Banksters, Peasants, and Kim Jong Un’s Grandpa: A Parable for Our Times.
Banksters, peasants, and Kim Jong Un’s grandpa: A parable for our times.
When Kim Il Sung’s communist army invaded the South in 1950, they initially met with great success. The ill-equipped and corruption-ridden southern army disintegrated, while MacArthur’s hastily assembled UN army was rushed from Japan. Unfortunately, Mac’s forces were also unprepared, thanks to the abominable staff work of his sycophantic subordinates. They were soon pushed into a small pocket around the port of Pusan (now rendered as Busan) and a desperate battle ensued.
In the meantime, the communists set about creating a peoples’ state in the newly won territory. First order of business when they entered a village was to eliminate supporters of the former regime. Kim was brutal but he was not an idiot, so this was not universally applied. Those regime holdovers who seemed likely to be useful could escape the firing squads, with the result that a few policemen, teachers, local administrators and even a handful of priests were spared.
There was one group that was eradicated without exception, though. All bankers and money-lenders were shot out of hand, their assets confiscated and their ledgers consigned to a bonfire in the village square. This initially made the communists very popular with the peasants, for South Korea had no usury laws and the peasants had been held in ruinous debt for their entire lives. This popularity faded quickly when the communists started confiscating food and drafting men to be fed into the napalm- fueled inferno at the front. The lesson was not lost, though, when the communist army was routed after the Inchon landing and fled back north. It took a while, for a few bankers had managed to survive, but their influence had been drastically reduced. The South eventually instituted fair banking and lending practices and the peasants prospered.
It’s hard to prove a connection and there are many other factors involved, but these events took place less than an average lifetime ago, within my lifetime in fact. In that time, South Korea has gone from backward third-world hellhole to one of the most advanced and prosperous countries in the world.
Primary source: This Kind of War by TR Fehrenbach and conversations with my son-in-law’s mother, who was born in South Korea and was an eyewitness to these events.