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Stranger Than Fiction | Matt Kriese

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

There are many reasons to not subscribe to the ideas proposed by conspiracy theories. Oftentimes, they generate absurd conclusions from unsubstantial evidence; however, sometimes the things happen in the real world that draw so many comparisons to the logic of conspiracy theories that the allure of more far-fetched theories becomes all the more enticing.

Take, for example, the way the World Bank has influenced the development of the world. Starting in 1963, the World Bank began funding supplemental projects for development in South Korea. In the exact same year, the GDP of South Korea was 3.9 billion US dollars. The life expectancy of a Korean at this point was 55 years and the population of 27,261,747 people largely lived in rural areas of the country. From 1963 to 1999, the World Bank continued to fund 119 supplemental projects in South Korea with the sole intention of conducting a massive industrial overhaul of the country.

Today, after all of these projects, the GDP of South Korea has risen to 1.4 trillion dollars. The life expectancy of a South Korean today is 82 years and the population of 51,245,707 has flocked to urban areas with approximately 82.77 percent of these people on coastal cities working in their revolutionary manufacturing industry.

The post-Korean war economic miracle experienced by South Korea can be attributed to the work of the World Bank funding campaign, but why was Korea chosen over every other country that was facing crippling poverty during the early 1960s? It should not be surprising that these projects were initiated 10 years after the Korean war and immediately after American troops landed in Vietnam. JFK was also shot in 1963 and Lyndon B. Johnson needed to reestablish the image of America as being a nation that is untouchable. So, it makes a lot of historical sense for Korea to be chosen.

But this proves the devastating reality of the power of the United States. The United States has the ability to make poverty stricken grow into world beating economies. South Korea, in many ways, was chosen to prosper. Does this mean global poverty is fixable and we have done nothing about it?

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