Korea's economic troubles strike home

Rising unemployment and household debt make for an unstable cocktail.

The plight of Seung-tae, a salary-man employed in the electronics division of a mid-sized conglomerate, is becoming increasingly common in Korea. A wild-goose father, Seung-tae lives alone in a small Seoul apartment, sending a large part of his salary as well as borrowed cash to his wife and daughter, Ji-ae, in Toronto. Ji-ae, like many Korean teenagers on the threshold of university, is being educated abroad.

The problem is that the cost of that cramming has risen by more than...

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