Citation

“Nobody Should Know I’m Doing Wealth-Tech”: The Rise of Personal Finance [Wealth-Tech] and the Struggle to Stay Middle-Class in South Korea

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Abstract:

This paper examines the rise of popular investing in Korea after the IMF crisis of 1997. The IMF crisis sparked a boom by deregulating financial markets and disrupting secure employment. Thrown into a context of economic restructuring and flexible labor, the Korean middle-class—who had previously enjoyed upward mobility through wage labor—has been pressured to enact financial self-management, or what is known as ‘wealth-tech’ [chaeteku]. Wealth-tech became an everyday term after the IMF crisis, referring to techniques of personal finance and money-management, including investment in stocks, funds, and real estate.

I ethnographically explored a group of laypeople who bonded together to learn wealth-tech. They are a cohort group [referred to as ‘The Cohort’ hereafter] of the most successful wealth-tech seminar offered by a local financial ‘guru.’ I carried out participant observation as well as individual in-depth interviews over ten months in 2014-2015. My ethnographic engagement included monthly study meetings at which the members shared knowledge on wealth-tech and/or discussed which stocks to buy; gatherings; informal conversations over drinks; and a holiday group trip. By looking at how The Cohort consolidates the belief that finance can make you rich, I map out their struggle to remain middle-class while learning wealth-tech. Their struggle can be seen as a response to the paradox of the post-IMF-crisis era: the pressure to take care of one’s own financial security amid job insecurity and sociocultural judgments against money and speculation that prevail in Korean society.
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Association:
Name: Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference
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http://www.asian-studies.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1193833_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Kim, Bohyeong. "“Nobody Should Know I’m Doing Wealth-Tech”: The Rise of Personal Finance [Wealth-Tech] and the Struggle to Stay Middle-Class in South Korea" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Canada, <Not Available>. 2017-07-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1193833_index.html>

APA Citation:

Kim, B. "“Nobody Should Know I’m Doing Wealth-Tech”: The Rise of Personal Finance [Wealth-Tech] and the Struggle to Stay Middle-Class in South Korea" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Canada <Not Available>. 2017-07-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1193833_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: This paper examines the rise of popular investing in Korea after the IMF crisis of 1997. The IMF crisis sparked a boom by deregulating financial markets and disrupting secure employment. Thrown into a context of economic restructuring and flexible labor, the Korean middle-class—who had previously enjoyed upward mobility through wage labor—has been pressured to enact financial self-management, or what is known as ‘wealth-tech’ [chaeteku]. Wealth-tech became an everyday term after the IMF crisis, referring to techniques of personal finance and money-management, including investment in stocks, funds, and real estate.

I ethnographically explored a group of laypeople who bonded together to learn wealth-tech. They are a cohort group [referred to as ‘The Cohort’ hereafter] of the most successful wealth-tech seminar offered by a local financial ‘guru.’ I carried out participant observation as well as individual in-depth interviews over ten months in 2014-2015. My ethnographic engagement included monthly study meetings at which the members shared knowledge on wealth-tech and/or discussed which stocks to buy; gatherings; informal conversations over drinks; and a holiday group trip. By looking at how The Cohort consolidates the belief that finance can make you rich, I map out their struggle to remain middle-class while learning wealth-tech. Their struggle can be seen as a response to the paradox of the post-IMF-crisis era: the pressure to take care of one’s own financial security amid job insecurity and sociocultural judgments against money and speculation that prevail in Korean society.


Similar Titles:
Class Politics as a Ruling Strategy: Working Class Exclusion and Middle Class Inclusion during the Park Chung Hee Regime in South Korea?

Making Revolution from the Middle: Construction of Middle-Class Narratives in South Korea and the Philippines


 
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