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South Korea Unveils A New, Green Industrial Policy

Via Dave Roberts, South Korea is dialing this whole "green jobs" idea up a few notches:

South Korea Monday unveiled an 84 billion dollar five-year plan to develop environmentally friendly industries and use them as a growth engine for the wider economy. ...

The government will invest 107 trillion (84.4 billion dollars), or 2.0 percent of gross domestic product every year, over the next five years in an effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, Lee's office said. ...

The government will also boost spending on green technology products such as solar-powered batteries and hybrid vehicles, it said.

I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of the debates over South Korea's high-tech industrial policy during the 1970s and '80s—on the surface, it sure looked successful, but that's likely not the whole story. Meanwhile, Time had a good short piece a few weeks ago on how East Asian countries were taking active steps to corner the clean-energy market, with Japan and South Korea hoping to combine their high-tech prowess with China's near-infinite manufacturing capacity to leap ahead of Europe and the United States. (The big obstacle was likely to be intellectual property rights.) I guess this is the sort of thing that will spawn three or four Tom Friedman columns, at least.

(Random Flickr photo of South Korea credit: Fly47D)

--Bradford Plumer