2015년 한･중･일 역학관계 대응 종합연구: 한･중･일의 2015년 국내 경제현안 및 여건변화 전망
This article provides an analysis of social policy development in recent years in Korea, Japan and China, discussing how changes in education, employment, income inequality, social exclusion, etc, have led to reforms in their social policies. The focus of the analysis is the making and implementation of new social policies in recent years, especially after the 2008 financial crisis.
These countries are in the midst of a historic transformation: long-term economic recession in Japan, rapid economic growth in China, and economic instability and repeated economic shocks in Korea. Increasing economic inter-dependancy of these countries and the emergency of the Chinese hegemony in the global economy raise a new problem in this region: tension or intense competition.
Japan, plunged in a long-term economic recession and population ageing, has intense aspirations for economic recovery and social stabilization. For China, it is time to make efforts to improve its regional development and social protection while maintaining economic growth. Having been hit hard by a series of economic downturns since the last 1990s, Korea is in the face of challenges concerning economic growth, job creation, and redistribution.
It does not imply that the path ahead is just doing more of the same. Maintaining the present growth momentum will require an alternative paradigm of growth and redistribution. As an export-driven economy, Korea could hardly escape from the impact of global economic recession on its labor market and social security system. To make matters worse, our country will be confronted by the impact of economic recession in China and Japan in the immediate future. In this sense, it is time to establish "proactive future strategies" to cope with the uncertainties of the global economy and the increasing income inequality and social exclusion.
The economic globalization after the 1990s not only profoundly influenced the economic and industrial structures of these countries, but also led to the restructuring of social welfare schemes and social policies. Compared to the situation in the late 1990s, tensions and pressure triggered by rapid social changes in these countries are much more challenging. In China, owing to a fragmented social security system in a rural.urban divided society, some of the rural migrants flooding the cities are often plunged to a trap of poverty, unemployment, and unequal treatment. Consequently, the Chinese government has initiate a reform of social security system (Social Insurance Act in 2010) and regional development programs in deprived areas since the late 2000s. The Japanese government initiate also the massive reform of social protection and tax systems in 2012. This reform focuses on social protection financing by increasing added-value tax, and support for the poor and the socially vulnerable.
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