This paper aims to examine some plausible external shocks that can significantly affect Korea’s economic future. It does so by analyzing game-changing scenarios that emanate from a candid assessment of the risks inherent in the global economy. It is based on the premise that it is extremely useful to plan for the less likely events, especially if those events are associated with significantly altered outcomes. These “Black Swan” occurrences are not as far-fetched as one may think, particularly for a country as vulnerable as South Korea.
It is for this reason that the report examines scenarios that might materially alter the policy choices facing Korean authorities in the medium term (2017-2022). These scenarios are analyzed in the context of relations between Korea and China, China and the United States and Korea and the United States.
The approach of the Report is to first examine major “mega-trends” of de-globalization, disruptive technologies, and greater global uncertainty, and in this context of “shifting sands” to build three game- changing scenarios that can substantially affect Korea.
There are three scenarios: A Trade War, initially between China and the United States but with global ramifications; a Troubled China, with significantly lower growth and trade implications; and a Global Meltdown, reminiscent of 2008-2009. We believe there are few countries for which this kind of analysis is more germane than for Korea. The Report aims to hasten further deliberation on the topics of risk and resilience in the Korean policy community to increase preparedness for events that could cause significant disruption to the Korean economy in the medium term.[by executive summary]