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Why Is South Korean Culture So Materialistic?

TL;DR In South Korea, objects define identity. This is the result of rapid economic growth that initially spawned a nouveau-riche culture of ostentatiously displaying wealth. The economic growth itself is precipitated by status-conscious, affirmation-hungry South Koreans who enjoy showing off their success through material goods.   The bottom line

Se-Woong Koo
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Disposable Workers of Hyper-Capitalist Korea

A call-center manager beats her subordinates with an umbrella at an office in Jongno, Seoul. She slaps them in the face over and over. She pushes them around till they cry. All for not selling enough magazine subscriptions. As a contributor to the publication of the International Trade Union Confederation,

Gyoon Heo
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The Republic of Konsumerism

Upon entering a supermarket in Seoul for the first time, I was completely lost. What I thought would be a simple challenge became nerve-wrecking: choosing a tube of toothpaste. Everywhere I looked, each product claimed to be better and cheaper than the last. “Three for the price of two”, “20%