Thursday, January 24, 2013

When Greed Seems Good - a Warning Sign

I could not help but see the article below as a disturbing corollary to my previous piece on how unhappy wealthy Asians are due to their cutthroat competitive existences. The fact that 40% of young Koreans value wealth over integrity is a major concern, particularly considering that the percentage is nine points higher than for older adults. Young people’s fears for their future, real or imagined, is acute. The need to address their fears as a society is increasingly so.

Thanks to Tom Coyner of the Korea Economic Reader (a valuable commentator on all things Korean) for bringing this to my attention.

Korea’s Youth Integrity Survey Results

The majority of young people in Korea are prepared to forgo values of integrity in the pursuit of wealth

“Anti-corruption education is vital in schools and educational institutes to reverse this trend”

Transparency International
23 January 2013

With the support from Transparency International-Secretariat (Berlin, Germany), TI-Korea (South) conducted the Youth Integrity Survey (YIS) between July and October 2012. Through the survey, TI-Korea found following key results: Young people in Korea are more likely to forgo values of integrity in the pursuit of wealth than adults are, with 40% the young people surveyed said that they thought that being rich was more important than being honest, against 31% of adults.Our survey identified 3 main sources of influence: education system/school, their family circle, and media.

It is worrying to see that so many young people willing to relax their integrity for the sake of getting a good job, high position, and more riches. This puts young people in a vulnerable position in Korea, at risk of being both victims and perpetrators when taking exams, passing a job interview, getting a document or license, or evading the police (such as fines, etc.). This creates an unlevel playing field for all young people and for Korean society as they become leaders in business and politics.

It is clear from the results of our survey, that there is a need for young people in Korea to be provided with ethical role models, moral standards and an ethical education in order to rebalance the views of this generation. And with our survey also identifying the education sector as a key sphere of influence for young people and one which is held in high regard with respect to the integrity of educational institutions, a key message for the new government is that it is imperative and an opportune time to establish anti-corruption and/or integrity related education and policies to be implemented as soon as possible in all levels of education in various educational settings in both public and private institutions. Dr. & Rev. Kim Geo-Sung, the TI-Korea’s Chairperson urged that “Anti-corruption and integrity education are essential and necessary in school curriculum and education institutes.”

Background to survey

The Youth Integrity questionnaire is originally made by TI-Korea and developed by TI-Secretariat. Young volunteers conducted the survey to more than 2,000 persons (1,031 youths and 981 adults), in the areas/regions of Wonju, Suwon, Namyangju, Yongin, Guri, Ansan and Seoul. Since Seoul (the capital city) accommodates the largest population, it was divided into four major areas: the North, East, West and South. TI-Korea, anti-corruption activists, K-PACT Council members, youth volunteers (university/college students, recent graduates, high school students), and Hyundae Research Institute (data analysis), among others conducted and took part in the whole process of the survey.

The full results of the survey will be published in March 2013

Media enquiry

Dr. Steven Kim
Executive Director
Transparency International-Korea (South)
#1006 Pierson Bldg., 89-27 Sinmunno-2ga, Jongno-Gu, Seoul 110-761, Korea (South)

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