If South Korea is a colony of the U.S., as you claim, how come it's not only richer but more developed than the DPRK?
Since 1964, under the fascist dictatorship of Park Chung Hee, south Korea’s economic policy shifted from import-substitution industrialisation (ISI) to export-oriented industrialisation (EOI). The former was attempted by every third world country – the development of an internal market as access to external markets was denied by imperialism and capitalists’ lack of interest in purchasing inferior quality goods from governments considered “hostile.”
In south Korea ISI was an absolute failure, leading to the adoption of EOI as amerikan markets saw an opportunity in profiteering from south Korean labour without much consideration to the political aspect – at the end of the day what mattered was the almighty dollar. However south Korea’s exports were not competitive enough.
The solution to this problem was a combination of establishing an economy based on labour-intensive industries with specific capital-intensive industries receiving substantial subsidies, direct foreign capital investment from both the u.$. and Japan, and exclusive military contracts during war periods (such as the Vietnam War).
In other words, south Korea’s economic development was achieved through selling out Korea, the third world, and benefiting from amerikan patronage. This however became unsustainable for the u.$. as it reached a point where it could no longer afford such generous subsidies and favourable exchange rates.
What is also important to emphasise is that south Korea was among the first countries to shift how imperialism functioned during Lenin’s time – centred around the export of capital and the import of raw materials – to the imperialism of our current times which is centred around the export of production and the import of surplus value.
While advanced production by low waged workers for export to amerikan markets was once an exception, today it is the norm in various countries such as China, Vietnam, India, and so on. Due to this south Korea emerged not as a major imperialist power but as the leader of the semi-periphery with imperialist style corporations such as Samsung, LG, and Hanjin which are nevertheless subordinate to global imperialism.
During the 1980′s workers in south Korea began rebelling against the exploitative nature of the country’s economic policy as well as in reaction to the revelation that most if not all south Korean unions were created and controlled by the u.$. government to prevent the infiltration of any anti-capitalist sentiments. Before 1987 the average hourly wage across industries was at $1.75, meanwhile in the u.$. manufacturing workers earned $13.09 an hour.
With over one million workers going on strike, affecting most major industries, imperialists were forced to concede and raise the wages of south Korean workers to first world levels. It was only at this point that the living conditions of south Korean workers surpassed those of the DPRK, around the 1980′s and 1990′s as the tech market boomed.
All this talk about south Korea being an Asian tiger with high living standards and material abundance is nothing but bourgeois propaganda set on deceiving the world from the harsh realities south Koreans endure to survive. It is for no reason that younger generations refer to country as “Hell Korea” because of youth unemployment, severe economic inequality, excessive working hours, inequality between male and female workers, exploitation of women’s labour, etcetera. Most of south Korea’s elderly population live in abject poverty, and it is not uncommon for people with disabilities to end up in slave style labour camps in rural areas.