Skip to content
Subscriber Only

If You’re So Rich, How Come You’re So Miserable?

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- The best economic indicator South Korea produces is the energy on the streets of Seoul, whether you’re navigating the throngs of young hipsters in Myeongdong, the glitzy boutiques in Apgujeong or the nightclubs full of foreign tourists in Itaewon.

Korea’s per-capita income now rivals New Zealand’s, Israel’s and Greece’s, and the economy is growing about 3 percent a year even as Europe crashes. South Korean companies are chipping away at Apple Inc.’s global smartphone domination; the nation is a world power in automobiles, shipbuilding and steel; and its soft power is being advanced by “K-pop” bands, movies and television dramas as the population nears the 50 million mark.