deeds, discourage one another from acting unethically, help their neighbors in need, and live in harmony with one another. One buzzword frequently heard since the IMF crisis is Community-Based Safety Network’ as a social welfare system for those who have lost economic viability. The Town Safety Network
used with relation to Saemaul Undong signifies a collective effort to organize citizens’ autonomous, voluntary efforts to solve problems independently in their own neighborhoods. The ultimate concern here is to construct an environmentally safe and sanitary village, one which is accident- and disaster-free, where no one is isolated and left lonely. It will be a village full of humanity, one that guarantees physical and psychological well-being.
Various activities will be carried out in this regard: helping those heads-of-household who have lost their jobs in the wake of massive economic restructuring, putting the maxim of“love thy neighbor” into practice through helping the disadvantaged, including senior citizens living alone, and parentless youths who must take care of their families themselves, preserving nature with a view to constructing a pleasanter environment, establishing order with a view to preventing disasters such as traffic accidents, and practicing kindness in our daily lives. Citizens’participation is critical to the success of the process. A neighborhood becomes more beautiful and safer when all residents loves their village and do their best to develop it into a place they feel proud of. To this end, Saemaul Undong will galvanize the activities of its various service organizations, by regional unit, while maximizing the efficiency of its campaign through close cooperation with various social, civil, and vocational organizations. At the same time, it will aggressively implement a campaign to reconstruct regional community. Specifically, it will construct neighborhood full of humanity and warmth, villages where many will want to live. This will be achieved by encouraging more active participation and sociability on the part of the residents. Regular resident council meetings, and development of a variety of educational programs for democratic citizens are just some of the planned efforts.
History of Saemaul Undong
April 22, 1970 January 14, 1972 July 2, 1972 January 25, 1973 December 1, 1980
October 1, 1980 December 13, 1980 October 20, 1983 December 31, 1983
Septermber 24, 1984 April 15, 1985
November 23, 1991 March 28, 1997 April 21, 1998 December 8, 1998
Saemaul Kaggugi Undong, or Improve Our Village Campaign, was proclaimed. The Training Institute for Productive Farmers was opened. Education for Saemaul Leaders began. The Saemaul Medal was added to the government award system. Saemaul Undong Headquarters was legally established as a corporation. (It changed its name to the National Council of Saemaul Undong Movement in Korea in April, 1989) Regional offices were opened in large cities and provinces. Saemaul Undong Organization Fostering Act was enacted. Branch offices were opened in smaller cities, rural counties, and urban districts. Saemaul Leaders Training Institute Headquarters was incorporated. It renamed itself as Central Saemaul Undong Training Institute in January, 1990. Saemaul education for foreigners began. Saemaul Undong Headquarters Training Institute was opened in ChangSong, Chollanam-do. (It changed its name to Southern Saemaul Undong Training Institute in January, 1990.) The Fruitful Work Awards were first presented. Protocol for Saemaul Cooperation Project in Maritime Province in Siberia, Russia was signed. The Association of Those Who Love Saemaul Undong was launched. The second phase of Saemaul Undong was proclaimed.
The National Council of Saemaul Undong Movement
1008-4 Daechi-3dong Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea TEL : 82-2-2600-3671 FAX : 82-2-2600-3673
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