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South Korea’s Steel Industry

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By Hunter Wallace

This excerpt also comes from the Ha-Joon Chang book and is particularly interesting in light of the fate of Birmingham:

“Korea also provides another dramatic example of a successful public enterprise in the form of the (now privatized) steel maker, POSCO (Pohang Iron and Steel Company). The Korean government made an application to the World Bank in the late 1960s for a loan to build its first modern steel mill. The bank rejected it on the grounds that the project was not viable. Not an unreasonable decision. The country’s biggest export items at the time were fish, cheap apparel, wigs and plywood. Korea didn’t possess deposits of either of the two key raw materials – iron ore and coking coal. Furthermore, the Cold War meant it could not import them from nearby communist China. They had to be brought all the way from Australia. And to cap it all, the Korean government proposed to run the venture as a SOE. What more perfect recipe for disaster? Yet within ten years of starting production in 1973, (the project was financed by Japanese banks), the company became one of the most efficient steel-producers on the planet and is now the world’s third largest.”


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