Colin Marshall is a blogger for the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB), a great publication that has featured NOL‘s own Barry Stocker before. Marshall is puzzled by the fact that Seoul’s best marketing comes from independent filmmakers rather than the South Korean government. I guess I shouldn’t say “puzzled” because Marshall has a theory as to what is to blame, but I thought the piece was interesting because it highlights so well why libertarianism is so important.
Here is a link to Marshall’s piece. It is filled with lamentations about the Korean government’s inability to produce good marketing for the country. Instead of going for the jugular, though, and pointing out that incentives matter, here is where Marshall pins the blame:
I often wonder whether the problem has to do with the difficulty Koreans have in seeing Korea clearly, at least when looking for its good points; when dwelling on the negative, they suffer from no such lack of perceptual acumen. Many an acquaintance here has asked me, indeed insisted I reveal to them, what displeases me about Korea. For years I didn’t have a straight answer, but then I realized that nothing bothers me quite so much as Korea’s culture of complaint itself.
Got that? Marshall is wondering aloud (blaming) Korean culture for the bland marketing campaigns of the Korean government, even though he recognizes the brilliant marketing campaign of the independent filmmaker in the beginning of his piece. Not only does he blame Koreans for a problem that affects all governments, he attacks the “culture of complaint” that Koreans are well-known for.
Complaining, critiquing, one’s culture is a necessary component for a free and open society (Chhay Lin wrote about this at NOL awhile back, regarding Cambodia).
Am I engaging in bad faith here? Is Marshall really that ignorant of markets and alternative orders that he fails to understand why the Korean government cannot produce anything creative? Is Marshall so stupefied by the predictable failure of the Korean government to produce anything creative that he would stoop to insulting his hosts? Help me out here, folks.